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Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they’re committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. While Charlie retired early, Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice.
Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her from the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith’s song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.
When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees—and hears—everything.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She’s the award-winning author of 16 books and a frequent speaker for women’s ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin. Visit her online at CynthiaRuchti.com.
Read an Excerpt
Song of Silence
By Cynthia Ruchti
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2016 Cynthia Ruchti
All rights reserved.
Lucy removed her glasses and watched Ellie's thin, thirteen-year-old fingers splay against the girl's too-flat stomach.
"Try it," Lucy said.
"I don't have much breath."
"I know." The confession drilled so much deeper than it would have coming from any of Lucy's other students. "Please try."
She watched as Ellie struggled to fill her scarred lungs from the bottom without moving her upper chest or shoulders. The girl's hand moved an inch.
"Now, inhale and exhale without letting your hand move at all."
Lucy tilted her head, eyebrows raised, wordlessly urging a response from Ellie.
Ellie smiled. "Time to be brave? Braver than I feel?"
"Right." Lucy traced the girl's line of sight to one of the dozens of motivational posters on the wall. Be Brave. Braver than you feel. Next to it, Right or wrong, blow it strong. Beside that one, Practice doesn't make perfect. It makes possible. Lucy's favorite, Just so you know, dogs don't eat music homework.
"Deep breath from the bottom of your lungs. Push your abdomen out to allow air in. Hold it. Now two small breaths in and out without moving your hand. There! You did it!"
Ellie pressed her lips together but couldn't stop the smile that overrode her efforts. "I didn't think I could."
"Now, let's try that technique for these four measures." Lucy pointed to the sheet on the music stand. "Keep that expansion in your tummy, even though you'll have to breathe. See if it doesn't help you maintain that beautiful tone you've been working on."
The girl raised the silver flute to her pursed lips, a mix of eagerness and skepticism on her face. She exaggerated the movement of her abdomen, her striped shirt proving her obedience, and played the specified measures. Ellie's eyes flashed her reaction before she lowered her flute. "That," she said, "was awesome!"
Tears tickled Lucy's sinuses. "Yes, it was."
"Does that work with singing, too? Could I join choir next year? Is there room for me?"
Laughter poured out of Lucy's mouth, but it originated in her heart. "Four brilliant measures and you're ready to tackle singing, too?" As quickly as the laughter erupted, it died. Her choir? Next year?
"My doctor says he owes you." Ellie's flute lay in her lap, the thin fingers cradling it. She stifled most of a cough. "He says he never would have thought of music as cystic fibrosis therapy."
I never thought my first chair flutist would muscle through CF to keep playing. "I'm glad it's helping."
"GDBD," she said, running her fingers over the instrument.
"Good days, bad days?"
Ellie looked up. "Do you text?" Incredulity.
Lucy took no offense. Even at a few months shy of fifty-six, she must have seemed ancient to a thirteen-year-old. Despite her sassy haircut. And artsy earrings, thanks to Ania's jewelry-making skills. "Is today a good day, Ellie?"
The girl lifted her flute then pointed to the line of notes on the page, as a pool player might point to the pocket where she intended the eight ball to land. "Mrs. Tuttle, any day I'm breathing is considered a good day." She inhaled without moving her shoulders and played the measures as if running a victory lap. Which she would likely never do. Run.
Lucy was three hours away from another school board budget-cut meeting. Could she keep breathing? The discussion had crept too close to destroying scenes like this one with Ellie. Only Lucy's dogged sense of propriety had kept her from storming the school board's line of tables and chairs last time. If it crept much closer ...
Lucy turned her attention back to her admiration for a thirteen-year-old's breathless ability to muscle through.
* * *
When Ellie's smile left the room, Lucy retreated to her cramped office at the end of the line of three small practice rooms. She stared at the screen of her laptop, open to her calendar. The school day was over, but her list of duties hadn't shrunk. Spring concert next week. She needed to sneak in another announcement for the Woodbridge radio station and create another mass text message for the parents and grandparents who paid more attention to texts than they did the school's weekly newsletter.
Charlie said he'd eat at Bernie's tonight. She could work straight through until the budget-cut meeting if she wanted. He'd meet her there. Why couldn't he be the one to speak up in a public forum? Why did he slip into it'll-all-work-out mode when her life stood in the crosshairs? So much for knight on a white horse. But he would be there. She didn't have to wonder if he'd show up.
