Tag Archive | Cynthia Ruchti

A Door County Christmas (Book Review)

I have to admit, I did not read this book at Christmas-time. I read it after. And I loved it! A Door County Christmas is a compilation project that highlights the work of four authors: Eileen Key, Becky Melby, Rachael Phillips and Cynthia Ruchti.  The cool thing is that while these four stories are all stand-alones, they all share a common link to an eccentric innkeeper, Lola Peterson, who has gifted someone in each with a Christmas Cactus that will bloom when love does.

Not all of Lola’s targets for “happily-ever-after” are fully on board or even really care if love, or a cactus, blooms.

Cynthia Ruchti’s tale The Heart’s Harbor involves a young woman, Amanda, seeking a brief respite from her life and failed romance.  Unsuspecting of Lola’s intentions, Amanda, who starts out as a guest,  is quickly left to manage the inn. With the help of Lola’s son, Jordon, together they face a series of challenges as they gear up for the annual and much anticipated Christmas Tea. Will love bloom by then? It’s a spritely adventure and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

Rachael Phillips story Ride with Me into Christmas takes a look at a widow, Joanna, as she struggles to not only keep the cactus alive, but to deal with her new neighbor (also a widower). Eventually a mutual love of bicycling bring the two together, in spite of opposition. Will they be together come tea time? It’s a sweet story of love between 50-somethings – and utterly delightful.

Eileen Key tells a unique tale in My Heart Be Still with a look at the enduring love of two octogenarians and their own matchmaking efforts even when their home might be sold out from underneath them by the closest kin, a greedy woman who desperately wants the house gone. What will this spunky older couple do to keep their home and perhaps develop a more friendly family?  A sweet and at times, silly, story.

The final novella, by author Becky Melby is Christmas Crazy and involves an interesting mystery man, a rundown theater company, and Jillian, who is somehow supposed to pull everything together for a glorious rebirth. Can she trust dark Latin eyes and do the job? Will love bloom in her heart?

A delightful grouping of stories against the glistening backdrop of Door County, Wisconsin, one of the State’s most coveted get-a-way locations. If you can’t make the trip in reality, then enjoy it here. You’ll be glad you did.


They Almost Always Come Home (Book Review)

They Almost Always Come Home is a debut novel by Cynthia Ruchti and a book I recommend reading. I found it hard to put down once I started.

Libby’s marriage is toast and her husband has not returned from his supposed trip to the Canadian wilderness. Is he dead or alive? Is he really up in the wilderness or somewhere tropical with a love interest? Not Greg. Never Greg. Libby is ready to call her marriage quits but doesn’t know if her husband has taken the choice away from her. Is he injured? Then get him home so she can file for divorce. Is he dead? How do you plan a funeral with no body or proof?  Eventually she decides to go look for her husband herself so she can get closure on a dead-end marriage.  She takes two others with her. But what she initially seeks is not necessarily what God had in mind.

I hadn’t completely finished this novel when I had already established an opinion about it. The main character, Libby, is a whiner. Okay, I’m honest. She annoyed me at times! But written from the perspective of a wife whose husband is missing, what else could an author do but explore the emotions and thoughts that run rampant in this woman’s head?  Later in the  book, the reader is privy to the husband’s own journey as well.

Does he make it home? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

I do recommend this novel though for this reason. Good literature forces us to take a look at ourselves. Libby annoyed me because she reflected some of my own inner struggles (and my husband is not lost in the Canadian wilderness). Her journey back to God and to trusting in Him regardless of the outcome was subtle and refreshing because you saw how slowly God sometimes makes those changes in our hearts even though we would (most of the time) prefer the instant miracle.

Cynthia also does a wonderful job at painting the journey in Canada. I’ve never been there but almost feel like I was as I journeyed north with Libby, her friend Jen and her father-in-law Frank. The characters are well defined and relatable. Greg’s story, when we get to see it, gives a beautiful counterbalance to the struggle that this husband and wife faced, and the brutality of sometimes facing our own failures.

So go ahead. Get the book and read it. But be prepared that God might challenge  you when you do.