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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 13, 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, whose 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's 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?
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Felita Daniels on 05-11-16
On my "Best of the Year" list already
The setting is Depression-era Alabama and Andi Arndt, the narrator, does an excellent job with the southern accent for Ruby and the other characters. The vocals are just the right balance, don’t imply the characters are uneducated, nor do they inhibit you from understanding what’s being said. Even when the narrator is voicing Ruby’s brothers, which you might think would be hard to follow which one was speaking since they are both young men, she manages them well by passing the authors different personalities for the brothers to you.
I read that this story is inspired by events in the life of the author’s grandmother. If so, she’s a woman I wouldn’t mind meeting someday. In respect to the story, don’t let the idea that this work is labelled as religious make you hesitate. Everyone asks themselves why do bad things happen to good people. How much hardship can land on a family? Ruby questions how to navigate her life, her faith and how to help those around her. I don’t mind saying there were many places in this work that brought tears to my eyes. There’s some real heartache included, but hope also.
There are times when a character may quote a Bible passage and I thought it helpful that the book, chapter and verse were sometimes mentioned. That way if you wanted to delve into that passage a little more you could.
This is not my regular genre for reading. I usually have my nose in a mystery, sci-fi or a how- to book. The storyline, the heart and the quality of writing wouldn’t let me put this book down. I took my tablet to work and listened to it while doing data entry. Others listen to music, I wanted to know what was going to happen next in Ruby’s world. I can’t recommend this book enough. It is one of my ‘best’ reads this year.
I was provided a free copy of this audiobook in order to listen and write my honest review of the work.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Debbie on 11-14-16
Hanceville, Alabama in the '30s
Ruby, a teenage, gifted girl with the faith to move mountains, faced not only the hardships of the depression, after already having lost a younger brother, but now her daddy, was suffering from diabetes, and had a foot amputated . . . unable to work, her daddy who owned the local cotton gin, mortgaged the family home to try to keep afloat . . .his previous kindheartedness to their neighbors and customers at the gin, already having left the business in a precarious position . . . while her brothers worked in the cotton fields and at the gin and her mother cared for her daddy, Ruby, felt depressed and useless at home . . . she lied to her parents and went each day after school to take care of a friend, Matthew Doyle . . . Matthew had collapsed on the high school basketball court a few weeks earlier, diagnosed with tuberculosis . . . spewing blood every time he coughed; nobody wanted to clean up after him . . . nobody, but Ruby, that is . . . until one day, her daddy died . . . grieving Ruby deeply, knowing she had been lying to him . . . when, at the funeral, Ruby believes she sees her daddy standing at the treeline, she is astonished to learn that it's her daddy's brother, her Uncle Asa . . . and a deeply hidden secret is finally exposed . . . this is a beautiful, painful and wonderful story . . . I got so very angry at Brother Cass . . . a bitter and prejudiced man, a preacher, no less, who took the Word of God and perverted it, because of his own pain . . . and I was so blessed that the author, Jennifer Westall did not shy away from writing about the gift of healing, because it is biblical . . . the issue of pride and misuse of one's gifts was very appropriate, as well . . . can't wait to listen to the next book in the series . . .
5 of 5 people found this review helpful