Last week I got the nicest surprise in the mail! It shouldn’t have been a surprise because I requested it, but that’s about par for the course right now. The “surprise” was Cynthia Ruchti’s newest novel, All My Belongings. What makes this surprise even funnier was that two days earlier I had just finished reading it on my Kindle. I got so excited when I saw it go on sale that I snatched it up, having completely forgotten that a copy was on its way to me in the mail.
So, first things first…a quick thanks to LitFuse Publicity for providing me with a belated Mother’s Day gift for my mom that I was able to give her in person when I drove up here this week with my kids. I think, more than anyone I know, she will value the beautiful, gentle way that Cynthia Ruchti approached the role of caretaker and helping someone to die with dignity. (They provide me with books to review in exchange for my unbiased opinion.)
All My Belongings is a book that tackles several big themes wrapped up in a beautiful story. Two themes in particular stood out to me. The first theme centered around Becca’s identity and the second was the value of life, even when others see none. Both were wrapped up in a lovely package of forgiveness, even in the most hopeless situations.
Becca desperately wanted to escape her life and all the mess it entailed and redefine herself. She ran away from everything, changed her name and tried to escape her past, but it caught up with her. Following her story as she finally learns to become who God meant her to be, struggling with her faith, and watching her bloom into her new name was a quite beautiful experience. It was not until she finally began to quit fighting her past and lean into her future that she could accept that God had a plan for her life.
The second theme centering around the value of life, and helping those around her learn to find and embrace the same value she saw and embraced was carried through all the way to the end of the story. Despite her father’s reputation, Becca learned how to be an exceptional caretaker for terminal patients. Her flexibility, quick wit and work ethic equipped her well for the position she accepted when her life fell apart after her mother passed away. She established a rapport with both her patient and her client that seemed in total opposition to all that she had been taught by her father. Most noticeable was the grace and dignity she imparted to Isaac’s mother. It reminded me very much of the relationship between my mom and her dad as his Alzheimer’s advanced and how her wish for him was that he be treated with respect in a situation that often felt out of control and upside down for them both.
As for the forgiveness…it just flowed through the story. Becca had to learn to forgive herself, her parents, her friends and the list goes on. If you don’t learn a thing or two about what it means to forgive someone, you will probably have missed the whole point of this beautiful story.
I don’t often binge-read a book from beginning to the end in one sitting, but I will shamelessly ‘fess up to staying up until 4:00 a.m. because I just couldn’t go to sleep until I knew how it had ended. Cynthia Ruchti is a masterful storyteller and is unafraid to tackle topics that are often uncomfortable to deal with. Her humor woven throughout the book makes it easy to read and her story and character development make it nearly impossible to put down.
Two thumbs up or five stars, both would be appropriate ratings for All My Belongings. (Plus, she was sweet enough to be my Facebook friend and guest blog right here on Middle Places, so she is definitely one of my favorite authors.)
Cynthia Ruchti asks what it takes to overcome your past and become who you were meant to be in her latest novel, All My Belongings. Cynthia has woven a heart-wrenching tale of forgiveness, grace, and learning what it means to truly belong.
Cynthia is celebrating the release of her latest novel with a fun giveaway and a live webcast event!
One winner will receive:
A $200 Visa cash card & All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 11th. Winner will be announced at the All My Belongings LIVE webcast event on June 11th. Connect with Cynthia for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Cynthia will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.