Synopsis from Goodreads
The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.
Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.
I am going to say right off the bat that writing a review like this actually kind of pains me. I like reading Christian fiction and the biblical story of Ruth (which this book is very loosely based on) is a favorite of mine. However, I am very sad to say that I didn’t enjoy this book. Here are my pros and cons:
- I thought it was creative to bring the Ruth story into the Victorian era.
- This is so loosely based on the story of Ruth and Boaz that it is almost unfamiliar. If you are looking to learn about biblical Ruth at all, this isn’t the book to do that.
- Almost the entire first half of the book was about Rena’s circumstances… talking about how she was suffering, why she was suffering, dwelling on the suffering. Nothing was happening. It was boring. I honestly almost stopped reading about 40% in.
- I think the book read like a YA angsty romance. There was bickering between Rena and another woman over Barric’s affections (or lack thereof). There was way too little communication and way too many rumors and innuendos. It bordered on silly. We are talking about adults here, yet it smacked of high school shenanigans and really disappointed me.
- The “found” will! My goodness, I think that is when I almost stopped reading for good. I don’t want to give too many details here – and if you fear a spoiler you can stop reading – but I seriously cannot believe we are supposed to accept that Rena’s father-in-law changed his will before his death that required the widowed Rena to marry someone in order for her mother-in-law (his wife!!) to inherit any family money or property. He’d rather have them penniless unless she remarries? SERIOUSLY? I know a reason was provided in the story for the marriage requirement, but I absolutely will never accept that a man that supposedly adores and loves his wife and daughter-in-law would rather have them indigent unless Rena remarries. This was a contrived plot point that was completely unrealistic and it absolutely ruined the book for me.
I love the biblical story of Ruth. My wedding vows included passages from the book of Ruth. I know Ruth. This book did not evoke Ruth for me, other than Rena followed her mother-in-law to a foreign land after her husband died and gleaned grain from a landowner to survive. Everything else was a silly romantic game with contrived plot points in my opinion. The book simply didn’t have the depth and breadth of the real Ruth for me. If you want to read a great story about Ruth go grab a copy of Unshaken by Francine Rivers.
I’m going to close by saying that even though I did not like this book, the author has actually achieved something I will never be able to do myself – she wrote a book! That is an achievement I admire tremendously and I’m actually a bit jealous of people that have the time and talent to put stories on paper and provide books for me to read. Books are art… and like art, tastes vary and not everyone will like the same things. Just because I had some serious issues with this book doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it if you are interested. It also doesn’t mean I won’t read future books from this author. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and this novel just didn’t work for me.
Thank you NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. / Shiloh Run Press for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.
Expected publication: April 1, 2019 by Barbour Publishing, Inc. / Shiloh Run Press
My rating – 2 out of 5
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