The synopsis on the back of the book:
With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to Society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She's forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.
Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earns him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect he craves. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality. When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?
- Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
- Published: 6/2018
- Published: Prism Book Group
- Pages: 237
- Goodreads Rating: 4.53
Why I Chose This Book
Kelly reached out to me personally to review her book. We have been friends on Facebook for sometime and we suddenly realized one day that she was an author and I was a book reviewer - funny how things happen!
First Initial Thoughts
This book is set in Virginia during the restoration era after the Civil War. Many people are still opposed to the blacks having freedom and the right to work and go to school. Ruth Ann Sutton is not one of them. She is a school teacher for the black school in town - teaching both kids and adults. Some people in town find it admirable and others are opposed to her position.
That is the least of Ruth Ann's worries. Ruth Ann is a curvaceous woman. Woman are expected during this time to be petite and slender to attract a husband. Not only is she curvy but has an opinionated personality as well. Her mother - critical of Ruth Ann's figure and actions makes her self-conscious and not confident in herself. I really liked Ruth Ann's character simply because we all can relate to her. With our growing social media society, we are pressured to look perfect and have it all together. And in turn become critical of ourselves.
Benjamin is a young man who moved to Virginia after the war working for the railroad. He has his own demons that he is trying to fight. Suffering from PTSD he goes to alcohol to turn away the memories. When he moves to Virginia, Nate, the local priest finds him and helps him find God. Then he vows to never drink again - all the while meeting Ruth Ann.
James another minor character in the story- but plays an important role is from a prominent family. He is hoping to run for Senate later on in life. Ugh, I hated this man. He was only wanting to marry Ruth Ann because her parents only suggested it. There was no love and he was always critical of her actions- and her position with the school. I rooted for Ruth Ann when she turned him down when he proposed!
The town Ruth Ann lived in reminded me of an old western town- even though they were in Virginia. I really liked that Kelly only focused only on certain areas of the town - so that we could focus on the characters and their story. It just seemed like the perfect town to visit when one need a breather.
What I liked about Kelly's book is that each character grew as a person throughout the novel. Ruth Ann particularly learned that each person has their own problems in their life - even though it may not seem like it from the outside. This is so relevant for today! I also liked that Ruth Ann was free-spirited. She made her own decisions and was compassionate towards others in need.
Benjamin and Ruth Ann were so cute together! Their personalities fit perfectly together. Ruth Ann reminded Benjamin that there is still love in this world and Benjamin helped Ruth Ann realize that she is beautiful - both inside and out. What I also appreciated is that their relationship went through hurdles and it wasn't a smooth ride. And this is so true for today- relationships are not like the ones in fairy tales.
Overall, this story reminds us of God's forgiveness as well as his unconditional love for us. Something that we need to keep reminding ourselves of - despite today's social standards.
Would I Recommend?
Yes! I think this would be the perfect book to read during a fall weekend afternoon with some tea and cookies.
You can purchase the book ---> HERE
I hope you all enjoyed the review and had a wonderful weekend!
Note: I was provided a copy of this book by Kelly to review. All opinions are my own.