On our recent cruise in Alaska I took a dozen books. My luggage didn’t know the difference since they all fit into a space no larger than my cell phone. Ah, technology! I don’t need to own a Kindle or a Nook—just agree to pay a whopping monthly data fee for my smart phone. Sigh.
One of the books I read sitting by the pool while the mountains of the inner passage slid by my vision was Cynthia Ruchtie’s They Almost Always Come Home. The strong, irreverent voice of a woman who “would leave her husband if she could find him” draws the reader in immediately.
When Greg fails to return from a solo camping trip in the million-acre Canadian wilderness of Quetico Provincial Park, Libby wonders if he was as unhappy as she was and ditched her before she had a chance to leave him. When the police fail to find him, Libby, Greg’s unbelieving father, and her best friend take off into the wilderness, following the route they believe Greg intended by canoe and portage. Along the way they find clues, and we get hints of the tragedy that tore their average Christian marriage apart.
Libby was never an outdoorswoman. As she begins to see what Greg saw in this spectacular expanse of woods and lakes, she begins to see her own mistakes and long for a chance to put their marriage back together. Just when the searchers have given him up for dead, we switch to Greg’s point-of-view as he left home and find out what really happened.
It is easy to see why this book is a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award. Cynthia Ruchti’s writing is gripping. She understands the stresses even Christians feel as they confront tragedy and events beyond their understanding. There are no easy answers here, but there is a rock bottom assurance of God’s presence. I could have done without the extra complications introduced in the epilogue, but Libby’s thoughts on miracles and half miracles, waiting and trusting, are perfect.
I highly recommend this book. It is adventure more than romance, internal struggle in the midst of major external challenges, spiritual reality told in a powerful way. And the setting is spectacular.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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