I had trouble putting this book down, the story was so captivating. I loved the Christian base but never felt it was overplayed or sappy. I am delighted to have read this book and look forward to more material from Cynthia!
When I first met the character of Libby Holden in the pages of They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti, I could relateâ€”not so much to her plight but more to the thoughts that went through her mind. As a wife and mother I find myself like Libby planning all the "what if" scenarios while worrying about a loved one that's late. The believable mental battle Libby has with herself drew me into her life, making it easy to follow her into the Canadian wilderness to find her husband. The guilt from their daughter's death has unraveled their marriage. Greg is overdue from a two-week fishing trip, and authorities assume he is a runaway husband. Not content to wait on the police, she heads out on her own. Libby has a need to control this situation just as she has every moment since her daughter's death. Determined to find out Greg's fate in order to move on, she follows Greg's route into the wilderness. She discovers for the first time why her husband loved to traverse the wild and in that solace finds God's grace and forgiveness. The story is compelling and the ending satisfying. Cynthia has captured the struggles of mature Christians who stumble during heart wrenching trials, reminding the reader of our human frailties and God's patience and power to heal.
For years Libby Holden has languished in a lifeless marriage. More than anything she longs to escape it. Maybe then her heart will pump breath into her life once again.
But then her husband Greg fails to return from a solo canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness. Is he lost? Hurt? Dead?
Or did he find a way to escape their marriage before she did?
Needing to know the truth, Abby sets out to find him, taking along her father-in-law and best friend. Will the wilderness provide the answers her life desperately needs?
I've actually read this book twice. The first time was several months ago when I received They Almost Always Come Home as an advanced reader copy. I dove into the book and was so intrigued by the storyline that I couldn't put the book down. I simply had to find out what happened to Greg. That's a good thing right? Every author dreams of writing a page-turner.
The problem was, by rushing through the story I failed to take time to appreciate Cynthia Ruchti's excellent writing voice. I failed to appreciate the complexity of Libby's and Greg's relationship.
So, I had to read it again, and waited for a time when I could savor each carefully chosen word. Cynthia's unique prose is beautiful and befitting of the wilderness she's describing. It's easy to visualize yourself canoeing the Canadian waters.
And while you're in the wild, the reader journeys deep inside the character's skins. You feel every sensation, and hear each thought. I love Libby's honesty and I appreciate her sarcastic wit and her confused feelings. On one hand, she's worried about her husband. Is he injured? Will he ever be found? On the other hand, Libby's certain that Greg had the guts to walk away from their dead marriage before she did. She says, "I'm angry that he left me when I was about to leave him." It's a duality of feelings Libby doesn't know how to reconcile. As for her faith, it's very human. Libby's not some "super Christian" with inauthentic faith that leaves the reader rolling their eyes.
This may be Cynthia Ruchti's debut novel, but it reads like it was written by a seasoned veteran. I can't wait to read more from her.
Libbys husband Greg, went camping and hasnt returned. How long do you wait to report someone missing? Cynthia Ruchti has the reader experience all the emotions and thought process someone might go through when they discover their husband is missing; but Libby has a little bit of a twist to her talehonestly, she wanted to leave her husband before this camping trip. Libby thought shed kept this little secret hidden. Now this might reveal it! Jen, Libbys best friend, tells her the police have come to her door and asked questions. Libbys worried and wants to know exactly what they asked? They cant discover what Greg and her relationship was really like! Would she be a suspect?The police think Greg might have left Libby for another woman, its a natural conclusion. Libby thinks this, If he were planning to leave me, couldnt he have had the decency to tidy up after himself and clear out the closet?Frank, Gregs father says hes starting a search for his son--somethings wrong he had to get to the bottom of it. Libby goes along with things because, after all, isnt that what a caring Christian wife would do? No one would have to know she was miffed at the fact she didnt get to leave Frank first!There was more to this story than I suspected. Cynthia kept it suspenseful and had me guessing about Gregthe whole novel, I wondered if he was alive or dead. She did an amazing job of making me care for and understand Libby, as she goes back over things she wished she would have done differently and finally discovers whats important in a relationship with God and her husband. This is powerful!