Tuesday, October 5, 2010

They Almost Always Come Home

debut novel by Cynthia Ruchti

Abingdon Press
300 pages

Beautiful Blend of Page-Turning Story and Character Discovery

For years Libby Holden has languished in a lifeless marriage. More than anything she longs to escape it. Maybe then her heart will pump breath into her life once again.

But then her husband Greg fails to return from a solo canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness. Is he lost? Hurt? Dead?

Or did he find a way to escape their marriage before she did?

Needing to know the truth, Abby sets out to find him, taking along her father-in-law and best friend. Will the wilderness provide the answers her life desperately needs?

I’ve actually read this book twice. The first time was several months ago when I received They Almost Always Come Home as an advanced reader copy. I dove into the book and was so intrigued by the storyline that I couldn’t put the book down. I simply had to find out what happened to Greg. That’s a good thing right? Every author dreams of writing a page-turner.

The problem was, by rushing through the story I failed to take time to appreciate Cynthia Ruchti’s excellent writing voice. I failed to appreciate the complexity of Libby's and Greg’s relationship.

So, I had to read it again, and waited for a time when I could savor each carefully chosen word. Cynthia’s unique prose is beautiful and befitting of the wilderness she’s describing. It's easy to visualize yourself canoeing the Canadian waters.

And while you're in the wild, the reader journeys deep inside the character’s skins. You feel every sensation, and hear each thought. I love Libby’s honesty and I appreciate her sarcastic wit and her confused feelings. On one hand, she’s worried about her husband. Is he injured? Will he ever be found? On the other hand, Libby's certain that Greg had the guts to walk away from their dead marriage before she did. She says, “I’m angry that he left me when I was about to leave him.” It’s a duality of feelings Libby doesn’t know how to reconcile. As for her faith, it’s very human. Libby’s not some “super Christian” with inauthentic faith that leaves the reader rolling their eyes.

This may be Cynthia Ruchti’s debut novel, but it reads like it was written by a seasoned veteran. I can’t wait to read more from her.


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.

Her next work will be released in a four-story compilation, A Door County Christmas.


I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy from Abingdon Press for review purposes only, but I enjoyed the book so much, I had to buy a store copy.


  1. Yours is the second review I've read about this book. Now I have to read it!

  2. Kav - you'll enjoy it. It's definitely one of my favorite books of the year.