In the middle of the Pennsylvania hinterlands lies a peculiar farm that s played host to lonely souls each summer for more than three hundred years. Genevieve Patterson has been dispatched by her magazine to interview Ruby Swarovski, the illustrious matchmaker of Niederbipp, for the November issue.
But it quickly becomes clear that the interview she was promised, and which would finally give her the renown she deserves, is not going to go the way she expected. With more than five hundred successful matches in her fifty-six-year career, Ruby along with her husband, Lorenzo have invited six lucky women, and six even luckier men, to spend the summer working the land in exchange for a little help in the love department. The first in a series, Authentically Ruby is a fun, thoughtful, and delightful read for anyone who is interested in strengthening the most important relationships we form in life.Goodreads Overview
Meaningful, Thought-Provoking, and Genuine
Ben Behunin is not an author by trade but a potter. About ten years ago, my sister-in-law showed me his first Potter of Neiderbipp series. I fell in love with the wise Neiderbipp potter Isaac and his quiet little town disconnected from the world. Last summer, I learned Behunin had started a new series based on a matchmaker Ruby, who lives outside of Neiderbipp. This new series matched my current life situation and struggles.
Over the last ten years, Behunin has really refined his writing style. Even before he started his Potter of Neiderbipp, he kept feeling he needed to write books. This confused Behunin because he had no real background in writing. So, he put these feelings and book ideas aside to focus on his career in artistic pottery. Due to various injuries on his hands, he couldn’t make pottery the way he used to. With too much empty time, he gave in and started a tentative career as an author.
I’m grateful he did. Behunin’s writing doesn’t have the polish of well-seasoned authors like Stephen King or Brandon Sanderson, but it is heartfelt. His unique voice, attention to important spiritual truths, and compassionate characters make his stories shine. Beautiful stories don’t need to scream about how great they are.
That said, Authentically Ruby has become one of my favorite reads of 2020. I don’t know how Behunin knew there would be people like me who need advice on developing good relationships. But after reading this book and its sequel, I felt like a great weight lifted off my chest because he addressed many of my fears and insecurities and reaffirmed important truths I hold dear about marriage and God. As for the writing style, it flowed really well because it felt like the characters had unstaged conversations and genuine life-like experiences.
The characters didn’t talk like characters in a story or play. They spoke like real people, at least that was how it seemed to me. They change because they participate in wholesome activities and build sincere relationships with each other. Genevieve does start as a somewhat spoiled, rude young woman and she does have problems living on a farm disconnected from the internet and the outside world. However, I liked seeing her gradually change and open up to others. The character I felt I resembled the most was Matt. (We both overthink things). As for Ruby, I would love to meet her.
Who is this for?
If there is anyone who wants a deeper connection to God, the earth, and themselves. I would recommend this book to you. There were several times I felt chastened because of my expectations and thoughts on marriage and relationships. But I also felt a lot of love and hope.
Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow!