Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Letters from Ruby by Adam Thomas

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (August 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426741375
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426741371

This book is also available as an e-book.

Not everything a young pastor needs to know can be taught in school.

Not much triumph remains in Victory, West Virginia, where the loss of the railroad and the housing bust have conspired to send the once vibrant town into decline. Only a few buildings in downtown Victory still have the lights on, including St. John's Episcopal Church, which serves an ever-dwindling population of worshipers.

The newly ordained priest Rev. Calvin Harper arrives at the ailing church hoping to help it grow and regain some of its former glory. But Calvin has no idea how much he still has to learn about leadership, about ministry, and about life in general.

When the young man's inexperience threatens to divide Calvin from his new church family, Ruby Redding takes him under her wing. Ruby is one of those rare women who is so full of God’s light that it can't help but spill onto the people around her. This light spills onto Calvin from the moment they meet, but he is blind to the new world Ruby hopes to show him. Even Ruby's wisdom and generosity may not be enough to open Calvin's eyes.

My take on this book:
I have to admit the reason I was drawn to this story was because it's set in WV my home state, but that isn't what held my attention. Instead it was the depth of characters that totally enamoured me with this beautiful, heart touching story.

Twenty-six year old Calvin Harper is fresh out of seminary school when he gets an assignment in a tiny town called Victory WV. His first encounter in the town doesn't go so great when he almost gets arrested for breaking into the church. Unsure what to expect as he meets the parishioners after all only twelve shows up for his first service, he can only hope that he can turn things around. One of the parishioners, Ruby Redding becomes his champion, always trying to build him up, and even allows him to move into her house with her husband Whit until he can get his living arrangements sorted out. After eighteen months in Victory he is assigned to Boston, and while his stay in Victory is short his life will be forever changed by the people he encounters while staying there.

What I presumed would be a simple story really turned out to be so much more. Sure the story had a cozy, down home feel,but it was the author's ability to allow me to feel the emotions of the story that touched me. I found myself laughing a few times especially as I imagined the characters. After all I am certain that Esther Rose actually goes to my church, but honestly as I was pulled into the story I felt as if I knew these people because they seemed so realistic.Ruby Redding was such an outstanding character, I loved her sunny outlook, but I also found my heart aching as the author allowed me to feel her grief and sadness when she loses someone near and dear to her heart. She became the type of character that makes a person feel richer for even having known her, and the author captures that perfectly. I loved reading the letters she sent, they were so informative allowing us to experience glimpses into the past. The author's descriptive writing really allowed me to imagine the church and the people. A wonderful story that reminded me of the importance of friendship, a story that was encouraging as well as uplifting.There are discussion questions included with this book that makes it a perfect book club read. Anyone looking for an emotionally touching story that will leave you feeling blessed for having read it, should really pick up "Letters from Ruby." On a scale of one to five I would easily give this book a six because it's just that good!

Interested in reading an excerpt of "Letters From Ruby" then click here.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Ooh, this sounds interesting. It's on my list.

  2. JoyAnne, it was truly a wonderful story!


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