Monday, June 22, 2009

Ruby's Slippers; Leanna Ellis

Ruby’s Slippers by Leanna Ellis is a contemporary Christian women’s fiction novel set primarily in California. This is the second title I’ve read by Ms. Ellis, which was sent to me for review by B&H Publishing. While acknowledging that two titles is hardly a large enough soap box from which to preach, it seems to me that Ms. Ellis writes of women who are at a major turning point in their lives. A time when the confluence of events and people impel a woman to assess who she is and where she is going.

Ruby’s Slipper’s is such a novel. As both the title and the cover imply the novel follows a similar path, both literally and symbolically, as the characters in the Wizard of Oz: fellow travelers have a mission to accomplish, their path is replete with peril and misinformation, the exact destination & outcome are unknown. I have to say that while I enjoy the movie significantly more now than I did when I was a child, it is not something with which I’ve more than a glancing familiarity. I very much enjoyed figuring out which book character matched up with which movie character.

The plot is deceptively simple. Two sisters, whose mother has been deceased only a year, own a small family farm in rural Kansas. Their father disappeared when the girls were barely out of toddlerhood. The younger sister, Abby, is an actress in California, the older, Dorothy, a teacher who cared for their mother in her waning years. The farm has been a bone of contention between them ever since she died. Until the day a major tornado hits the tiny town and flattens the Meyers homestead, inflicting a head injury on the oldest daughter. Abby brings Dottie to California to recover. After that everything changes.

Ms. Ellis’ plot doesn’t go quite where this reader rather thought it would. It was fabulous! I became quite fascinated with unraveling the various threads in my mind and then reweaving them once I realized that I was quite wrong after all. LOL  As for theme, you’ve your pick of several. One, that there are two sides to every story and it’s best to try and learn what they both are. Two, fear and anger are often bedfellows and frequently feed each other. Three, the dawn must come eventually no matter how dark and menacing the night may be. And four, it’s always possible to begin anew.

A wonderfully fun insightful read. Excellent for the summer.

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