"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen..."
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?
©2014 Jennifer Westall (P)2016 Jennifer Westall
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.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
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 . . .
Every character is voiced beautifully by Andi Arndt. Each voice pulls you back to a place and time we may be slightly familiar with, but in which we are now immediately and compellingly dropped into by their finely crafted personalities and stories.
I don't want to give away any spoilers. But, when my bluetooth went off in my car, I had to find a safe place to pull over, so I could hear what came next in the story. I didn't want to have to wait a minute to hear what the next word was.
Andi Arndt has a mellifluous tone that is both comforting and compelling. Each word and character comes to life, as if they are sharing their secrets directly with the listener.
I smiled and cried throughout the audiobook and hated for it to end. At times, I felt so frustrated or angry with a character or heartbroken for a character I could hardly stand it. I was so invested in Ruby's life and journey and that of her friends and family.
I hope there will be a sequel. I would love to spend more time in Ruby's world and with these rich, interesting characters.
Healing powers are usually a taboo subject for mainstream America. It was a welcome story that brought it to light. I can't wait for the next 2 books.
Yes, reminds me of the faith I should have.
Ruby, young girl, growing up in the 19030's. And it was her mission to help others. Even after bad stuff happened in her own life she was there to help others out.
The southern talk... love it! Andi Arndt voice was the perfect voice for this book.
Well written book about a young girl in segregated South that can't see why color of skin matters and stays strong in following God's lead regardless of personal cost. Narrator was perfect choice for this story. Will be looking forward to the next two in the series becoming Audible options.
Loved the story. Very well written. My only complaint is that this the only one of the series I can find on audible. I will have to find time to sit down and read the others.
The story captured my attention throughout. It was filled with lots of emotional twists and turns. I loved the audio version. It brought the story to life in many ways. This is a Christian book but deals with several "heavy" issues like racism, illness, & death. I highly recommend the audio book to anyone interested in Christian fiction that is both inspirational yet emotional.
Healing Ruby, by Jennifer Westall was my first book by this author, but certainly not my last. The narrator of this audible book made it so real with each Character.
I found myself rooting for Ruby throughout the whole book. Westall shows the racial conflicts of the early century in the south. She shares how tragic some of the lives were but with God's Grace and Mercy, some made it through.
Healing Ruby is about faith playing itself out in the life of young Ruby, even though it cost her dearly. It stirred my faith in humanity showing that love wins, even when it hurts.
I will download another Westall book for sure. I enjoyed this one so I hope to enjoy many more.
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