Ruth’s Redemption by Marlene Banks is a novel set in the heart of slave country Virginia before the Civil War. Ruth is a slave who has been raised only for breeding. She was torn from her mom at a very young age, and experience several miseries at the hands of slave owners, as well as other slaves. Bo Peace is a free slave who buys Ruth at the market one day since her fate was the tabacco farm. His intentions are to buy slaves in order free them. He requires, but does not demand, that they work a year for him to pay off their debt, but they are free to leave anytime. Ruth has not concept of his love, and wonders at his kindness, through the cloud of her distrust.
Bo is a proper Christian man who sees that Ruth needs to move out the main house and live with another unmarried free slave on the farm. Ruth misinterprets his suggestion, and they get married. Bo misunderstood what Ruth’s intentions were and doesn’t understand why she thinks she can leave once her freedom papers arrive. He thought she would want to stay since she is now his wife, but in her uneducated stubbornness she only wants freedom, including freedom from a husband.
Through a series of events including the death of a slave at the hands of slave catchers, the rape of a white woman at a neighboring boardinghouse, and a fight in the swamp this story weaves it ways through the turmoil and love between Bo and Ruth. When Ruth is captured by slave catcher Bo chases after he, once he realizes she was taken and didn’t leave on her own accord.
An additional character in this book is the famous preacher and self-proclaimed prophet Nat Turner. Although Nat Turner’s actions were a hinge on which the winds of change came, his actions caused added tribulations for Bo as a free slave. The Quakers offered Bo and Ruth a chance to lead slaves – free and runaway – to a new life in the west. Bo and Ruth undertake a 21 month long journey to Oregon where they spend the rest of their life in relative peace.
I recommend this book to any reader who is a fan of the Civil War, and who wants a different perspective into the South before the war.
Read the prologue from Scribd.com
About the Author: Marlene Banks is a graduate of Rhema Bible Institute (Keysville, VA) who worked as a nurse and businesswoman for more than 30 years. She write inspiring, griping, and realistic fictional stories that are centered on the lives of Africa Americans’ history. She currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.
*I received this book from Moody Publishing and will not be compensated for my review.
A ex-slave Bodine Peace was given his freedom by his owner along with a large parcel of land to farm. He did not flaunt his freedom in fact after his farm became profitable he would go to the slave sales and purchase slaves in order to turn around and give them their freedom. Some moved on but some stayed to become share cropper on Bo's land. They had become a respected community of freed slaves.
Ruth was being put on the slave auction block stripped down for all to see. When a buyer decided to check out the merchandise Ruth was told to open her mouth so the buyer could examine her teeth. She boldly refused to open her mouth and the more they tried to physically force open her mouth she fought that much harder then bit down on the auctioneer's hand. This gained her a hit up side her head and a promise to be hauled off to be punished with a whip. No one would even consider bidding on her after the way she just acted. At this time Bodine Peace raised his voice and said he would buy her and he did buy for a very high price. He could have bought several slaves there freedom for what he ended up paying for her. But he could not bear to see this beautiful creature of God being abused anymore than she already had been.
When he gets back to his farm he has Naomi clean her up and care for her injuries. He could not believe the feeling he was having for this woman. His wife died several years ago during childbirth and Naomi was his wife's mother. She was like his own mother. He speaks with Naomi and tells her to find another woman Ruth can stay with because it would not be respectable for her to stay in his house.
As Ruth healed physically it was apparent she was not healing mentally or spiritually no matter how kind Naomi and Bo were to her and her needs. As hard as they tried to convince her she would have a good home staying with a freed slave by the name of Mae, but Ruth would become fearful and beg to stay in Bo's house because it felt like it was her home. After many talks with Naomi, Ruth revealed bits and pieces about her life. She was what they called a Breeder, a female slave which main purpose was to produce children and she had been abused beyond imagination since she was twelve years old.
Bo tried to keep the woman out of his head but the temptation of this beautiful woman living in the same house to him was unbearable for his soul. Why had God brought this woman into his life? Could she be the answer to his loneliness? Is it God's will to take her as his wife? She admits to not wanting to know his God because of the life she was forced to live without help from his God. Can God break through her pride and hardened heart and reveal to her the love He has for her. She can't see how God will ever free the slaves from their bondage, but Bo has great faith in the Lord our God that He will one day free His children from slavery because he had sent His Son to free mankind from sin.
The story is told from the view of freed slave and many that were not free. It shows how strong their faith and belief was in God and His will. They faith that He would give them freedom as He did for the Hebrews who were finally freed.
The author included the historical figure and event of Nat Turner and the Rebellion in Tidewater, Virginia. An uprising of slaves against the white plantation owners which killed many on both sides. The story gave me another look and lesson into history that I will gladly pass on to my children and grandchildren.
I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from MPNewsroom/ Moody Publisher for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. This review is my honest opinion.
Thursday, July 19, 2012 Ruth's Redemption by Marlene Banks, c2012
Ruth's Redemption - By: Marlene Banks Benn
"When you come to know the Lord, it will all make sense and be more real than even living in this world is now."
