Friday, March 20, 2015

Healing Ruby

Title: Healing Ruby
Author: Jennifer H. Westall
Publisher: Jennifer H. Westall
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Format: Hardback/Paperback/Kindle
369 pages

Ruby Graves, a young girl in Depression-era Alabama, faces the hardships 
of poverty and loss with as much faith as she can muster. At only the age of 
thirteen, she’s already lost a younger brother to illness, and now faces losing 
both her father and the boy who’s stealing her heart to illnesses as well. Armed 
with her beloved Scriptures, she prays daily for their healing, only to have her 
tender faith shattered by her father’s death.

Through her pain, she’s able to connect with her long-lost Uncle Asa, who’s
mere presence at his brother’s funeral brings murmurs of a scandalous past 
involving her parents and a prominent local pastor, Irwin Cass. When Ruby 
discovers that one of Asa’a many secrets is an ability to heal, and that she may 
be next in line for the “gift,” she vows to find the faith that has eluded her so 
far, a faith that could mean never losing loved ones again. 
But faith and doubt can’t reside in the same heart, not according to her father, 
and doubt is Ruby’s constant companion. As she struggles to find the true 
meaning of faith, she’s opposed at every turn by the pastor who would see 
her family destroyed and a community that can’t see deeper than the color 
of one’s skin. Through her search for a faith that could move mountains and 
a true understanding of her gift, can Ruby trust in a God that may require the 
ultimate sacrifice?

“A fast-paced story that will leave readers wondering what’s next for Ruby
Graves. This soulful, often poignant novel explores difficult subjects such as 
death, racism and religious hypocrisy, while still remaining hopeful. One of 
its greatest strengths is its cast of well-drawn secondary characters, including 
the...vengeful preacher who tries to thwart Ruby at every turn. Ruby’s 
unlikely friendship with a cast-out African-American woman and her child is a 
particularly bright spot in this often heavy novel."
-- Kirkus Reviews

For More Information

• Healing Ruby is available at Amazon.

• Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

• Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
I never meant to hurt anyone. It was the last thing I ever wanted to do, but 

in moments that pass by quicker than lightning, things just happened. That 

seemed to be the story of my life. Things happened before I could stop them, 

before I even understood what was happening. Sometimes it was my eagerness 

that got me into trouble—like when I’d have to help Mother with canning all 

the vegetables, but all I could think about was getting out of that hot kitchen, 

sneaking down to the creek, and burying myself in the cold water. But most 

times, what got me in trouble was just plain anger.

Like the time when I was ten, and Henry was harassing me again, and I was sick 

of him that day. I never understood what was so much fun about picking on 

girls, but that seemed to be the favorite pastime of both my brothers. Seemed 

to me that teenage boys could find plenty else to occupy their time with, and 

it would make me madder than a hornet. Maybe that was why they did it.

We weren’t poor back then, back before stock crashes and poverty stole the 

life out of folks. But we weren’t like the Doyles either—we didn’t have a 

housekeeper to clean up after us—and since I was the only girl, I got stuck with 

washing the dishes after dinner every Sunday while the boys got to run off to 

do heaven knows what with heaven knows who. Henry should’ve just left me 

alone. But he never could pass up a chance to needle me, and he slapped my 

behind as he dropped his plate into the washtub. I must’ve gotten madder than 

I ever had before, cause I don’t exactly remember deciding to do it, but the 

next thing I knew, the knife in my hand went sailing through the air and landed 

in Henry’s neck.

What happened after that’s still a blur. I was as horrified as Henry was, and 

we both stood there staring at each other in shock. I couldn’t even remember 

throwing that knife across the room. But there he stood a few feet away from 

me, a trickle of blood running down his neck and seeping into the collar of his 

Sunday shirt. I remember thinking that Mother would have a time getting that 

stain out on the washboard. She’d complain about her knuckles getting raw.

Henry pulled the knife out, and blood shot out of him. It hit Mother’s 

tablecloth, the white one with the lace around the bottom that Grandma 

Kellum had made for a wedding present. It hit the wall and the doorframe 

where Henry stood. He stared at it kind of wide-eyed for a moment. Then just 

as Daddy came back in the room, Henry sank to the floor.

I am not what one would call a reader of religious genre, but I have read and enjoyed Amish novels now and again.
I enjoy both the time period this book is written about, the 1930s, depression era, and storys taking place in small rural communities.
The interpersonal dynamics, family relationships and even class characterizations make for excellent reading.

This book reads like a visit with good friends. The charachters are well developed. The storyline is endearing. There is a mystery behind some of the emotions and interactions.
I like that there is discussion and disagreement with some of the religious viewpoints.

Ruby is very strong and stubborn, in a good way, and is at an age where life is full of changes.
Sadly, one of the changes is losing her father and watching a friend's brother suffer from a debilitating illness. Even the addition of an Uncle she never really knew is a major change to her life.
This story will entertain you and make you think about your own beliefs.
It has so many layers to it.

I did receive this book in exchange for my honest opinion

Jennifer Westall dives into Christian characters to explore her own questions of 
faith. Inspired by the life of her grandmother, Healing Ruby (2014) is the first 
in the Healing Ruby series, which delves into the mysteries of faith healing. 

She’s also the author of Love’s Providence (2012), a contemporary Christian 
romance that navigates the minefield of dating and temptation. She resides in 
southwest Texas with her husband and two boys, where she homeschools by 
day and writes by night, thus explaining those pesky bags under her eyes. 

For More Information

• Visit Jennifer H. Westall’s website.

• Connect with Jennifer on Facebook and Twitter.

• Find out more about Jennifer at Goodreads.

• Visit Jennifer’s blog.

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