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Ride With Me: A Novel Kindle Edition
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Stranger in the House" by Shari Lapena
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A thriller packed full of secrets and a twisty story that never stops - from the bestselling author of "The Couple Next Door." See more
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Top customer reviews
The book divides into three parts. The first and longest part describes how Earl and Ruth met and their courtship up to the day when Earl is drafted and serves in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The second part more briefly portrays his time in the service, which includes his being injured in combat in Okinawa, and his discharge and arrival back in the states. The last part provides a brief synopsis of Earl and Ruth's life together as a married couple as well as the years Earl spent as a widower.
"Ride With Me" reads easily, and parts of it are compelling in their ability to portray the love Earl feels for his beloved Ruth. More than once I felt emotion as I suffered with Earl after the loss of his wife.
My main criticism of the book is that the author takes far too long describing the early days of the courtship between Earl and Ruth. Much of this is repetitive and does little to really advance the narrative. (The reader really doesn't need to know about every horseback ride, every canoe trip, and every dinner with family Earl and Ruth shared.) What could have been done briefly takes up 84 of the 203 pages of the book, roughly 40 percent. My major concern here is that a reader may well lose interest prior to getting to the latter part of the book, which reveals an inspiring and touching story.
In chapter one, the reader learns about Earl who is now elderly and lives in a small town in northern Wisconsin, where he grew up, met the love of his life and where they raised their children. What captures the reader's attention and holds it is so strongly are the memories Earl relives about his wife, how she would have reacted to the dog jumping up on their bed or how she would have reacted to Earl's having spilled his coffee on a page of a letter she had written to him. Ruth had left Earl an old shoe box, filled with letters and her diary, where she recorded heart-felt moments of importance in her life with him which saved for him to read after she passed away. In other chapters, alternating the memories of Earl and Ruth, the reader travels through their lives, reminiscing about their first meeting, their feelings toward one another during awkward moments, the questions, doubts, and impact of each encounter and date as they learned about their personal values and desires, their eye contact, the serious choices and decisions they made as they fell in love and how separation and change affected them during the eruption and conclusion of World War I.
The author has a rare gift for accurately conveying both emotions and physical details surrounding important events and the impact of life events, whether positive or negative. The author realistically describes the pleasures, joys, sorrows, and challenges which two people who are in love faced as they built a life together based on religious values and solid principles. The reviewer received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. The author succeeded in writing a unique book which takes the reader back in time to an era which seemed simpler, more gentle and kinder, although it was fraught with danger and uncontrollable events which produced life-altering changes on both of them. This book is most highly recommended. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
The author uses a variety of memory-joggers – his own journal and letters, Ruth’s letters, and third-person narrative. That provides much introspection and layers, but sometimes it is also hard to follow chronologically.
The style of writing is reminiscent of the writers of the late 1800s and early 1900s, such as Jane Austen, George MacDonald and Charles Dickens, a style that is rich but not direct or tight. There is no tension or conflict till almost halfway with the advent of World War II. Too many details and events are covered that don’t advance the story much.
What kept me reading was the depth of Earl’s simple spirituality, his love of his dog and horse companions, and his simple approach to life. In today’s world most readers like plenty of conflict. This novel doesn’t have much of that, and in that it is a bit of a relief. A less-abled writer might have failed in crafting such a novel that would hold most readers. Here and there were “precious lines” such as “Come, yesterday, come, for a time.” I was deeply touched by those.
Just by reading the "Look Inside" free sample, you will likely know if this author's style is for you. If it is, I think you will enjoy it very much.