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The Garden of Ruth

The Garden of Ruth - Eva Etzioni-Halevy I was looking forward to this book, and was hoping it would turn out to be really good, since the author has written several biblical fictions, and I enjoy a good biblical fiction. However, I was disappointed.

I finished it, because I did want to know what happened. However, by the end I was mostly skimming.


Well, as a woman, it made me really uncomfortable. I understand that the story is set in a different time period, but it still made me uncomfortable.

The main character is obsessed with the story of Ruth, who lived several generations before. Osnath (the MC) is about the same age as David (of David and Goliath) and his brother. She's into both of them.

The brother rapes her (and supposedly promptly regrets it, but still says that she has giving mixed signals and she didn't actually say no, just hits him). Not only does she ultimately forgive him (after David ditches her), she ends up deciding that he is the love of her life and basically does everything but kill herself to get him to take her back as his concubine, since he's already married by the time she figures out she's in love with him. She hopes he'll marry her and take her as his second wife, but she doesn't seem to be too fussed about it. The relationship is just really screwed up and makes me feel uncomfortable.

Ruth makes me much less uncomfortable, but she also basically gives up everything for a guy who turns out to be a jerk and needs to be rescued by another man who very graciously forgives her for the indiscretion.

There's also an ongoing theme of "men can't be expected to abstain from sex, so women can't get annoyed at them for it." It was just discomforting.