Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens – Book Review, Preview

Posted April 1, 2019 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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This year as I’ve been reading Exodus through Deuteronomy, a recurring theme that stood out to me is God’s deep compassion towards the oppressed and downtrodden. In the New Testament, it is reiterated that when we see someone in need and don’t do anything to help, we dishonor the Lord by not exemplifying His love and James says we are not walking in faith.

Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens – Book Review, Preview

Shadow among Sheaves

by Naomi Stephens

Published by Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date April 1, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: England Victorian Era – UK – 1837 – 1901
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-30
Written for: Adults
Pages: 320


A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz   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 received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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I almost didn’t request a copy of Shadow Among Sheaves. I have a lot going on with books I’ve committed to read, with work, and with other life things. And then I read the description again. A retelling of Ruth? I love that book of the Bible. So I looked at my calendar again, pushed back the review date for a book that I purchased a month ago, and grabbed this one.

Sitting here now after reading it, I can’t help but think what a shame it would have been if I didn’t pick this one up. This compelling story has me looking at Ruth and the circumstances of her life much differently now. I’ve always focused on Boaz and his kindness toward her yet never really thought about the love that Ruth must have had for her first husband – to make her willing to face shame and discrimination from her people and from his for marrying him. Rena’s deep love for the deceased Edrich and her grief is heart-wrenching.

Debut author Naomi Stephens has taken this familiar and well-loved story and breathed new life into it. With a richness of language and a depth of emotion, she portrays a very prejudiced England at the time of Queen Victoria in the wake of the Indian Mutiny. She tells of poverty and desperation. Of a man torn between his desire to do what is good and right and fear of the hurt it might do to his reputation and standing in the community if he does.

A friend and fellow reader commented that she didn’t much care for Lord Barric – he was a little too much like Mr. Rochester. I disagree. I found him to feel very deeply about matters and to struggle with trying to live up to his father’s reputation. I felt that he was very true to what an earl in this era would have been like.

I am so touched by the intense love of God that is communicated through these pages. The “Your God will be my god” part of Ruth’s pledge was not made until later in this story and so we were able to see Rena’s spiritual journey as she exchanged the beliefs of her ancestors for those of her dead husband’s mother.

Be warned, though. This book requires having tissues close at hand! It will wring your heart and may even challenge your attitudes towards those who are in need and those who are “different” from you.

I highly recommend Shadow Among Sheaves to lovers of Christian fiction of all flavors. It is already on my list of candidates for “Best of” for this year!


About Naomi Stephens

Naomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a B.A. in English from Concordia University in Ann Arbor and an M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. 

In bookstores, Naomi gravitates towards 19th-century British novels—the broodier the better (i.e., Jane Eyre)—but she can also be found perusing the young adult, mystery, and fantasy sections. Anything that keeps her turning pages past midnight.

Though she has called many places home over the years, she currently lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock. When not writing or having adventures with her family, she can be found drinking tea, practicing photography, and pining for London.

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