Forty Days with Ruth

Carol Welty Roper

Publisher: Trafford Pages: 139 Price: (paperback) $13.99 ISBN: 9781490789576 Reviewed: November, 2018 Author Website: Visit »

Author Carol Welty Roper celebrates her pride in her Scottish and Oklahoma heritage with this novel based on the life of her grandmother, Ruth Stewart Welty.

Ruth is short in stature but long on spunkiness. Born in Texas to Scottish immigrant parents, she eloped with Riley Welty, whom she’d known only briefly. Now living with him on their plot of land in Oklahoma Territory in the late 1800s, she must fend for herself while he goes off to hunt, not knowing that she’ll be alone in the wilderness for 40 long days with only her Christian faith to cling to.

Roper captures Ruth’s loneliness well, in odd behaviors such as talking to herself and befriending a lizard. Ruth is also relatable in that she can’t help but recall how she has long felt she was a disappointment to her family.

A little less relatable is how coincidences turn out just right for Ruth: for example, a fresh pheasant is left by a hawk that she happens upon and scares off, and a letter arrives from her parents, who don’t know where she is living. The writing is very simple, sometimes passive (“Prayers were sent up”), with similarly constructed sentences, such as these from one page: “Ruth looked around…,” “She stuck her big toe…,” “She searched…”

Readers will appreciate, however, the author’s painstaking research, from details about a Scottish wedding to medicinal uses for plants. The book’s first pages are set up as “character analysis,” offering a thorough background on every character, major and minor. The last 66 pages contain authentic Scottish recipes from the author’s family.

Ruth’s story is short, but Christian readers will appreciate how she channels her thoughts from self-pity to an eventual stronger faith in God as the story progresses. Fans of Christian pioneer fiction will enjoy this book.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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