READ: All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti
Traveling seems to be the theme of the summer for the Pieper family. On Friday, my husband left for a music mission trip to New York City with the Florida Worship Choir and Orchestra. Sunday night, we received our daughter Karissa back from almost five months of missionary service in Southeast Asia. And yesterday, I flew to Chicago to teach at the well-respected Write to Publish Conference at Wheaton College. The summer continues with a music conference for my husband, our daughters’ five-week mission trips to Panama (Karissa) and Nicaragua (Melanie), and a two-week mission trip to Costa Rica for Tom and me.
I’m excited about Write to Publish for a number of reasons, but one of the most important is the people. A special friend, award-winning author Cynthia Ruchti, serves as one of the conference worship leaders. I met Cynthia back in 2010 at the first writers conference where I taught. From the start, I recognized her as a kindred spirit. Her devotion to God, her caring spirit, and her passion for writing words that make a difference all challenge and inspire me.
And so does her writing. Here, I reviewed her debut novel, They Almost Always Come Home. And with admitted bias but great respect, I want to share my thoughts on her latest release.
I received my review copy of All My Belongings during a busy spring. But once I started it, I had a hard time putting it down. In fact, I finished the book in two days despite a busy writing schedule. Yes, it’s that compelling.
If I had to shelve this novel at a bookstore, I could find several places where it might find a home. Cynthia’s work combines the warmth of romance, the intrigue of suspense, the deep characterization and symbolism of literary fiction, and the layered development of women’s fiction to produce one of the few novels I would call a must-read.
When the story opens, Jayne (later known as Becca) has some difficult decisions to make. Within the first few pages, she learns that the nursing school where she hopes to finish her degree has rejected her application—not on the basis of her grades or character but on the sins of a family member. Almost at the same time, through the kindness of a friend, an opportunity for a fresh start in a new city presents itself. But when what seems like a perfect match in both relationships and vocation takes a sudden and ugly turn, readers wonder if Becca will get the happy ending they were so convinced she deserved.
As with any fiction worthy of mention, we can meet ourselves in the pages of All My Belongings. We understand how family members’ choices—even those from long agp—affect our present. We recognize that, even with evidence stacked in one direction, things are not always as they seem. And we affirm along with Becca and those who love her that right actions, large or little, yield a character that endures even the worst of storms.
The beauty of Ruchti’s writing helped me picture each character, each scene in movie-like fashion as I read. I fell in love not just with Becca but with those she cared about: the unconditional friendship of Geneva, the indomitable spirit matched with a failing mind and body of Aurelia, and the tender toughness of Isaac.
So, although I’m thankful to count Cynthia Ruchti as my friend, I’m more grateful that the world has the opportunity to receive, as her tagline states, “hope that glows in the dark” from her writing. Thanks so much for this lovely book, my friend. May Becca’s story light the way for many readers and lead the way for many more works bearing your byline.
Have you read this or any of Cynthia Ruchti’s other books? How does her tagline, “Hope That Glows in the Dark” resonate with your life? Leave a comment below or email me your comment or prayer request through the link at the top of the page. Blessings!
Watch for my Words with Friends interview with Cynthia coming later this week!
FTC Disclaimer: I received an electronic copy of this novel free from the publisher. I was not required to post a review or a positive response.