Independence meant everything to Ruby Handley Freeman. Living on her own in Biding, Kentucky, and driving herself to the store and her hair appointments were things she knew she was capable of doing despite her eighty some years. Baking cakes for folks, listening to gospel music, and good preachers made her heart happy despite the death of her husband a few years ago. She especially loved to listen to one preacher named Franklin Brown, but his recent message about forgiveness had caused her mind to start replaying some things from her childhood in Beulah Mountain, West Virginia, things she had never told a soul.
When her son and daughter decided she needed to stop driving and take her keys, Ruby resolved she needed to take a stand for her independence. Maybe it was also time to face up to some things she had tried to ignore for most of her life. She wasn’t sure she could do it, but she knew she ought to try. It would mean driving back to Beulah Mountain if she could manage it on her own.
Beulah Mountain was so full of memories. Her best ones included her closest friend, Bean, but Bean was all tangled up in her worst memories as well. It was an unlikely friendship between two little girls from the opposite side of the tracks. Ruby had learned so much from Bean. She didn’t think it was fair that Bean’s family had so little. Miners in the coal-mining town of Beulah Mountain could barely eek out a living.
When Ruby talked with Bean about how unfair her situation was, Bean responded with wisdom beyond her years:
“Some things in life are good and some are bad and they all get thrown into the stew and you try to eat around the gristle. God doesn’t give us the option of a Sunday potluck where you pick what you want and leave the rest. He gives the whole kit and caboodle and we have to deal with what we get.”
Now that was what Ruby was trying to do…deal with what she got.
Chris Fabry’s latest book, Under A Cloudless Sky, will capture your heart and imagination from the very beginning of the story as you get to know Ruby as she is in 2004 in Biding, Kentucky, and looks back on those days in Beulah Mountain, West Virginia, in 1933 when her world got turned upside down.
Ruby’s decision to set off for Beulah Mountain on her own will bring the reader more than one or two surprises, but the intrigue and twists and turns in the story will not stop until the very last page. Ruby’s return to Beulah Mountain to sort out what’s been tugging on her for her whole life will also mean she discovers a part of her story she didn’t know existed.
This is a story you won’t want to miss. Chris Fabry’s writing will bring the reader right into the story as Ruby makes her cakes, faces her children, and takes off in her old Town Car for the trip to Beulah Mountain.
To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.