A literary critic, I am not, but I love a good novel, especially if it is also good literature. I'm a big fan of Jane Austen, the Brontes, Edith Wharton, and Elizabeth Gaskell and I'll revisit their works time and again. It has been quite awhile since I've had the pleasure of reading a literary work for the first time. There is nothing quite like reading a book for the very first time, is there?
Yesterday I finished one of the best works of fiction I have ever read. Ruth, by Elizabeth Gaskell is a wonderful work and a departure from the more romantic classics I've come to love. This work explores love in a much deeper sense. The unfathomable love of a mother, the charitable love of strangers for their fellow man, the boundless love and forgiveness of God. These are the loves experienced by Ruth Hilton, a discarded and tainted young girl who finds herself taken in and cared for by a pitying minister, his sister and their headstrong housekeeper. In their home she learns the power of love, forgiveness, redemption and faith. They, in turn, are touched by her humility, gratitude, self-sacrificing love, and grace.
I hesitate giving away too much of the story in a review and will leave the rest for you to read on your own. If you are a Jane Austen fan, you will enjoy this novel. Illegitimacy and its Victorian treatment is a main theme in this novel and therefore I would not recommend this work to younger readers, but it is a moving and powerfully pro-life story, with beautiful religious overtones that I would recommend to older high schoolers and adults.