She needed a new office chair. One that didn't groan when she moved. Or was that sound coming from her soul?
Two hours later she pushed away from her desk and closed the lid of her laptop. She shouldn't head into the meeting with an empty stomach. But it might be emptied by the outcome of the gathering, barring divine intervention. So she had no clear choice.
Divine intervention. Nothing short would move a woman like Evelyn Schindler, who approached budget cuts with the ruthlessness of a self-guided chain saw.
* * *
"It's difficult to take your perspective seriously," Evelyn "Chain Saw" Schindler said, leaning too far into her microphone. She jerked back, as if she'd chipped a tooth in her enthusiasm to make her point. Straightening her posture to a stiffness well past at ease, she added, "You're the music instructor, Mrs. Tuttle. Is there any doubt where you'd stand on the issue? Those overly passionate add a skewed perspective to the subject at hand. I think we can all agree on that."
The woman nodded to the board members on her left and right, some of whom nodded back. Others dropped their gaze. And their opportunity to disagree. Lucy's friends, some of them. People she'd known since her father held the position she clung to now with a free-climber's fingertips-only grip.
Nothing but air at her back. Hundreds of feet above the sun-baked canyon floor. Toes pretending the quarter-inch crack in the rock is enough. Fingertips stretching skyward, muscles straining to hold out for a dependable ledge.
"Mrs. Tuttle." The board president's voice sounded like one reserved for the detention room.
"You can lower your hand. We've heard your opinion. There are others waiting to have their say."
Lower her —? That's what she needed. Another reason to be embarrassed. She slipped her hand down and bent to retrieve her bottled water from the floor. It bought her enough time to refocus.
Charlie patted her knee. Could have been his "Steady, girl," or "There, there now," or "Way to go, honey." Probably one of the first two options.
The next speaker's rabbit trail wandered so far afield, Lucy feared his point had already crossed into the next county without him. Hope followed — a string of community members, many of them parents of her students — voicing logical, well-expressed reasons to look someplace other than art and music for the necessary cuts.
For a small town like Willowcrest to maintain a private school without federal funding for more than four decades, they'd danced to the edge of tough decisions more than once. The seriously sports-minded usually transferred to a Woodbridge school. But thanks in large part to Lucy's father's influence, the music program kept students in Willowcrest.
That point worked its way into the next speaker's impassioned plea. Ellie's mom. And the next. A parent from a student long graduated.
Lucy watched as the panel of school board members scribbled notes — or graffiti — onto memo pads. Evelyn Schindler's shoulders sagged. Could the tide be turning?
The next community member given the floor presented an anti-music-education argument so flawed, it drew snickers from the crowd. He grabbed his frayed baseball cap from his folding chair, pointed toward the board and said, "You know we got no choice." His exit brought Lucy relief she assumed was shared by others, judging from the expressions on the faces of more than half of the attendees.
Who was that leaning against the wall near the exit? A reporter? Mid-twenties, she guessed. Not someone she'd seen around the community, that she could remember. From where Lucy sat, she could pay attention to the proceedings and keep an eye on the intense young man, too, if she turned a few degrees in her chair. Charlie took that gesture as a reason to put his arm around his wife.
"When did Olivia get here?" she whispered into the better of Charlie's ears.
"She's here?" He swiveled his head toward the standing room only spot not far from the reporter. He waved like a second grader might wave to his parents in the audience.
Evelyn Schindler made her microphone squeal. "If we could have everyone's attention? Time limits being as they are, we're going to need to wrap this up for tonight. The board will agree with me, I'm sure —"
Don't they always?
"— that we've been given more than enough food for thought in this matter. As always, we remain open to your comments via e-mail or personal contact. Let's call it a night, shall we, folks?"
Well. No pronouncement of doom. Had Lucy's music program dodged another wrecking ball for the moment? She glanced back toward Olivia, who stood talking with the reporter guy. What did her daughter have to say to him? What was he asking? Lip-reading would come in handy at a time like this.
Part of Lucy's brain allowed her to converse with community members voicing their ongoing support while she watched Olivia and the note taker leave. Together.
* * *
Lucy texted Olivia on the short drive home. "Cute guy. Someone special?"
Olivia texted back, "Could be. We'll see."
"You coming over?"
