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review 2015-01-30 07:28
Great drama
White Horizon - Jan Ruth

“White Horizon” by Jan Ruth is a gripping relationship drama set in the beautiful Welsh Mountains of Snowdonia. Three couples face their own respective issues as one couple marries only to fall out soon after.
Each character is drawn deeply and with secrets, affairs and some terrible issues to deal with, the book has a lot going on within the space of just one year. Ruth deals with all issues sensitively and shows the turmoil her characters are going through well.
I loved the title, which implies hope and faith in a better tomorrow. Love and friendship are strong despite the adversities. The descriptions are beautiful, the characters feel real and you’ll enjoy spending a full year’s circle with them. If you like a deep and honest drama this is for you.

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review 2015-01-02 15:51
White Horizon
White Horizon - Jan Ruth,John Hudspith,J.D.Smith Design

Author: Jan Ruth

Published: November 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Category: Contemporary Fiction

 

A dramatic story of forgiveness, family and friendship; set in the Welsh Mountains of Snowdonia.

My thanks to Jan Ruth for sending me a copy

 

Daniel and Tina decide to cement their on-off relationship of twenty-five years with a marriage ceremony in the town they grew up in, near Snowdonia in North Wales. They start their married life living in the hotel Daniel is renovating but things between the newly weds begin to crumble after just a few months. Tina is keeping an overwhelming secret and doing her best to deal with it in the only way she feels she can. By pushing Daniel away, partly to prove she can cope on her own because she never has had to. Daniel has always been there for her. 

 

Their old school friends, who haven’t seen each other for years, Victoria and Linda and their respective husbands, Max and Mike, are drawn into the resulting fall out which will affect not only those involved but their families as well.

 

Linda and Victoria are experiencing their own marital problems and all three couples find themselves in difficult circumstances and with friendships at breaking point. Their lives can never again be the same and each of them will face a future they couldn’t have imagined. The terrible culmination of Victoria and Max’s relationship breakdown is horrifying and dramatic, resulting in destruction and death which devastates everyone in the community.

Outwardly, everything in Victoria’s life was pretty good, but her comfortable life was flawed, so flawed. She stole a quick sideways look at Linda and felt nostalgic for something she’d lost along the way, something honest and ordinary. And it made no sense that Linda actually only lived a couple of miles away, and yet only a wave across the supermarket car park had passed between them for years, separated by their social strata. Did that make her a snob like her mother? Is that how people saw her?

The dynamics between the couples and their interwoven stories are written so well it’s impossible not to have a vivid picture of them, and be drawn in as they are ever more deeply involved in the developing story. Jan Ruth just seems to be able to get right inside the characters and make them totally real and believable, with well-developed and credible personalities. Their problems and emotions are handled sensitively and with honesty during the major life changes that affect them all. Serious issues, including spousal abuse and debilitating illness, are dealt with tactfully. 

 

A really good mix of characters, Daniel stood out for me and Victoria, who was the most damaged by her awful experiences. Great writing and precise attention to details – such an enjoyable read. The scenic descriptions are beautiful and bring the area to life adding an extra element to the story. Mainly, though, this is about how the strength of love and forgiveness, having friends and family win out in the end.  

 
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review 2015-01-02 15:22
Home For Christmas
Home for Christmas - Jan Ruth,John Hudspith,JD Smith Design

Author: Jan Ruth

Format: Kindle Edition

Published: October 2014 by Celtic Connections

Category: Contemporary

 

An emotive trio of stories with festive themes from the Welsh Mountains of Snowdonia.

A collection of three ‘long short stories’ from Jan Ruth are the perfect seasonal read. 

 

Rudolph the Brown Nosed Reindeer

 

Rick’s Christmas gets off to a dismal start. His live in girlfriend leaves for a job in Florida and Rick has to make the trip to a remote cottage in Wales for a corporate Christmas event. Rick meets his personal assistant in the flesh for the first time. Will Pauline be the answer to his lonely festive season?

How would he survive this? Two nights trapped with work colleagues he mostly despised or did his utmost to avoid……a depressing blend of training and team building; they’d even managed to slip in the yearly personal development interview on the afternoon they arrived.

Jim’s Christmas Carol

 

Jim wants to call a halt to his extra marital affair but the lady in question is having none of it. The story is told from multiple perspectives and the Christmas gathering at Jim’s house is not at all what he expected or wanted which undoubtedly gives him a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons. An original and humorous tale told with satire and a dash of the paranormal.

“What’s happening then, on Christmas Day,” she said. “Will I get to see you?”

“Oh, you know, the usual. The High Priestess will knock herself out making a Christmas to remember. I’ll be sucked in, hanging sparkly balls and laying the fire, decanting the port.”

Home For Christmas

 

Pip is home for the holidays after another failed romance and what could be worse than being home alone. Her parents are in Spain for the winter but the villagers are curiosity personified. Lies fall from her lips almost of their own accord and take on a life of their own. A fun and entertaining romance.

“Hello, Daffyd. Er, yes, house sitting.”

“Boyfriend on his way?”

“He’s had to attend a very important business meeting conference. Overseas. Urgently, at the last minute,” she added, hoping Father Christmas wasn’t listening.

Three delightfully entertaining and completely different takes on Christmas, with an underlying flavour of romance, and definitely not your average festive stories. For all they’re effectively short stories, there is a really good storyline in each one and the writing is so concisely descriptive it’s easy to visualise the scenarios. I love how the stories play out and the fact they’re set against the wonderful backdrop of Snowdonia. 

 
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review 2014-02-27 17:32
Is love ever simple? Another winner from Jan Ruth
Silver Rain - Jan Ruth,John Hudspith,J.D. Smith Designs

Jan Ruth does it again. Complicated doesn't quite sum it up. The characters become your extended family - their turbulent relationships become your business. Sometimes you want to shake them, tell them to grow up and stop acting like idiots, but you can't help but warm to them.

This story is an endearing tale of two people daring to hope for love again. Will it be easy? Nah, of course not. Especially since lovable, immature, rogue Al is involved. Despite the fact that he clearly has his flaws, and is a deeply troubled soul, you can't help but root for him. Kate is a wonderfully real woman. I love the fact that she is SO real as well, and didn't just step out of a woman's glossy.

I really enjoyed this book. The twists and turns pile up. Life's issues snake around the major characters like a boa constrictor. Choking away and squeezing at their murky secrets until they explode in everyone's faces. By this point of course you are frantically turning the pages, desperate to know how it all pans out.

Lovely scenery and settings, as always. Like so many others have said, even the animals become solid characters in their own right. You are there with them all, up to the knees in mud and manure. Lugging horse tack and feed around with them while listening to their tales unfold.

Needless to say I highly recommend this book. It's brilliantly paced, with gritty, believable dialogue and interactions against a beautiful backdrop. Read it, you won't regret it.

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review 2014-02-27 17:29
A breathtaking slice of real life
Midnight Sky - Jan Ruth,John Hudspith,J.D. Smith Designs

Finished this book and WOW! Jan Ruth is a master of portraying the magic in the humdrum of the real world. When I say the real world I mean the stunning, rural landscape of Wales and the very real, complicated characters that inhabit it. She takes you there - an eavesdropper at their private conversations, sharing in their trials and their joys.

 

A truly lovely book, beautifully written and packaged up in a stunning cover (I have the paperback). The characters stay with you; you root for them, you feel anger at them, you laugh with them - so expect to gain a set of friends through this book, and they will stay with you long after you turn the final page! Jan Ruth keeps you hooked until the very end, itching to find out what happens to Laura and the ruggedly handsome James. Can't recommend highly enough, I'm off to read Wild Water next.

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