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336 pages
May 2008
WaterBrook Press

Ruby Among Us (La Rosaleda Series #1)

by Tina Ann Forkner

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In her novel Ruby Among Us, Tina Ann Forkner tells of a young girl traumatized by the death of her mother. As a coping mechanism, Lucy surrounds herself with books, music, and art, while living under the extremely strict and watchful eye of her grandmother. As Lucy gets older, she realizes there are more secrets in her tight knit family than others would like her to discover. She begins a journey of self-discovery and a quest for family history. The biblical theme of “You have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23) plays a significant role in this book as the lives of three generations of women are examined.

Unfortunately, the book jumps to the past and then to the present too often, sometimes without any forewarning or natural transitions. I found myself more than once becoming confused because I thought we were in the present when the author had already moved the story to the grandmother’s past. We find in this story that the grandmother has done something particularly terrible, and it prevents her from going back to her hometown.

Part of the reason we’re jumping back and forth is that we’re getting insight into what the grandmother did that was so terrible that it drove her away from her parents and husband for the rest of her life. I felt frustrated with this book because it tried to meld and incorporate too many plots, subplots, and character histories at once. Not only are we trying to figure out what the grandmother has done, we’re also trying to stay current on a developing love interest for Lucy, while we’re also following yet another story about how a friend of Lucy’s has adopted a child from an underage mother. It is like trying to squeeze an entire series into one novel. It makes your head spin. Nevertheless, Lucy is an admirable character who tries to live well, be forgiving, and love honestly. To that end the book has merit and may provide reading enjoyment for a select audience. -- Bethany Trosper,

Book Jacket:

Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art–but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty, can shield her thoughts from the mother she can barely recall. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide the past as Lucy is eager to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search of a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

What she finds is as enigmatic and stirring as it is startling in this redemptive tale about the power of faith and mother-daughter love.