A Bond of Blessing (by Jaime Farkas)

Every so often I browse Amazon for free books for my Kindle. I particularly do this before travelling, and always end up with way too many books to read. It’s apparently seven years since I downloaded ‘A Bond of Blessing’, by the American writer Jaime Farkas (whom I had not heard of). I came across it recently and decided to reach a few pages each day.

It’s not a long book. It’s basically a devotional or low-key study guide based on the Biblical book of Ruth. In particular it focuses on the relationship between the Jewish Naomi, who was widowed and lost both her sons, and her daughter-in-law, the Moabite woman Ruth.

The story is well known in Christian circles: it’s one of two books in the Bible (the other being Esther) named after women. Ruth could have gone back to her own people, as her sister-in-law decided to do when Naomi sets off to return to her family’s town. But Ruth has committed herself to her late husband’s family, and is willing to renounce her own roots to stay with Naomi.

The book has as its subtitle, ‘Insights from the book of Ruth for Mothers-in-law & Daughters-in-law.’ I’m not sure I realised that when I downloaded it. Seven years ago I had been a mother-in-law for just a year, and was enjoying the experience very much. I’m not someone caught up in the negative stereotypes which surface from time to time; I’ve always had good relationships with all my in-laws. I love seeing the family growing and extending.

Still, this is a thoughtful book, well-written and encouraging. It points to Ruth as an example of self-sacrifice and devotion, and to Naomi as an excellent mother-in-law, so much so that Ruth chooses to live with her. The book looks at some of their conversations, and how Naomi is willing to give her point of view, and then allow Ruth to make her own decisions.

I thought that much of the content was relevant to all relationships, really, not just that of in-laws. There are good reminders to treat family members with respect, as well as love. For those who struggle more with in-law relationships there is also a helpful section on forgiveness and moving forwards.

It’s not a particularly long book, and it's no longer free for the Kindle. The paperback version does not seem to be in print in the UK. But if you have the opportunity to read it free, or find it in a charity shop, I would recommend it.

Review copyright 2019 Sue's Book Reviews

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