Set in the fifties and sixties, Ruth follows the life of the only daughter by the same name, of coffee plantation owners, John and Alice Madison.

From her comfortable home in the lush Owen Stanley Ranges of Papua New Guinea, to the rough, working-class streets of Sydney, Ruth struggles to rise above the stigma of being an unwed mother alone in a strange land.

Determined not to end up on the streets, Ruth learns to live by her wits until circumstances take a turn for the worse. Keen to find a better life for son, Stewart, she takes up work in a country town where she meets and marries Lachlan McGrath, owner of Bryliambone station.

Driven by the desire to ensure her three children have a good future, she sets about rebuilding her husband’s debt ridden business into a thriving cotton farm.  As her life comes together, news arrives of her father’s suspicious death and her brother’s arrest for his murder.

Ruth returns to Papua to sort out the family’s affairs only to uncover the shocking secrets that had fractured her family years before.

The novel spans just fifteen years, but is epic in its scope, as Ruth grows from a naïve eighteen-year-old into a determined, capable woman running an Outback station. She discovers depths and strengths she did not know she had, as she lays the foundation for her children’s future and attempts to set-right the buried wrongs of her family’s past.

The story begins when Ruth returns home from boarding school, a journey she wished she hadn’t taken…

Cotton fields from the novel Ruth by Marlene Lewis