Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Review: They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti

Here is a summary of They Almost Always Come Home from the Abingdon Press website:

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. 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…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.

My Review:
This is a book that I know I would not have chosen to read on my own because I had never even heard of it, and I still haven't seen it out there in the land of books when I am scouring bookstores.  This was chosen as a book club selection because one of our members met the author who was staying at a local bed and breakfast, which is actually featured in the novel.  This book received quite an array of mixed opinions from our group but lets see if I can sum up my thoughts of the story.

Greg and Libby are a couple that seem to have grown apart from each other after the death of their daughter.  Greg has always been an outdoor adventurer enjoying camping, fishing, hiking, and boating, and when he doesn't return from his first solo trip in Canada, Libby doesn't know whether to think that he has decided to leave her or maybe he became seriously injured.  After much contemplation and prayer she decides to search for her husband, enlisting the help of her best friend, Jen, and her father-in-law.

Greg's dad knows the route that he was planning on taking so they venture out with a couple of canoes and backpacks filled with the basic necessities.  This was an interesting part of the book for me as I couldn't help but think that I would just die out there in the wilderness.  The weather had such extreme differences from freezing one day and then the next you could be sweating.  Then you also had to make sure that the food your brought along could fit in your packs but still be enough to get you through the time you will be gone.  Oh, my goodness!

As they are searching for Greg, Libby has the opportunity to reflect on her marriage and revisit some of the differences that they have had over the past few years.  Libby wasn't exactly a likeable character but as she re-evaluates her life and marriage I couldn't help but let my heart go out to her.  We watch Libby along her journey as not only her faith in her husband is restored, but also her faith in the Lord as she struggles to continue the search.

I guess I wasn't really sure what I thought of Ruchti's writing style.  Many times throughout the book as Libby was thinking about possible outcomes she would carry on whole conversations in her head that really did not appeal to me.  I understand that this is just human instinct to consider possibilities but I thought that it was a bit extreme within the context of the novel.  There was also something about Libby's friend Jen that came to light later in the novel that made her participation in the search a bit unrealistic to me.

As I mentioned earlier I really did not enjoy Libby's character, but I did appreciate how the second half of the book gave us a chance to learn more about Greg as it introduced his side of the story.  We learn about his hurts and fears over the last couple of years since he lost his daughter, and what prevented him from returning home.  I don't want to give away any more of this story as many of you may find much more enjoyment from it than I did.  I have read Christian fiction in the past that I have found very enjoyable but this one was just ok for me.  If you have a lot of Christian ladies in your book club you may want to consider this novel as many of the gals in my group enjoyed this one immensely and it did make for an interesting discussion.

My Rating:  3/5

Disclosure:  This book was from my personal collection and I read it for my own entertainment as a book club selection.


bermudaonion said...

I don't think this is for me.

Anonymous said...

Losing a child would be a horrific thing to go through and I do think it's an interesting story. Not sure if I'll be rushing out to get it though :)