From the lush Owen Stanley Ranges of Papua New Guinea to working-class inner Sydney...Ruth follows the story of its protagonist, the only daughter of John and Alice Madison, coffee plantation owners. Set in the fifties and sixties, 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, 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. 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 and cultural history.