Ruth - Woman of Valor

A Virtuous Woman in an Immoral Land

Christian - Historical Fiction
394 Pages
Reviewed on 10/25/2015
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Author Biography

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Jim Baumgardner grew up in a Christian home. The author's mother gave her life to the Lord in her late teens, and she brought his dad to Christ after they were married in 1939. April 30, 2015 marked Jim's 58th year as a Christian. The author continues to reside in Wichita with his wife Linda. They have three children and nine grandchildren. All of Jim's books are primarily written for his grandchildren's benefit. He also makes them available to all others who wish to read and enjoy the stories.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rebecca McLafferty for Readers' Favorite

Ruth: Woman of Valor, A Virtuous Woman in an Immoral Land by Jim Baumgardner is a captivating Christian historical fiction story. Ruth’s early years are spent living under the strict and predestined authority of her parents. As Ruth’s life changes, she endures one disaster after another. The author skillfully describes both geography and people, whether in the contemptible marketplace or lush vineyard. Ruth unceasingly questions the difference between the Hebrew God, Yahweh, and the numerous Moabite gods, particularly Chemosh and the Baels. As Ruth finds answers to her questions, the reader understands the laws and customs that dictated laws of that day and today.

Jim Baumgardner has brought incredible depth of character to one of the Bible’s most heartwarming stories. Vivid scenes coupled with biblical knowledge will remain in the reader’s heart long after finishing the story. The author’s keen sense of history, coupled with thorough research, literally places the reader amid the Hebrew population at the time and place of the story. The conflicts and dilemmas of Ruth’s life clarify and illuminate the differing cultures and lifestyles, particularly of the Hebrews in contrast to the Moabites.

The characterization within this story lends itself to an intricate plot and real-life characters. As Jim Baumgardner sets forth in his Introduction, the Bible addresses a small portion of most of its characters’ lives. Utilizing considerable research and a highly skilled imagination, Baumgardner brings the characters of this story to full life. Wonderful job!

Janelle Fila

Ruth - Woman of Valor: A Virtuous Woman in an Immoral Land by Jim Baumgardner is a Christian historical novel that fictionalizes the biblical story of Ruth. But the story starts much earlier with a man name Elimelech. Dissatisfied with the land he was given, Elimelech moved to the greener pastures of Moab, despite the fact that the country worshipped idols and false gods. Ten years later, the story follows Naomi, Elimelech's widow. When both her sons die, Naomi is left with two daughters-in-law and a choice. With no future left for her in Moab, Naomi decides to travel the dangerous road home to Bethlehem. But Ruth refuses to let Naomi travel alone. She's questioning her own faith in the false gods and vows to remain with Naomi until their death. So the two set out on a treacherous journey, where Ruth leaves her friends, family, country, and religion behind. She starts over with Naomi in a new land, with a new god, and meets a new man. But everything is different and Ruth isn't sure if she is strong enough to face these huge challenges.

For readers that may know or be familiar with the biblical story of Ruth, this story takes them much deeper into the complexities of what may have happened behind Ruth's decision making process. This story digs behind the scenes and shows the motives of the characters, especially Ruth, as she struggles with a life full of new challenges. It is well-written, historical accurate, and follows references from the Bible. But it doesn't just have to be for religious readers. The author, Jim Baumgardner, beautifully describes the historical world of the Israelites, Canaanites, and Moabites in a refreshing new historical fiction for all.

Charity Tober

Ruth - Woman of Valor: A Virtuous Woman in an Immoral Land by Jim Baumgardner is a compelling fictional rendition of the Bible book of Ruth. The author follows the actual Bible book account but adds details, embellishments and further scenes into the story to bring it to a novel length. The story of Ruth follows a woman named Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth as they travel to a new land. They cling to their faith in God to get them through all the trials and tribulations that not only the journey brings but also getting settled in their new home. Ruth shows unwavering compassion to Naomi and finds work in order to support them both. She ends up meeting a new man, but questions if this is really what God has in store for her life. Read along to discover how God’s plan for Ruth comes to fruition.

I found Ruth - Woman of Valor: A Virtuous Woman in an Immoral Land to be an interesting read. I have read the actual Bible book of Ruth many times before and found that this story follows the same line but just adds more details to reach a book length. Baumgardner does a good job describing biblical history as well as really bringing to life all of the engaging locations that the characters travel to in the book. I see that the author has a fictional rendition of the book of Esther that I will check out next! I would recommend this book to fans of Christian history, biblical stories and women’s literature.