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Kate Lloyd
Reinventing Ruthie
Kate Lloyd, author

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

When Ruth Ann Templeton’s husband, Drew, leaves her for another woman Ruthie is devastated. She seeks solace at their beach cabin in Puget Sound where she meets Victor, a neurologist who has marital problems of his own. Their relationship blossoms just as Ruthie’s husband moves home asking for forgiveness. But can Ruthie trust and forgive him or any man?
Lloyd (author of the Legacy of Lancaster series) plumbs aching questions about forgiveness in a family drama that centers on love and infidelity. Ruth Ann Templeton awakes from an accident with a failing marriage to face, a rebellious daughter to tame, and a mentally deteriorating father needing her care. The concern for her well-being expressed by Ruthie's “soon-to-be ex-husband” Drew seems questionable, at best, so his decision to move back home to attend to his daughters and just-about-divorced wife seems likely to do more harm than good. Ruthie's emotions have never been more distressed, and she fears, in the upheaval, she might lose her younger daughter's favor forever.

While the novel is ultimately uplifting, Ruthie's internal rage against her cheating husband powers the story, as she strives to be understood. She fears, understandably, that freely expressing her grief and anguish might take its toll on her relationship with her children, who might judge her as the root of all destruction—especially as the kids would prefer she somehow hold the marriage together. The storytelling is somewhat slow at first, establishing the challenges Ruthie faces, but picks up agreeably when, on an escape, Ruthie makes the acquaintance of Dr. Victor Huff, ruggedly handsome and not wearing a ring.

Lloyd thoughtfully explores Ruthie’s inclination to seek solace outside her home, her gradual recovery from her lowest moments of hurt and anger, and her considerations of the repercussions of a divorce that she may eventually regret. These hard choices prove gripping, and the diverse set of characters are both appealing and sometimes frustrating, as Ruthie feels relatable annoyance at their behaviors and expectations. The tale’s told with welcome empathy, and Ruthie's ultimate answer to how much a spouse can forgive leads her to the discovery of what might be a better road to a more dignified life. Readers of uplifting domestic fiction will be moved.

Takeaway: The touching story of a woman facing divorce and questions of forgiveness.

Comparable Titles: Caroline Roberts’s The Torn Up Marriage, Catherine Anderson’s Always in My Heart.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A