Some of you might remember Jan Ruth from my interview with her on Welsh Wednesdays
Today I can finally present my review of her novel “Midnight Sky.”
I heard so much good about Jan’s writing that I feared I would be disappointed. Turns out, I was not. The book is really well written and has characters with substance and bite.
There is a dark tone to it that befits the setting in North Wales and Chester. You immediately picture dark and moody ‘Hinterland’ scenery. Knowing the area well personally has helped me to visualise is and feel the setting.
There is a lot of drama in the family and romantic relations portrayed, tough choices, conflict between lovers and family, overcoming the past, modern issues such as abortion, grief… The book really has a lot going for it with deep writing, food for thought and a captivating atmospheric style.
I was very impressed and am looking forward to the rest of the author’s back catalogue. A real find.
From my interview:
As an author I have been described as a combination of literary-contemporary-romantic-comedy-rural-realism-family-saga; oh, and with an occasional criminal twist and a lot of the time, written from the male viewpoint. No question my books are Contemporary. Family and Realism; these two must surely go hand-in-hand, yes? So, although you’ll discover plenty of escapism, I hope you’ll also be able to relate to my characters as they stumble through a minefield of relationships.
I hesitate to use the word romance. It’s a misunderstood and mistreated word and despite the huge part it plays in the market, attracts an element of disdain. If romance says young, fluffy and something to avoid, maybe my novels will change your mind since many of my central characters are in their forties and fifties. Grown-up love is rather different, and this is where I try to bring that sense of realism into play without compromising the escapism.
Jan Ruth writes contemporary fiction about the darker side of the family dynamic with a generous helping of humour, horses and dogs. Her books blend the serenities of rural life with the headaches of city business, exploring the endless complexities of relationships.
ABOUT JAN RUTH
The real story began at school, with prizes for short stories and poetry. She failed all things mathematical and scientific, and to this day struggles to make sense of anything numerical.
Her first novel – written in 1986 – attracted the attention of an agent who was trying to set up her own company, Love Stories Ltd. It was a project aiming to champion those books of substance which contained a romantic element but were perhaps directed towards the more mature reader and consistently fell through the net in traditional publishing. Sadly, the project failed to get the right financial backing.
Many years later Jan’s second novel, Wild Water, was taken on by Jane Judd, literary agent. Judd was a huge inspiration, but the book failed to find the right niche with a publisher. It didn’t fall into a specific category and, narrated mostly from the male viewpoint, it was considered out of genre for most publishers and too much of a risk.
Amazon changed the face of the industry with the advent of self-publishing; opening up the market for readers to decide the fate of those previously spurned novels. Jan went on to successfully publish several works of fiction and short story collections and after a brief partnership with Access Press in 2015, has returned to the freedom of independent publishing.
Connect with Jan: