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THEY ALMOST ALWAYS COME HOME by CYNTHIA RUCHTI - REVIEWED













BIO: 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 Afictionadoezine. 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.


Her debut novel—They Almost Always Come Home—releases in spring 2010 with Abingdon Press. She’s represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.
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Cynthia writes stories of hope that glows in the dark, merging her love for storytelling with inextinguishable hope for inexpressible hurts. Her novels in progress include On the Night He Was Betrayed, All My Belongings, When the Morning Glory Blooms, and Afraid of the Light.

The radio broadcast Cynthia writes and produces — The Heartbeat of the Home — is celebrating its 30th year of ministry. The scripted radio drama/devotional broadcast airs on 16 radio stations and two cable/digital television stations. Cynthia is the editor of the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine, a twenty-page, twice annual publication that reaches 5,000 homes, churches, and parachurch outreaches.
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Cynthia’s articles have appeared in a number of publications, including Christian Communicator, Victory In Grace, Quality of Life Times, and others. Her essay “Reading by Flashlight, Writing by Heart” appears in Cup of Comfort for Writers. She also has an essay in Writing So Heaven Will Be Different, a compilation commemorating the 35th year of the Write-to-Publish writers’ conference. She writes a monthly column for Wisconsin Christian News and has written a number of feature articles for that publication.



INTERIVIEW WITH CYNTHIA RUCHTI

1. How would you describe your book?

The tagline for the book is “She’d leave her husband…if she could find him.”

When Libby’s husband Greg doesn’t return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an oatmeal marriage and mind-numbing career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness-savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance. What the trio discovers in the wilderness search upends Libby’s assumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

It’s my prayer that this fictional adventure story and emotional journey will reveal its own hope-laden clues for those struggling to survive or longing to exit what they believe are uninspiring marriages. How can a woman survive a season or a lifetime when she finds it difficult to like the man she loves?

2. How were you different as a writer and as a person when you finished writing They Almost Always Come Home?

This book changed me in a profound way. It forced me to take a more honest look at myself and my reactions to crises so I could write Libby’s character with authenticity. Libby is a composite of many women. I haven’t experienced what she did, but I identify with some of her struggles and longings, as I hope my readers will. I see my friends in her eyes and know that her tears aren’t hers alone. Her shining moments feed my courage. Libby speaks for me and for many others when she discovers that she is stronger than she realized and weaker than she wanted to admit.

Writing her story was a journey for the author as much as for the character.

3. What did you feel the tug on your heart to become a writer?

My journey toward a lifetime of writing began by reading books that stirred me, changed me, convinced me that imagination is a gift from an imaginative Creator. As a child, I read when I should have been sleeping…and still do. I couldn’t wait for the BookMobile (library on wheels) to pull up in front of the post office in our small town and open its arms to me. Somewhere between the pages of a book, my heart warmed to the idea that one day I too might tell stories that made readers stay up past their bedtimes.

4. What books line your bookshelves?

My bookshelves—don’t ask how many!—hold a wide variety of genres. The collection expands faster than a good yeast dough. I’m a mood reader, grabbing a light comedy one day and a literarily rich work the next. Although I appreciate well-written nonfiction, I gravitate toward an emotionally engaging contemporary women’s fiction story.




REVIEW:
THEY ALMOST ALWAYS COME HOME

By Cynthia Ruchti
Published by Abingdon Press
ISBN# 978-1-4267-0238-9
300 Pages

Back Cover: When Libby's husband Greg, fails to return from a two week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities soon write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband's escape from an empty marriage and unrewarding career. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband's disappearance, if for no other reason than to free her to move on. What the trio discovers in the search upends Libby's presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

REVIEW: “Do dead people wear shoes? In the casket, I mean. Seems a waste. Then again, no outfit is complete without shoes!”

The first sentence startled me, but kept me reading. I was so happy to receive a review copy of Cynthia’s thought provoking and honest debut novel.

Libby’s husband Greg, went camping and hasn’t 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 tale—honestly, she wanted to leave her husband before this camping trip. Libby thought she’d kept this little secret hidden. Now this might reveal it!

Jen, Libby’s best friend, tells her the police have come to her door and asked questions. Libby’s worried and wants to know exactly what they asked? They can’t 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, it’s a natural conclusion. Libby thinks this, “If he were planning to leave me, couldn’t he have had the decency to tidy up after himself and clear out the closet?”

Frank, Greg’s father says he’s starting a search for his son--something’s wrong… he had to get to the bottom of it. Libby goes along with things because, after all, isn’t that what a caring Christian wife would do? No one would have to know she was miffed at the fact she didn’t get to leave Frank first!

There was more to this story than I suspected. Cynthia kept it suspenseful and had me guessing about Greg—the 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 she finally discovers what’s important in a relationship with God and her husband. This is powerful!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network – www.bookfun.org

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