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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!