Monday, July 26, 2010

Book review: They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti

They Almost Always Come Home
Cynthia Ruchti
Abingdon Press, 2010
Reviewed by Ruth Ann Dell

Cynthia Ruchti's debut novel tells the story of Libby’s journey through two wildernesses.

On the surface, it's all about Libby’s quest to find Greg, her husband. She needs to know if he has deceived and left her, or if he is lost in Canada, perhaps injured or even dead. The book opens with Libby planning his funeral when he fails to arrive home from his first solo expedition in the Quetico wilderness. After the police declare Greg to be "a missing person", Libby, her best friend and her father-in-law set off to retrace his journey.  They canoe and portage through the wilderness, which becomes a vibrant character in its own right as we see it through Libby's eyes.

Libby blames Greg for the death of their twelve-year-old daughter, Lacey. Grief blindfolds her and she stumbles daily through another wilderness—an unseen one of sorrow, fragmented relationships and missed opportunities. She has no faith in God and cannot see that Greg, unable to cope with his grief and her withdrawal, is also unhappy and hurting. Libby decides to leave him, but there is a problem—first she has to find him. How dare he leave her when she's decided to leave him?

As I travelled through these wildernesses with Libby, I sympathised with her as she left her home comforts and learnt to rough it outdoors. I rejoiced with her as bit by bit she allowed God back into her life. I agonized with her as she sought Greg and her hopes of finding him alive were raised, only to be dashed time and time again.  Would she find him? Would she leave him if she did? I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find the answers.

Although it contains painful subject matter, this book is not depressing, in fact, quite the contrary. Although you  cry at times, you also chuckle and laugh out loud at others.

I highly recommend this well-crafted book which is permeated with powerful imagery. Not only is it an enthralling read which brings the rugged beauty of the Quetico wilderness to life, but it challenges readers to examine, appreciate and enrich their relationships with God, family and friends.

What about you? Have you ever had a wilderness experience? If so, please tell readers about it in the comments section.

Please return to this blog on 9th August to read an interview with Cynthia Ruchti by Valerie Cromer.

Cynthia Ruchti is the current president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), which she’s served in various volunteer capacities since shortly after she became a member in 2002. In her role as president of ACFW, Cynthia writes a monthly “From the President” column for ACFW’s Afictionado ezine. For two years she was one of four humor columnists for Afictionado’s “Let There Be Lite.” In 2007, she was the recipient of the ACFW Member Service Award. In 2008, Cynthia won second place for Women’s Fiction in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Contest.


  1. Good post Ruth, after all the hassles! This sounds like a good book, Cynthia.

  2. Thank you Ruth Ann. What a wonderful line-up of international writers in that far-right column! Thanks for the insightful review and the opportunity to connect with your readers.

  3. And thank you, Cynthia, for writing this excellent book! To all potential readers: Don't put off buying and reading They Almost Always Come Home. Cynthia is so candid and transparent in her storytelling--and so humorous in her presentation. I loved it! This is the work of someone who was willing to take the time to learn how to do it right. One of the best I've read in a long time...

  4. Thank you for popping in Cynthia!

    Many thanks for your comments, Shirl and Kathi.