The Garden of Ruth [NOOK Book]

Overview

A historical novel imagines the riveting story behind the Book of Ruth

Sitting beneath a tree in ancient Bethlehem, Osnath, niece of the prophet Samuel, examines a dusty scrap of parchment she found hidden in her relative’s scroll room. Scrawled on the decaying page is an intriguing message addressed to Ruth the Moabite—great-grandmother of David, the future king of Israel. Compelled to discover the truth about Ruth’s life, Osnath begins searching for the identity of Ruth’s ...

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The Garden of Ruth

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Overview

A historical novel imagines the riveting story behind the Book of Ruth

Sitting beneath a tree in ancient Bethlehem, Osnath, niece of the prophet Samuel, examines a dusty scrap of parchment she found hidden in her relative’s scroll room. Scrawled on the decaying page is an intriguing message addressed to Ruth the Moabite—great-grandmother of David, the future king of Israel. Compelled to discover the truth about Ruth’s life, Osnath begins searching for the identity of Ruth’s nameless lover and the secret that is cloaked behind his anonymity. But as she digs deeper into the past, she finds her inquiries blocked by David’s brother Eliab. What is the long-buried truth he fears will come to light? And what is the threat that Ruth’s story poses to his family’s vast inheritance?

Eva Etzioni-Halevy’s novel deftly interweaves history and fiction to create a compelling exploration of a prominent biblical figure. Told through the voices of both Osnath and Ruth herself, The Garden of Ruth transports readers into the ancient world—and offers a dramatic and thought-provoking new perspective on a well-known tale.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Etzioni-Halevy, an Israeli sociologist and author of The Song of Hannah, returns to the ancient Middle East for an imaginative second novel riffing on the story of the biblical Ruth. (Ruth, a widowed Moabite princess, converted to Judaism, married Boaz and gave birth to the future king David but only after a mysterious man, known only as the man who was by law next in line to inherit her family property, declined to marry her.) As Etzioni-Halevy's story opens, Osnath, a head-strong and literate 15-year-old girl, discovers on a visit to Bethlehem an old piece of scroll, addressed to a woman "red-haired and fair" and written by "the man to whom you are pledged." It begs her to "abandon him, who is unworthy of you." Intrigued, Osnath proposes to Ruth's great-grandson Eliab, in whose scroll room Osnath discovered the text, that Osnath research the mystery. Eliab discourages her; she persists. After being "wickedly seduced" by Eliab, she falls in love with his brother David, who spurns her. Osnath then reluctantly returns to Eliab, who promises to unravel the "web of lies... as sweet as honey" that surrounds Ruth's life but at a price. The mystery is intriguing, and Etzioni-Halevy depicts ancient women chafing at limited choices with verve. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Etzioni-Halevy (Emeritus, Political Sociology/Bar-Ilan Univ., Israel; The Song of Hannah, 2005) offers a beautifully sensitive, lustily feminist romance inspired by the Book of Ruth. The author frames her story of Ruth the Moabite several generations after the flame-haired widow married Boaz and lived with him in Bethlehem, embracing his Jewish religion. As the story opens, 15-year-old maiden Osnath, from Ramah, has come to spend time with her relatives, the clan of Jesse, in Bethlehem, at the prodding of her wise Uncle Samuel, who believes she can uncover the true story of great-grandmother Ruth. Able to read, Osnath tries to penetrate the scroll room guarded by Jesse's eldest son, Eliab, but he seduces her-compliant Osnath isn't sure she wants to fend him off. Her interest in reading Ruth's story only increases, however, when Osnath gleans from the scrolls that Ruth had an unnamed lover before she remarried Boaz-yet everyone insists on blocking her queries. Moreover, Osnath herself is not-so-secretly sleeping with Eliab's honey-tongued youngest brother, David, the shepherd who is soon anointed successor to King Saul and bequeathed in marriage to a princess, thus scorning poor Osnath. In tedious circuitry, Osnath ends up marrying her former nemesis, Eliab, perhaps only to get her hands at last on Ruth's story-although the sex is definitely hot, too. Thus Part Two shifts to Ruth's perspective as she recounts her famous tale of migration with her mother-in-law back to Naomi's home in Bethlehem, then meets the stolid provider Boaz-though first there is the delicate matter of a secret lover. The stories of Osnath and Ruth fulfilling their sexual identity nicely parallel each other. A brazenrendering of the biblical material breathes fire into a ripping good saga. Agent: Judith Riven/Judith Riven Literary Agent
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440649486
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/26/2006
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 661,747
  • File size: 554 KB

Meet the Author

Eva Etzioni-Halevy is a professor emeritus of political sociology at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. She is the author of The Song of Hannah.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 9 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2007

    Super!