"Heading back to Woodbridge now. See you soon. Praying for you, Mom."
Lucy had to admit texting came in handy once in a while. It kept her better connected with her kids.
"Nice of Olivia to show up," Charlie said, adjusting his rear view mirror.
"I haven't talked to her for a couple of days. Thought maybe she'd spend the night."
Lucy unlooped the lightweight infinity scarf around her neck and tucked it into her purse. "Heading back."
"I should have asked her to go out for frozen custard with us."
"Should have asked them. She was with someone."
Charlie's eyebrows registered his surprise.
"You're not suggesting you want to stop for custard, are you?"
"You don't want to?" His voice wavered as if she'd told him he couldn't have a puppy.
"Could we just go home?"
"These meetings take a lot out of you, don't they, LucyMyLight?"
If you'd ever had a passion, Charlie, a job you were invested in, a career or interest that meant as much to you as mine does to me, you'd get it. You'd understand why nights like this are reason enough for a heart attack. "I'm tired. And I still have work to do on next week's concert schedule."
"Can we go through the drive-thru? I had my heart set on —"
"Sure." One day, she'd stop saying sure when she meant no.
* * *
It was probably too much to expect the school board members to attend the students' spring concert. Boycotted it, apparently. Lucy didn't mind that Evelyn Schindler stayed away last night. She rarely showed. But some of the missing board members were parents or grandparents of students in Lucy's band and chorus. Last concert of the year. They couldn't all be under the weather.
Community support made up for their absence. Who does a standing ovation for a K-8 concert? Too bad the members of the school board hadn't seen it.
It wouldn't be wrong if Lucy sent a copy of the video to each of their inboxes, would it? It would be informational, inclusive, and thoughtful of her.
With the new school day an hour away from starting, she let herself into the still quiet music room, settled into her office, opened her laptop and calendar, and made a note to send the file when the tech team had it ready. The afterglow of the concert lingered. She'd heard every note in her mind through the night, seen the faces of the young people lit from within as the music took hold in their souls. And that — budget-fussy people — is why you can never cut this program.
Her computer dinged. E-mail. From Ania.
Before she opened it, she keyed in another note to herself to have the music students write a group thank-you to the art students whose work lined the lobby for last night's concert. Ania might be young, but she'd made great strides with her students her first year of teaching.
Lucy clicked the e-mail.
"Did you open your mail yet?"
The letters and catalogs sat on the edge of her desk. With so much accomplished electronically, her stack of mail rarely amounted to much anymore. She thumbed through it. One envelope wasn't postmarked. Hand-addressed. A thank-you from one of the faculty members?
It had been sealed in one spot only — at the point of the V of the back flap. Who hadn't wanted to waste saliva?
Lucy read the first five words before the sound of a distant chain saw stopped her.
* * *
The two-mile drive from the Willowcrest School to her house on Cottonwood had never felt like a commute until today. Innocent clouds seemed sinister. Her body registered every groove or divot in the pavement despite the layers of automotive steel, plastic, and upholstery separating her from them. She was fourth to arrive at all three of the four-way stops. Hollowness expanded like out-of-control yeast dough the farther she drew from the school.
May usually represents hope reborn in the Upper Midwest. Winter laid to rest. Spring-almost-summer putting down taproots. Vivid colors. Lilied and peonied air. Leaves so fresh, they look damp. A vibration of exuberant life that thrums like a baby robin's heartbeat.
Despite the only partly cloudy sky, Lucy saw dull colors, faded, fogged over. She heard only muted tones. The smell of her car's citrus air freshener choked her. While stopped at another stop sign, she ripped the freshener from its resting place and jammed it into the litterbag.
Was it just her, or did the street sign on Cottonwood look tilted? Not much. Just enough to notice. And the mailbox leaned the opposite way. Dr. Seussian.
She turned off the engine and stared at the front door of her house. What made her think she could pull off a turquoise door on a moss green house? Ania's idea. Ania didn't know everything. But who was Lucy to talk?
In a motion so automatic she didn't have to think about it — which was good on a day like today — Lucy pocketed her keys, slid her purse and tote bag from the passenger seat, and exited the car in one nearly smooth motion. The glaringly bright turquoise door swung open as she reached for the knob.
"I found my passion!" Charlie's graying eyebrows danced. Nothing else moved. A statue of a man with jive eyebrows.
