Description

From the lush Owen Stanley Ranges of Papua New Guinea to working-class inner Sydney... Ruth is a story about the daughter of John and Alice Madison, coffee plantation owners. Set in the fifties and sixties, Ruth must find a way to survive alone, having gone against the wishes of her father. Determined not to end up on the streets, she learns to live by her wits - until circumstances take a turn for the worse. To provide a better life for her son, Stewart, she takes up work in a distant town. There, she meets Lachlan McGrath, the owner of Bryliambone station. Life on the land is good to Ruth until fate turns her world upside down. Faced with losing everything, she sets to rebuilding her husband's debt-ridden business into a thriving cotton farm. Just as her life is coming together, news arrives of her father’s suspicious death. She returns to the islands to sort of his affairs only to discover the shocking secrets that had fractured her family many years before. Marlene is inspired by many authors, including Patricia Shaw, Maeve Binchy and Guy de Maupassant. Ruth has elements of Lloyd Jones' Mr Pip, Ruth Park's The Harp in the South and Patricia Shaw's The Feather and the Stone. The novel will appeal to readers interested in family relationships, cultural history, and exotic locations.


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The Story Behind This Book
"Although I was aware of Papua New Guinea being a protectorate of Australia, I had no idea of the paternalistic nature of the relationship. Research into the former colony revealed the disturbing fact that many of the ugly practices of apartheid had been replicated in this territory - right down to segregation and indentured servitude," explains Marlene, behind her motivation to write the book.

Media Mentions

Praise and Reviews

"Ruth is a book I highly recommend to book clubs who are looking for spirited discussion of the social dynamics that affect us all... The author has mastered the craft of creating characters with the particular idiosyncrasies that make them believable individuals, each and every one. She makes us know them, care about them, hear and respond to what they have to say."

Sandra Shwayder Sanchez, Bookpleasures.com

"Marlene S. Lewis's Ruth is in the tradition of women's novels featuring plucky heroines who triumph over adversity, but it is much more than that. Set in the 1950s and '60s in Papua and Australia, Ruth is about the negative effects of racism upon both native peoples and those of European descent...English born Lewis shows love and concern for her adopted land in this her first novel."  
 Ruth Latta, Compulsivereader.com 

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Marlene S Lewis
Born in the 1950s in east Kent, England, Marlene emigrated to Australia in the 1960s. Apart from spending many years living in and around Sydney she has also lived in rural New Sou More...