“How the Light Gets In” by Author Jolina Petersheim

This book was in one word – phenomenal.  Yes, it really was that good.  It took me on an emotional journey with Ruth and I am still suffering from some aftershocks.  Even after finishing it days ago, my mind keeps wandering back to the story.

“How the Light Gets In” is a modern day retelling of the Bible story of Ruth.  Author Petersheim has written her own version and has woven inspiration and life lessons effortlessly throughout it.  A phenomenal wordsmith, the author rapidly caught my attention with her fluid style.  I was captured from the first words.  It is a haunting contemporary tale of Ruth and a Mennonite community she has gone to with her mother-in-law.


The characters are believable.  I envisioned them, felt their emotions, shook my head at them, and cheered them on.  They were very well rounded, flaws and all.  Details and descriptive writing took me to the cranberry farm or bog.  I have learned a lot about cranberries from this.  The children were perfect in the story.  Obviously the author is a mother.  Being a dog person I also loved Zeus.


The one thing about this book is that it made me feel.  I felt like I was there.  I felt the characters’ emotions.  I could almost smell the homemade cookies.  Only a gifted writer is able to lift me up and gently place me in the pages of a book to live.  I felt part of the community.  Bravo, Mrs. Petersheim.

Unfortunately I found it disappointing that the author did not incorporate the threshing floor scene from the Bible.  For me that is such a poignant, pivotal part of Ruth’s story.  However, I am certain there was a reason for this.

This is a book about self discovery, marriage, trusting God and His plans, priorities, and family.   It is about redemption, forgiveness, sacrifice, hope, and love.  It is about life and death, sadness and joy, and helping each other.

My emotions are reeling, my mind is assembling a readers group so I can discuss a burning question about this book, and questions fill my head.   Whenever a book evokes such responses, it must be excellent.  This one is.

The book is divided into three sections.  At the end are discussion questions and notes from the author.  I highly recommend this for mature readers because it deals with marriage and relationships.  There is nothing to offend.  I rated it a 5 out of 5 stars.

A copy was provided by the publisher but I was under no obligation to write a positive review.  These are my own, honest thoughts.



Be sure to enter the Goodreads giveaway by March 18th!  They are giving away 100 ecopies of this amazing book for free!


About the Book

E4549CB7-26E9-42B6-8160-6DCD7AB62467    C0D8D38D-FC32-49F9-BBF9-25D4B81AA819

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 5, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496402235
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496402233


Jolina Petersheim is the highly acclaimed author of The Divide, The Alliance, The Midwife, and The Outcast, which Library Journal called “outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational” in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. That book also became an ECPA, CBA, and Amazon bestseller and was featured in Huffington Post’s Fall Picks, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and the Tennessean. CBA Retailers + Resources called her second book, The Midwife, “an excellent read [that] will be hard to put down,” and Booklist selected The Alliance as one of their Top 10 Inspirational Fiction Titles for 2016. The Alliance was also a finalist for the 2017 Christy Award in the Visionary category. The sequel to The Alliance, The Divide, won the 2018 INSPY Award for Speculative Fiction. Jolina’s non-fiction writing has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Writer’s Digest, Today’s Christian Woman, and Proverbs 31 Ministries. She and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but they now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their three young daughters. Jolina’s fifth novel, How the Light Gets In, a modern retelling of Ruth set in a cranberry bog in Wisconsin, releases March 2019.


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