"Happy for you. Is it okay if I get all the way into the house before you tell me the rest of your story?" Lucy nudged her husband with her shoulder as she scooted past his Ed Asner form. How much could a doorframe swell in mid-May's premature humidity? Were the walls swollen too? The whole house felt smaller. Shrunken.
Charlie stayed on her heels as she deposited her 2014 Milner County Teacher of the Year tote bag and leather hobo purse on the repurposed vanity/hall table. "Charlie. Some space?"
"Don't you want to know what it is?" Charlie's head tilt reminded Lucy of a terrier pup they'd seen in the neighborhood. Cute, on a puppy. Mildly cute on the sometimes-annoying love of her life.
"Can I have a minute to acclimate?" She cupped his jaw and kissed the tip of his decades-familiar nose. "Not my best day, Charlie."
"Mine," he said, pulling her close, "got decidedly better when you walked through the door."
"You read that line in a book, didn't you." Her heart warmed a degree or two in spite of the icy talons holding it in their grip.
He pulled back. "Am I that transparent?"
"Like a sixth-grader's homework excuse."
"I never claimed to be a romantic."
She tugged at the silver curling in front of his ears. "Time for a haircut, young man."
"My barber had a bad day, I hear. Not sure I trust her with scissors." Charlie pressed his palms to the sides of his head. "I can't afford a distracted stylist. Or shorter ears." His grin would have seemed impish on an ordinary day.
"You could spring for a professional barber once in a while, you know. We can" — could, she silently corrected — "afford it." She turned to the stack of mail on the table. Not yet. She wasn't ready to say the words. "And they're shears. We semiprofessionals don't call them scissors. They're shears."
"You bought them at Walmart."
The fencing foil — lodged in her throat since eight hours earlier — slipped farther down. To the hilt.
She'd have to tell him.
So ... after all these years, he'd found his life's passion. On the day she lost hers.
* * *
She'd only managed to kick off one shoe before he spewed his news. Hers would have to wait. "You have worms?"
"Not yet. But I will."
"You need to stay away from the pet rescue center for a while." Charlie, Charlie, Charlie. "And keep hand sanitizer in your truck." Second shoe. Coffee. Need coffee.
He bent to line her abandoned leather mules in a row with the other shoes on the mat beside the entry table. Who knew retirement would turn him into a neat freak? So not his style.
"Worm farm, LucyMyLight."
The nickname he'd started using when they dated in college had never seemed aggravating before. But it felt as uncomfortable as a fiberglass sweater today. She blamed it on the barbed letter.
He took her hand as he had so often over the years and tugged her toward the kitchen. She slumped into the chair he pulled out for her, then forced her posture into a neutral, unreadable position. The man was pouring her a cup of coffee, eyebrows still dancing, and launching into a personal infomercial about worm farms. Now was not the time to collapse.
Excerpted from Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti. Copyright © 2016 Cynthia Ruchti. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
With her exquisitely engaging style, each word in perfect pitch, Cynthia Ruchti creates a beautiful story of healing and humor and hope. A story for the riffed teacher, for the frustrated wife, for the mother of adult children. A story for everyone whose life failed to proceed according to plan. Vivid characters, wry wit, and gentle truth held me captive from the first page to the last. This is a book that will linger in my heart for a long time! (I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
Music taught Lucy love and beauty. Could silence teach her hope? Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they're committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. Charlie retired early, but Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice. Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her form the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith's song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes. When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees---and hears---everything. Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1RAajD2 About the author . . . Biography Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through award-winning novels, novellas, devotionals, nonfiction, and through speaking events for women and writers. She makes potato corn chowder for her husband of 43 years and loves on her three kids and five grandchildren. Cynthia recently retired from 33 years of writing and producing a daily radio broadcast called THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME, is past president of the 2,700-member American Christian Fiction Writers, and now serves as ACFW's Professional Relations Liaison, all while working on more book projects in addition to the fifteen already on the shelves. Her books have been honored with two Selah Awards, three Christian Retailing's BEST Awards, and awards from CAN Golden Scrolls and AWSA Golden Scrolls, as well as finalist and top honors in awards programs such as ACFW's Carol Awards, ForeWord Book Reviews Book of the Year, RT Reviews Book of the Year, Family Fiction's Book of the Year, Cascade Awards Book of the Year, and Inspirational Readers' Choice, among others. You can connect with her at www.cynthiaruchti.com, at www.facebook.com/cynthiaruchtireaderpage, at www.twitter.com/cynthiaruchti, or