Shadow Among Sheaves, by Naomi Stephens, takes place in England in 1857. Using the Biblical story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz, the author has written a beautiful story. This story grabbed me from the very beginning and kept my attention through the very end, even wanting for more.
With the death of her husband and father-in-law, Indian native, Rena, leaves her family and country to go with her mother-in-law, Nell, back to England. The women are starving and living in a tiny, filthy room in the back of a bar. Desperate, Rena stops at a field and picks up left behind stubs of grain. Once confronted by the land manager, she is given permission to continue working in Lord Barric’s field. Being from India, she is looked down upon and treated badly, especially by Lord Barric’s cousin. Believing Nell’s families home goes to her husband’s family, they find out another will was written that gives Nell their home, Hawthorn Glen, if Rena marries someone in their family line to reunite the fractured family. Lord Barric’s is in the family line. Wanting the home to return to Nell so she will never go hungry again or have to worry, Rena goes to Lord Barrich regarding the stipulation. He feels he must offer her to his uncle, who has long coveted Hawthorn Glen.
I loved this story, the similarities to the Bible story are just enough to show Rena’s love and loyalty to her husband’s mother. Yet the rest of the story show the prejudices and struggles Rena went through to care for Nell. The story is made up of strong, caring characters, but my favorite is Parson Richardson. His observations give him just enough knowledge to give wise counsel to others.
“I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review”.
This is Naomi Stephens’ first noel. She is a teacher who lies in Ohio with her husband and two children.
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