“The Redemption of Matthew Ryerson” is decidedly a book from a Christian perspective, but as much as anything, it is a book about characters who happen to be Christian. Even so, not all of them start out that way. At the beginning Matthew Ryerson is a man on the run from his own past. Living hand to mouth, every day is a desperate struggle to simply survive. Matthew is not a Christian, in fact there is little he does believe in; not even himself.
It is said in Christian circles that sometimes God lets us hit rock bottom to get our attention. This is exactly where we find Matthew. At this lowest of points, Matthew not only manages survival, he stumbles into a second chance. At yet another farm along the road north he seeks nothing more than a few chores to get enough money for food and hopefully a dry barn in which to rest. At this farm Matthew not only finds a hot meal and a dry place to sleep, he finds a family.
Mary Mueller’s smooth narrative grabs you instantly and just when you begin to think this book is about to lead you along the beaten path and become formulaic, Mueller throws you a curve. The deeply developed characters don’t always do the right thing or even what you expect of them, but their desires to do better eventually lead them around to it. “The Redemption of Matthew Ryerson” is in turns both heartwarming and heartbreaking, but will leave you fully satisfied. If you are looking for a preachy “Christian” book with two dimensional cardboard characters that always do the right thing, this is not it. Like most of us, these characters exercise their free wills. Often contrary to the will of God, but in the end they seek His will above their own.
If you have ever felt lost and useless or have tried to help someone else in such a place, this book will give you hope. “The Redemption of Matthew Ryerson” is something special. Do yourself a favor and read it.