in the kitchen, brewing herself another cup of tea. And I thought . . . Half way through my heart was touched. I have to say the first half of this book was a struggle. Initially I thought Lucy was too much of a whiner. And Charlie poor guy I saw him as a total nut. Who wants to turn their home into a worm farm? Honestly I had to push myself to continue reading this book. Over halfway through I was interested. From that point the story became touching and interesting. The ending surprised me. I never did really understand Charlie's character. But I did begin to 'get' Lucy. And became interested in how the story would end. I definitely agree that the author did a great job of weaving Lucy's faith into the story line and for that I am grateful. I was a part of Lucy and all the other characters. I didn't feel it was 'added' to categorized as a Christian book. My feelings were that the first half was unnecessary. If the book had started on pg 153 I would have been totally into it. But it didn't and so. I have a dilemma. How to rate? Based on the fact that I really thought the first half was just silly. I would rate this book 3 1/2 stars. This book is available at Amazon, Christian Book (dot) Com and Barnes and Noble each site has a lot of reviews. You might check them out. This review is posted at the above retailers. I received a complimen
Cynthia Ruchti is a master of extracting emotions when it comes to her writing. How she can relate to each of her readers, well at least to me, just amazes me. Song of Silence, her latest release is beautiful to say the least. As the music of her life's passion abruptly and premeditatively taken from her, Lucy Tuttle must find peace without letting her faith fade as well. The message of hope and faith amidst trials and changes in life just resonated with me on a very personal level - as a wife and a fellow Christian. Cynthia's choice to write about and focus on a different maturity level of love gave readers a different take on life and expectations. A little of marriage advice as bonus, you can say. Lucy and Charlie, her husband are happily married with grown children, not typical romantic couples in their twenties to late thirties. I find it refreshing and all the more authentic. It's not about romance, even though it is, but something deeper in your soul. It's the heart. I can't express how Song of Silence hit me to my core, and so profoundly raised in me a song that is silent yet loud. As I was reading this, I couldn't help but remember times of body worship of praise songs that didn't required us to sing, but using a combination of sign language and dance to express our worship. And throughout Song of Silence, I couldn't stop the melody of this one song on a repeat mode in my head. I'm sure many of you have heard of or even sung "Heart of Worship" by Matt Redman in the past. There are renditions from many popular Christian artists. Song of Silence reminded me the meaning in the Heart of Worship, as well as a musical piece that brings to the forefront love in relationships, from marriage to friendship to parentage, and all this includes love in God. All the characters round out the notes perfectly, and as a romantic at heart, might I add, Charlie's wit, simplicity and support of Lucy reinforces his "good man" status. The multiple arcs that play on in this musical score makes it interesting, and as the composer, Cynthia Ruchti gave us a masterpiece. This review first appeared on Just Commonly blog. NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity Tours for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.
Song of Silence is Cynthia Ruchti’s most recent stand-alone novel, but isn’t the first book I have ever read by her. I really, really loved her Christmas novella, An Endless Christmas, so I had a feeling I would really enjoy this one. What I didn’t expect was that I would love this novel so completely. I laughed, I cried, and I fell completely in love with the Tuttles, and I’m already dying to read this book again. There are no words to describe how deeply this story touched my heart, and I applaud Cynthia heartily for this masterpiece of literature. I’m honestly not sure I could’ve loved this novel any more, but I’ll find out once I read it again sometime in the near future. There are so many elements to this story that make it as wonderful as it is. Lucy Tuttle is one of those elements all by herself. The way that she reacts when the school cuts her father’s music program is understandable, but no one really comprehends her pain, or why she can’t seem to get over it no matter what she tries. One of my favorite parts about the ending is exactly how her silence is broken. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I love that it isn’t any one thing that makes her “better” because that’s how life works. When we feel like we’re drowning and there’s no way out, ultimately it’s the Lord who saves us, but He uses a multitude of things, often in a row or even all at once, to bring us the healing that we need. There are so many other words that can describe all that I loved about this book without spoiling it for anyone. Sasha. Evan. ASL. Asperger’s. Accidents. Pain. Piano. Death. Children. I could go on and on, for the list is endless. There are so many levels of this story that touched my heart, and for so many reasons, and that just goes to show how talented Cynthia is and how hard she must have worked on this novel. It twists and turns, and everything ties together, and I’m just running out of words to describe how much I loved this novel. All in all—if you couldn’t already tell—I loved this novel and can’t imagine giving it anything other than all five bookshelves. Cynthia really hit it out of the park with this one, and I know it will be one of my favorite novels of all time for years and years to come. It has a place on my all-time favorites list, that’s for sure, and I know I will be lending my copy out to all of my reader friends. I highly recommend it, but I would also advise keeping a box of tissues close by when you read it, because I can’t imagine it not touching your heart at least half as much as it touched mine. I received a copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for only my honest review. (This review is from my blog, spreadinghisgrace.blogspot.com)
