Ruby Birk, who lives in Ashland Oregon, often comes to Lithia Park with her dog Yukon to sketch. She is the quintessential starving artist who never earns enough money through her artwork to pay the rent or purchase groceries. She seems to be filled with angst and is jealous of so-called normal people with normal nine-to-five jobs. Self-doubt is her biggest enemy, and because of her limited faith in the world of art, she is reluctant to leap into the job market and conform to the world around her. If she got a regular job, she protests, she would have to turn her back on everything she believes in. This is what has her filled with depression. When Ruby’s ex-husband surprises her one day with a painting, he bought for her, her life is suddenly turned upside down. The painting is more than a hundred years old, and yet painted on the canvas is the unmistakable image of Ruby, her dog, and an unknown man. As if the painting weren’t strange enough, it’s her signature in the corner that unsettles her: it’s her name, and she is convinced it was written by her hand.
While she doesn’t recognize the man in the painting, there is something familiar about him. And when she turns the painting over, she finds further mysteries taped to the back of the canvas and frame. This mysterious painting leads Ruby on a journey to find out how the painting came to exist in the first place. She also learns who the man with her is. Through the magic of Lithia Park, Ruby is able to travel through time and go back a hundred years to get the answers she seeks. Lithia Park swirls together in elements of “Bid Time Return,” “Lust for Life,” and “A Portrait of Jennie” to give readers an enchanting novel that takes on immense themes: love, death, magic, and the power of the human mind to transform and transcend reality.
Lithia Park will captivate readers who fall under its spell.