Saturday, May 23, 2015

As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti

This is a novel that drew me in at the very beginning and didn't let go until I turned the last page.

The novel begins with Emmalyn Ross trying to understand how to keep her hopes alive. Her husband is behind prison walls and has cut off communication. When her catering business declined, she had to sell the house – it was going to be taken from them anyway. All she has left is a cottage on Madeline Island she and Ross had bought years ago, before their lives became so difficult and then changed forever.

But surprises await Emmalyn on the remote island. She meets the exuberant owner of the Wild Iris Inn and Cafe where she stays while fixing up the cottage. “Boozie” and her circle of misfit friends help Emmalyn on her way to being able to love again. A cute dog and a precocious young teen stretch Emmalyn's heart to encompass more then she had ever thought possible.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. Ruchti did an excellent job of drawing me into the story and then revealing the back story bit by bit. I loved the way Emmalyn's character is developed. And the quirky people associated with the Wild Iris Inn are amazing.

In addition to a heart tugging plot and terrific characters is great word crafting. There were frequent sentences that made me stop and savor them. For example, “The breeze that blew in carried away bits of debris clinging to her soul.” As Emmalyn was calmed, looking at the lake, she thinks of it as a liquid version of what she'd found in the Bible in her teens.

ruchti2There are many issues dealt with in this book. One is the inability to have children, whether by infertility or miscarriage. Another is trying to maintain a marriage while the spouse is away. The Christian witness in the novel is well done and moving. We should all be, in some way, like “Boozie.” Openly offering grace and healing to the broken is something we can all do.

The novel is an inspiration on many levels. Even the title, based on Job 11:16, is an encouragement. I found the ending a bit abrupt and odd but that did not stop me from enjoying the novel immensely. There is a reading group discussion guide included. That's a good thing because there is much to discuss in this novel. I highly recommend it.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.

Cynthia Ruchti is an award winning author who has been writing novels, novellas and speaking about hope for 33 years. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their children and grandchildren. You can find out more at

Abingdon Press, 304 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review. 

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