Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Review: As Waters Gone By

As Waters Gone By
By Cynthia Ruchti
Abingdon, 2015


How can a marriage survive when separated by hundreds of miles and impenetrable prison walls?

Emmalyn and Max Ross may have to endure the fight of their lives to mend the tattered fabric of their marriage. His actions ensured she could never be a mother and put him in prison, giving their relationship a court-mandated five-year time-out. On a self-imposed exile to beautiful but remote Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, Emmalyn has just a few months left to figure out if and how they can ever be a couple again.

Nudged along by the exuberant owner of the Wild Iris Inn and Café, a circle of misfit people in their small town, and a young girl who desperately needs someone to love her, Emmalyn restores an island cottage that could become a home and begins to restore her heart by learning what it means to love unconditionally. Yet even as hope begins to find a place within the cottage walls, Emmalyn still wonders if she’s ready for Max’s release. She may be able to rebuild a cottage, but can she rebuild a marriage?

My thoughts

This is why I read fiction. Many stories entertain and inspire me, tugging at my heart and pulling me away from the busyness and cares of life. But every once in a while, a gem like Cynthia Ruchti's As Waters Gone By comes along - and hoping to stumble across those gems is why I read.

You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.
Job 11:16 NIV

Drawing its theme from those words of assurance, As Waters Gone By embodies all that Christian fiction should be, a story that conveys the heartbreak, anger and distancing of oneself from God when life's strongest desires aren't met and the unimaginable happens - and then we get to travel with the characters down their path to healing. Cynthia's subtle injection of humor hits the spot. This story will especially touch those facing physical or emotional distance from a spouse, but it's the simple message of a story beautifully told that will touch any reader.

With her vulnerability, determination and courage, I was immediately drawn to Emmalyn - but really, every character is loveable and memorable. Cynthia has taken the infrequently-used storyline of Max's five-year prison sentence and treated it in a realistic, inspiring way. And then there's Bougie, a character I don't think I will ever forget! Bougie's eclectic style is reflected in the bright colors and stenciled quotes all around the Wild Iris Inn, and I loved that she describes herself as:  "Rescued. Rescuer. Grateful."

Big Bay State Park
Read this story for its vivid imagery . . . the majestic beauty of God's creation seen from the shores of Wisconsin's Madeline Island, the enticing scents of Bougie's dishes at the Wild Iris Inn and Café, the sounds of incoming waves or gentle rains falling against the skylight in Emmalyn's cottage.

Read this story for its exceptional lyrical prose that engages the senses:  "As she looked farther down the shore, she saw the sand swallowed by rock cliffs with trees jutting over the water and pines playing 'I can lean farther than you can without getting wet.'" Or, "She abandoned the resumption of her wardrobe search in favor of sea-gazing, watching the fat snowflakes melt on the water's tongue like a million communion wafers or flakes of manna."

Read this story for the message of friendship, healing, and second chances . . . love received and given by a child named Hope . . . the comforting presence of a dog named Comfort . . . and the assurance that "grace always outweighs gravity."

But most of all, read this story to be reminded again of God's goodness, faithfulness, and constant presence through every storm of life.

Cynthia writes, "I want to communicate the grace I’ve witnessed that can transform a long distance relationship from unraveled to hemmed in hope." And that is exactly what she has done through As Waters Gone By. I highly recommend this story to every reader.


Cynthia Ruchti has more than three decades of radio broadcast experience with “Heartbeat of the Home” radio and currently serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers.

Connect with Cynthia online at cynthiaruchti.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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1 comment:

  1. I think that some part of many Christian fiction books helps me to get through many problems daily.