SONG OF SILENCE was a story that I connected with on so many levels. It was heartfelt, humorous, had lovable characters, had some down-to-earth realistic romance, a little heartbreak, and so many sweet moments of both discovery and beauty in the small things. If you've enjoyed Ruchti's other books or enjoy Christian Fiction, this is definitely a book to pick up! These characters. As I said, I could relate. Lucy is stuck. She's stuck because she felt her dream was just completely pulled away and she struggles to deal with it. She struggles to deal with a husband who is home all the time and wants to spend a lot of time with her when before she worked full-time plus more as a music teacher. Her husband, Charlie, is wonderful. He's caring and gentle, but definitely has a mind of his own. He's a guy and not the fairy-tale-made-up-ones, but a real one who is perfect for Lucy. I loved them both and so many of their tender moments as they transition to this new life of theirs and as Lucy learns so much. There is such a journey of the heart in this story. I also loved the other characters. Lucy's and Charlie's kids are wonderful, but have their own struggles. A grandson and his mother and their own struggles. Some of Lucy's former students play memorable roles as do some new friends and her therapist. There were so many nuggets of wisdom and some seriously good marriage and life tips. But they didn't feel forced. They related to music, to Lucy's family, and to Lucy's struggles. As I have a music background, a lot of the musical aspects of the story connected with me. The internal dialogue was also rather entertaining. A few times it was a little lengthy, but nothing that you could skim because you don't want to miss anything. The overall dialogue was great too. I especially loved the idea of the rests in the music and the rests in life. Just overall poignant. Then all the beautiful moments between son and parent, daughter and parent, grandson and grandfather and parent, friends, husband and wife... The gratitude that developed in Lucy's heart as she finds her song again. And the heartbreak. There were a few tear-streaked moments during this book. Definitely an emotional read. In the end, was it what I wished for? Yes. Ruchti has a way of conveying messages straight to the heart and there was so much that I related to and appreciated. Definitely worth picking up. Content: Clean Source: Received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity, which did not affect my review in any way.
I've read several books by Cynthia Ruchti and always connect right away with her Wisconsin/Great Lakes settings, but my connections to this story went way beyond the setting. I can count on one hand how many times I've found a really good book with a main character who is facing the issues common to the 55+ crowd. And Ruchti handles these problems in a story that is realistic, at times humorous, at times profound, and often just a step away from a nonstop cry. Lucy, 57, is the victim of RIF (reduction in force); in other words, her music program at a private school system has been eliminated. For Lucy, teaching was not a career; it was a passion that filled her life. Her husband, who has already taken early retirement, sees her job loss as an opportunity to begin again a life together. Lucy feels numb and almost unable to breathe. As the story progresses, Lucy begins to see her new life as the "rest stops" or silences in a piece of music. As she had always told her students those moments of silence are as critical to the whole song as the played notes; now, it is a period of life, seemingly without instruments and singing -- a kind of silence, that Lucy must find meaning in. This is not easy, and Lucy must reach outside herself to find answers. There was so much I could relate to in this book. First there is the connection to one's career that goes beyond mere job satisfaction. Even though I've been retired five years and I chose my retirement date, I still sometimes feel a type of disconnect. I'm no longer a school librarian and English teacher, and that work defined who I was in part. Am I less because I no longer do that? Then there is the whole disappointment in her community for letting the elimination of the music program happen. A year or so before I retired, I read about a school in Northern Wisconsin (near where we have a vacation cabin) had made the decision to eliminate their elementary library. They were going to disperse the books among the classrooms and then use the big empty space for a place where kids could do presentations. Excuse me, how often do kids do presentations? A couple times a year, maybe??? A library can be used everyday, all day -- if you staff it!! Now, this wasn't even my school, and it certainly did not threaten my job, but it