Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings

There’s nothing quite like a re-imagining of the Book of the Ruth; which readers of this blog know is my favourite Bible story. These past few years, we were doled out a remarkable reconstruction of the tale with Liz Curtis Higgs’ Here Burns My Candle and Mine is the Night, which, you’ll remember, I absolutely loved.

In Sixty Acres and a Bride we move to 19th Century Texas: the heart of the romanticized West. Here, the young Mexican widow, Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law are forced to return to the family ranch after falling on hard times. Rosa is like a flood of colour and light, breaking the American traditions with her spicy personality and exotic looks. Like the ostracized Ruth in the Bible story, Rosa is immediately an outsider and speculation as to this girl straight from mountains of Mexico leads to conflict. Rosa tries to grow accustomed to the American way; but her flavour and flair cannot help but stick out. While her exotic beauty tantalizes some; it repels others and it is in the hands of the decent Weston Garner that her fate will be changed.

Weston Garner is our Boaz of the Biblical re-telling. He is nursing his own broken heart, is steadfast and strong, is shrouded in mystery and genuine goodwill. It takes quite a lot for these two to jump through the hurdles to secure their respective happiness; but when they do, the reader is well-rewarded. Weston’s view of love as sacred and true is well-developed and happily meted out when he finally does come to an agreement with our heroine. Like the best love stories, it is not the surprise of love, rather its fulfillment and that is what makes the Book of Ruth the fairytale of the Bible (God loves a Cinderella ending as much as we do) as it does this book an inventive way of discovering a well-known tale in a different setting.

I don’t always speak to literary and descriptive devices when I write a book review; but I was taken by some of Jennings’ innovate infusion of consonance and imagery in her debut novel. A few sentences of note: “By the time the bats were swooping in the twilight…” was one such instance and “the treetops where swinging around like the tip of a whip.” I really liked the unexpected placement of these creative and colourful lines in a straight forward historical romance.

The American West has long acted as a favourite canvas for Christian historical series and I appreciate Jennings using her obvious passion for its gritty and lovely dissonance to paint the well-known story here.

Visit Regina's blog where she discusses her journey to publication, includes photos of launch events and even lets us know what she's reading (it's an eclectic mix)

Her website is here

Buy the book on amazon
Ruth is not only four chapters long (short), it's my favourite Book of the Bible. You can read it here

note: this book has been provided for my review courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  It is available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I need to read this one ASAP, especially seeing as my name is Ruth and all. :)