    I loved this installment from Eva! SHe has outdone herself. If you liked Song of Hannah, Red Tent, Shadow of the Ark and Ziporah, Wife of Moses,then this is the book for you to read next. Five stars and two thumbs up. Also, if you write to this author, she actually writes you back and is really nice! :O)-stacey

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2006

    Garden of Ruth

    In Ramah, Uncle Samuel the prophet sends his intelligent fifteen year old niece Osnath to Bethlehem to uncover the truth inside of the sweetly wrapped tale of the lass¿ ancestor Ruth the Moabite, who married Boaz after another male in-law rejected her. Samuel specifically wants her to name the unnamed man who refused to wed Ruth.-------------- Osnath stays with her relatives of the clan of Jesse where he wants her to read the documents in the scroll room to uncover the identity of the anonymous lover. However, everyone in the clan of Jesse wants her to drop her research especially Jesse's oldest son, Eliab diligently guards the scroll room from her. He tries to distract the teen through seduction, even while she sleeps with his charming youngest brother David the shepherd.------------ Part One follows Osnath ¿In the Footsteps of Ruth¿ while Part Two focuses on the ¿Tale of Ruth¿ from the first hand perspective of Ruth. Readers will enjoy both sections that enable the comparison of the biblical legendary Ruth and her generation to that of her great-grandchildren as well as a fresh look at her saga. THE GARDEN OF RUTH is a delightful explicit look at the plight of women in ancient times.----------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2010

    The Garden of Ruth

    The Garden of Ruth

    By Eva Etzioni Halevy

    The Garden of Ruth is a novel about a young girl named Osnath who is torn between her need to find out and uncover the mystery and details behind the woman the in the Bible's Book of Ruth. Osnath is the granddaughter of Pninah and has decided to make it her life's journey and goal to learn more about Ruth.

    Beautiful, clever, persistent and educated a really strong combination for a woman of her time. Osnath, a scribe, like her grandmother, Pninah visits Bethlehem with her grandmother and uncle, the prophet Samuel and finds herself torn between two men. Wanting to visit the scroll room of this house she was visiting, she comes across a piece of parchment. As she continues to explore her relatives scroll room, she learns that the parchment was addressed to Ruth the Moabite, who was the great-grandmother of the man she fell in love with, the next king of Israel, David. As Osnath begins to learn more about Ruth and wants to delve into her life and her secret past, her efforts are waylaid and thwarted by David's older brother, Eliab. Eliab intimates that Ruth' s past is secret and too shocking to reveal.
    Osnath is in love with David. David is a smooth talker and convinces her that he will marry her in due time. However, upon being anointed the next King of Israel he meets with King Saul and any hope of Osnath becoming his wife is lost as he is to marry King Saul's daughter.

    David and Eliab, two brothers who would not want Ruth's past uncovered for fear of losing their inheritance. Although, Osnath wants to uncover the reasons why they want her life to kept a secret, there is a second story or plot that comes into play. Osnath is in love with both David and Eliab. She feels connected to Ruth, and they share the same joys, sorrows and heartaches. When reading this book you learn of Ruth's first born not living and many other areas where she and Osnath's live appear to mirror each other's.

    When there is information to be had or a mystery to be solved I will delve into the subject or persist in finding out what I need to in order to solve the problem or find out what I need to for my research or for anything else. Osnath is a persistent young and intelligent girl who has an advantage over many other girls her age. She can read and write and understands the importance of having the skill. I love the fact that she does not back down and has managed to get Eliab to give her the information about Ruth in order to learn more about her past.
    If Ruth could speak she would tell you how she met the man called The Unnamed and how she developed a relationship with him. The piece of the missive that she found had his name on it and information leading to the fact he and Ruth were close. But, it would not be until her husband died of a serious illness and she met him in the market.
    Ruth Speaks:
    "Today the Unnamed from Bethlehem comes to me
    It was from the gods
    It was marvelous in my eyes.

    Just what this means and how they come together you need to read this for yourself.
    "I met with him many times. I went to his house. We stayed in the bedchamber and my need for love was aroused. The only regret that I have is that these months of encounters with him flew by so fast. Disclosing our lives to each other. I told him about my father and my childhood. He told me about how his brothers made him fend for himself and they did not afford him their protection. But, then the unthinkable happened.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Captivating!

    This book was just captivating.It was Romantic and very sensual.It's worth the read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2008

    Extraordinarily Good Read

    I couldn't put this book down! It is an extraordinarily told historical fiction about the life of Ruth. I was living the lives of both women in the story, Osnath and Ruth. This is the first one I have read by Eva and I am looking forward to reading her other ones.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted November 5, 2011

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    Posted May 26, 2010

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    Posted January 25, 2010

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