still felt like a blow to the gut. I wanted to dig out every article about the value of staffed libraries in schools-- the increase in reading schools and other factors in success. I disgress, but let's say from a career stand point, I could empathize with Lucy. Next was Lucy's relationship with her husband Charlie, a man whom she loves dearly, but whose cheerful presence at the moment is extremely taxing. My hubby and I have been married just 6 weeks shy of 45 years, and when Lucy was biting back sarcastic words, I was chuckling out loud. Any couple who has adjusted to both people being home every day has got to connect with Ruchti's portrayal of Lucy and Charlie. I always tell people that R. and I built a bi-level home as our retirement home on purpose. We each get one floor, and if we need to switch, we can, but we always have space away from each other!! Ruchti has gotten that couple dynamic right on; they love each other deeply, never want to hurt each other, but they definitely approach life differently, even after so many years together. As I read the book, I found myself stopping to mark passages about marriage, silence, and more. At times it
I struggled to get into this book, I slogged through, and while Cynthia's writing style is impeccable, it is not my favorite of her books. There were moments I literally wanted to shake Lucy. Oy, she frustrated me, it seemed she was so determined to wallow in her situation. And she pushed the envelope with her friend Ania, knowing they had different views and beliefs. Now all of that said, that truly is the mark of a great writer when they can make you feel that much frustration with their book. I wanted to like the story too, though. I recognize the great writing skill it takes to evoke those feelings from me the reader, but I always love a good story, and this wasn't it for me. I have to give her 4 stars though for the wonderful writing skills she shows in this book. This book was provided for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review.
Cynthia has captured the heart of the main character's struggle to redirect her focus through more challenging events than she could ever have dreamed. Song of Silence spoke to me personally as I seek God's direction in a new phase of my own life. Sometimes we have the canvas of our lives painted completely with our expectations. When that canvas is suddenly blank due to circumstances beyond our control, the future can look bleak. However, as the future begins to unfold, we find the canvas of life much more stunning than we could ever imagine.
SONG OF SILENCE is Ms Ruchti's latest book. Realistic, at times like this about a school cutting budgets, eliminating music and the arts and the teacher forced into early retirement--whether she wants it or not. In this case, she did not. And Lucy struggled greatly, falling into depression, despite her wonderfully supportive husband and children. While impeccably written, timely, and with realistic characters, I found the overall tone depressing for me as a reader. I guess that's a sign the author did a fantastic job conveying the emotions if she depresses the reader, but most people (myself included) we don't read to get depressed. Life does a good enough job on it's own. Thank you very much. I have read all of Cynthia's books so far and loved most of them (with the exception of one) and now this one is joining that one. Not my favorite. That said, Ms. Ruchti is an extremely talented author and I applaud her for tackling this tough topic and writing it with such style.
Song of Silence is sure to strike a chord in the hearts of all who read it! Cynthia Ruchti is a gifted storyteller and has once again shared a beautiful story of hope and healing. Boasting wonderful characterization and an engaging plot, Song of Silence captured my attention from beginning to end. Lucy’s journey stirred my emotions and offered thought-provoking insight into a number of issues. Themes of silence and rest carry through the narrative and create a tender, touching tale. I loved this poignant story and highly recommend it! I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.
A Silent Song of Hope Reading Song of Silence is like watching a movie. Cynthia Ruchti’s descriptive writing fills the virtual screen with colors, music, and then silence. Silence, the healing power of rest. Rest from anxiety. Rest from delusions. Rest from self-centeredness. Via stream of consciousness we observe Lucy Tuttle’s journey through the valley of self-doubt. Like a drowning swimmer she focuses on herself instead of her relationship with her retired husband Charlie. Ruchti sympathetically portrays Lucy’s struggles, struggles which remind readers of their own challenges. As readers observe Lucy’s encounters with uncertainties and reversals, they become silent encouragers. They, too, have dealt with disappointments. As Lucy learns, sometimes what we strongly desire prevents us from fulfilling our purpose, especially in one’s family. Perhaps, like Lucy, readers also have learned that being removed from one’s vocational passion opens the door to a new calling. As Lucy found, the song of silence is expressed with more than voice. The grace of a special touch, a warm hug, an understanding nod, and a quiet presence that can bring healing. In our broken world it is not so much what we say as how we live. Lucy’s story is woven with a silent song of hope that mends. Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press sent me a copy of Cynthia Ruchti’s Song of Silence in exchange for an honest review.
