Title: Letters from Ruby
Author: Adam Thomas
Publisher: Abingdon Press
This is a heart touching novel where a young man serves as a priest in a town that never resurged after the depression. Calvin is a 25-year-old man who, upon graduating, was sent to the church where the membership consisted mainly of elderly people and those who cared for them. I liked how the author used flashbacks as Calvin recalls the years he served there prior to moving to Boston. Interspersed throughout the novel are letters from a lady named Ruby who has been writing Calvin, keeping him up-to-date on the latest news from his old parish.
It is touching to see how Ruby and the other three elderly praying ladies begin to show Calvin how real God is by being living witnesses of faith born from decades of triumphs and trials. Ruby is a woman who was born shortly after the Depression, and at a young age, when WW II started, left her small home town to help in the war effort. Through the years, Ruby has gathered wisdom from her mistakes and her faith looking back over the 8 decades she has lived. God uses Ruby to grow Calvin up so to speak to be the man God has called into ministry.
While he served in the small parish, he too grew to understand the deeper mysteries of God that can never be taught in a classroom or through a textbook. Calvin also realizes that while he is lonely, he doesn’t want to just go out dating, but rather wants to wait for God to bring the right woman to him. As he is working on setting up his new apartment in Boston, he is reading through the letters Ruby has sent, reliving the days of his first pastorate. When Anna, his wife, walks in with groceries, he is reading poetry written by Walt Whitman. Calvin sees anew some of the truths Ruby shared in life and letters.
At the end of the novel, Calvin is remembering the last year he served at St John’s, which was hard. As he looks from the letters to his bride, he can then look forward to the future with eagerness of heart. For me, parts of the ending brought back some painful memories, but also brought along with them the joy of knowing where a couple of my loved ones are now.
Faith is grown through years of walking with the Lord, so too is a good marriage likely to last because of the journey shared between man and wife. These are just two of the themes I came away with after finishing the book. I think of how walking with the Lord can make us grow deep roots that anchor us through the lean, heartbreaking times when nothing or no one else is able. Above all, I am reminded that God does turn our tragedies to triumph, our mourning into dancing. Though I have been a follower of Christ but three decades, I can testify that He does this and more through the many seasons of our journey here on earth!
My rating is 4 stars.
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