--Ruth's Redemption, page 89
MY REVIEW: So much wisdom in this book. Not comparing yourself to others. Not measuring by the memory of another. So wise. Trusting the Lord with your life. Listening and paying attention. Forgiving.
Choice of names; Ruth, Naomi, Bo, Mara - bitter. Bo buys Ruth from a slave auction to set her free. Ruth sees her freedom as bondage. She has not been loved and does not recognize what love is. Bo's life is shattered until he realizes the love he has received is what he can give. Turbulence overcome. Naomi is a strong character in the advice she gives within her losses. I really liked that the novel includes an epilogue telling what happened as the "rest of the story."
In 1820, Bodine Peace is given his freedom and a parcel of land following the Will instructions upon the death of his master. Other freed slaves live on Bo's land. As he can, he buys slaves to set them free after one year of servitude when they receive their freedom papers.
The research places the characters within historical events/happenings between 1830-1835 in Southhampton County, Virginia, and how their lives were affected resulting from slave catchers and the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1931.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marlene Banks resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition to being a prolific writer she has an associate degree in Theology from Rhema Bible Institute in Keysville, Virginia, and is currently pursuing studies to initiate a Christian counseling ministry. Marlene is a member of Bethel Deliverance International Church in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. Her work resume includes forty years in nursing and business. A divine gift of storytelling with her unique voice and love of Christ creates engaging and inspirational novels. She considers her fiction writing an avenue to communicate the Gospel and Christian principles. It is also Marlene’s goal to bridge the gap between faith-based and secular literature. RUTH’S REDEMPTION is her first release and SON OF A PREACHERMAN is her second.
Thank you to Moody Publishers for this copy of Ruth's Redemption in exchange for a review in my own words; a very well-written story.
I would like to read and review Son of a Preacherman:
"A historical romance novel set in the 1920s in Tulsa, Oklahoma, depicting the segregated life of African Americans in Northern Tulsa and the tensions leading up to the Tulsa Race Riots."
This is a story that is going to stay with you for a very long time. The book opens in 1830 at a Slave Auction, and with a freed slave by the name of Bo Peace. You have to wonder what a free slave might be doing at an auction, buying a slave? Yup! He buys them to set them free! Bo Loves the Lord with his whole being. Enter poor Ruth! She has had so much happen to her in her young life, horrible things. She along with a lot of people were treated like Animals. She had been sold as a breeder...ugh! When she refuses to show her teeth, she is beaten. Bo takes pity on her and buys her. So begins Ruth's Redemption. She has a hard time believing that she is now free, even with Bo telling her, he must want her for her body? Right? No! You will come face to face with a lot of the injustices of Slavery, and meet some people who are willing to risk their lives to make things right. We also meet people on the other side, like Nat Turner, who wants to use killing as a way to make things right. The story becomes a real page turner, and you can't wait to find out what happens. Love the fact that there is an epilogue, something I wish all books had!
I received this book from Moody Publishers, and was not required to give a positive review.
Sometimes reading about the mistakes of America's past can be difficult especially when it happened over 200 years ago but it doesn't minimize the impact it would have on you reading about it. Take for example the recent book I just read, Ruth's Redemption by Marlene Banks about the horrors of the slavery conditions that happened in the early 1800's. Even though the story is a fictional account it was still based on true events. This one centered around the Nat Turner Rebellion in Tidewater, Virginia and is where the story begins.
It shows how the differences in peoples mind's about slavery between those in the North and those in the deep South. The North had begun to accept that slavery should be abolished but the progress was slow in getting people to come to terms with equality among all men and women. Bodine Peace was left free when his master died and left him adequate land to begin a life for himself. He finally found that deep within himself that all along, owning slaves had been wrong. He made sure that the terms for freeing Bodine Peace was upheld by his sons. Bodine Peace, or Bo as he was called was a man of God who believed that despite how long it was taking for God to bring about justice to all men, He would eventually free them all.
Bo used his land to help other slaves become free as well. Asking that all they had to do for freedom was work off the price he had to pay for them by working on the land Mr. Maitland had given him. He would teach them a fair trade, educate them and when a year's time was up, he had legal papers drawn up to provide them their freedom. It was during this time that Bo came across a woman who called herself Ruth. He was in town to purchase slaves as he felt led by God and when Ruth's determined actions cause her owner to beat her in public, Bo felt he had God's answer.
Yet it would take time to heal the hatred in Ruth's heart towards all men and especially to heal her bitterness and resentment towards God. Ruth had been sold into slavery primarily for breeding based on her good looks which she saw as a curse from God since there wasn't anything she could do about that. So she remained determined to do whatever she could to find freedom even if that meant using her looks to her advantage.
I received Ruth's Redemption by Marlene Banks compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and really loved how well the characters of Ruth and Bo were developed by Marlene so that the reader would be immersed in their lives and could see things from their eyes, how cruel the world could be, and how not everyone believed people should be treated like livestock. This one rates a 5 out of 5 stars in my book and shows just how much God's plan will work for those who LOVE Him despite the outward circumstances.