I have never read anything by Cynthia, although I’ve heard good things about her and her covers always intrigue me. This book is full of wonderful thoughts and ideas. Cynthia wove in many deep truths. Even using musical references such as the importance of rests and I could easily apply that to my live. However, I really struggled with liking the overall book. Lucy was a very negative person in the beginning. Which I understand, she lost her job and is struggling with that but I needed more redeeming qualities in her faster. Her thoughts toward her husband didn’t help me in that area. Although, I could see she did love him but she really made him sound like an idiot and I had trouble with that. Things do get better as you go along but pushing through that first twenty-thirty percent of the book was hard for me. With that being said the other reviews on this book are very good and you might enjoy this book. This is my opinion only as obviously others enjoyed this book. An e-copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
"There are moments in life, seasons in life, when it seems that God goes silent. We wait. We listen. Nothing. No movement. No stirring. No signs of hope or relief. In the silence, it's tempting to believe nothing is happening. Good musicians understand the crucial role silence plays in music. The pause creates tension. They give weight to what is about to come or what has just passes. These silences are not empty, dead space. They're the crucial, fertile silences that make a song what it is. Musically speaking, in the silence, something is happening. "In your season of waiting on God to speak, don't be fooled into thinking that just because nothing's happening, nothing's happening. In the silence, a song is brewing. Even now, in the quiet pause, in the desperate waiting between what was and what is to come, a song is being composed. You are becoming, and this becoming is not empty and passive. It's active, fertile and alive no matter how hidden it may seem to your ears. Wherever you find yourself waiting...keep composing. Keep becoming. Keep hoping and listening. Somewhere beneath the silence that is your life, a faint chord is striking, a song is brewing. - Brad Nelson, Restoration Living" (pg 201-201). Such profound advice for retired music teacher Lucy Tuttle who finds herself afloat in her life without a sure way to figure out what is next. Being forced into early retirement when the school board votes to eliminate the music program, she feels like she has no voice. No song left to sing. Her husband Charlie, who has been retired is looking forward to this chapter of their life where he has hopes of spending it with Lucy. Lucy realizes how much this early retirement will cut into their finances and can't seem to get her head above water long enough to figure out what she is going to do. Her daughter Olivia, needs to move home temporarily while she finishes up school and at the same time, her son, Sam, just announces that he is getting married to someone who he has barely known at all. Along with that relationship comes the fact of dealing with Sasha who is deaf and her son Evan who has Asperger's. Just how much more can one woman be expected to deal with at this stage in her life when age seems to play an imminent role in her finding another teaching position. The last thing she wants to do is hang out with her husband Charlie who is considering going into the worm farm business and Lucy would make the perfect partner. I received Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This is such a great novel as I find myself considering entering the work force at the same age as Lucy is and wondering how I will be received. I couldn't imagine dealing with all that she is faced with all at the same time. Love her HHATT group, her doctor has her meet with and can only hope I can form my own such group to share my inner most woman feelings with to those who can truly understand. For me, this one easily goes down as a 5 out of 5 stars and a Reader's Discussion Guide is included for those real book clubs to enjoy! I hope Cynthia decides to expand this into a series of the women we meet in Lucy's HHATT group! Would love to know their stories!
Cynthia Ruchti has written a wonderful piece of art with her new book Song of Silence. Capturing the heart of her characters in a very meaningful and touching way that makes the story come alive for you. A story that deals with unexpected happens. A story that will touch your heart. Be sure to get your copy of Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti today. 5 stars!
I love this author's lyrical writing style! The way she pulls you gently into the story and so beautifully describes all the nuances of what the main character Lucy is thinking and feeling, made me get a real sense of all that was going on. There was so much I could relate to in her struggles to get back to a new normal and recover from all of her life changes, including her faith and marriage issues. I couldn't help laughing out loud at some of her unspoken comments, and cried when tragedy strikes. Wished I could sit in on one of her "book club" meetings too. Recommend for Christian fiction fans who enjoy a character driven story. 4.5 stars (Book provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)