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The Long and the Short of it

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  35 ratings  ·  26 reviews
This edition is now A SHORT WAY FROM HOME.
Comprising seven short stories; with two new additions to the original book.
What to do About Clara?
The certainty of old love, or the uncertainty of new? Frankie has two women in his life and he needs to make a choice.
Over The Moon.
It's Pattie's birthday, but will all her wishes come true? Events are planned, but Pattie simply longs
Kindle Edition, 95 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by Celtic Connections. (first published November 1st 2012)
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David Pickering
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a step away from my usual choice of reading, but I enjoyed the journey very much. Both the shorts and the novel extracts are engaging and fluently written and carry the reader along with ease - bleak one moment, hilarious the next. It's a rich, colourful mix, too, with lots of highlights to savour, from the revelation about Helga to the delightful chaos of a nightmare wedding. If I had to pick a favourite, it would probably be 'A Piece of Cake', though only by a short head. Excellent pa ...more
Tim Stevens
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a forty-something male reader of thrillers, I'm not the obvious target audience for a book that fits into the broad category of 'romance'. But I found myself taken, indeed captivated, by this little collection of five short stories and three first-chapter excerpts from Ms Ruth's novels.

'Quirky' and 'evocative' seem odd words to find together in a description of a story, but that's this author's great achievement: she succeeds in portraying utterly believable and familiar human relationships a
Lynette Sofras
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm generally not a great fan of short stories but I am a great fan of Jan Ruth's longer novels and was therefore very pleased when I saw she had brought out this anthology. The collection contains five stories based around people who have reached a certain crossroads in their lives. People who need to find space to reacquaint themselves with their inner person and make the right decision about the future. And as usual, the physical space is provided in the shape of the wild and wonderful Welsh ...more
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all ages
These are five festive related short stories, four Christmas themed, one the Pagan religion of Yule themed.
Best of all they are all FREE, and I got it from Smashwords. These are ideal for coffee or lunch breaks and so typical of Jan Ruth's ability to use relationships, people's decisions and consequences, the season, and in the setting of beautiful Snowdonia in North Wales to tell such good, though brief stories. Two Hearts, One Soul is beautiful, sad, lovely and I'm still filling up with tears,
Andy Szpuk
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great characters slipped into ordinary situations, with an immediate tension palpable from the first paragraphs. Storytelling at its most compulsive, and I felt connections with all the characters on an emotional level - Jan Ruth makes them believable, whether it's Clara and Frank hitting a crossroads in their new relationship, with his wife Ella hovering in the ether, or Teddy Roberts stripped to the waist catching the eye of Pattie over the hedge.
The motivations and desires of these characters
Wendy Steele
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy short stories as well as novels so Ms Ruth's book is delightful on both counts as she indulges us with five short stories and the first chapters of three of her novels. I have to confess, I devoured the 'shorts' and was so taken with the first chapter of 'Wild Water' that I had to buy it before reading anymore!

All the stories are beautifully written. Each character is brought to life by their words and actions against the back drop of the Welsh countryside and every story will keep you g
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want a great read? Look no further. Jan Ruth has the skill to dig deep where characterisation is concerned and the result is good, enjoyable telling of stories that will stop and make you think. Intelligent writing at a very high standard, and the editing ain't bad either.
Rosie Amber
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of contemporary stories from Jan Ruth. There are five short stories and three first chapters from some of Jan's full length novels.

What to do about Clara is set in Wales around Christmas, Frankie brings his girlfriend back to his childhood home hoping to capture some of the magic of his youth. He's battling with the betrayal of his wife, a pending divorce and confusion for his future.

Over The Moon introduces us to Pattie, whose birthday celebrations fill her with a cold chil
Debbie Bennett
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This books serves as an introduction to Jan Ruth’s work with a selection of short stories and the first chapters of three novels to entice you to read more. It’s a good idea and works well.

The shorts are what I’d call life-slices, like eavesdropping, a fly on the wall of somebody’s life. We see the indecisions, the moments of clarity, the realities of everyday life and yet there’s a turning point in each, where our main characters – Frankie, Pattie, Mari, Tom or Sylvia – each make life-changing
Mirren Jones
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I can recommend this anthology as superb value for money! All the stories are well-written and meet all the criteria for a good short story, but 'A Piece of Cake' is absolutely brilliant - one of the best I've read this year. I wonder if this has been submitted for any competitions? It should have been.

Jan's writing is great yet doesn't fit neatly into standard genres. It's well-crafted contemporary fiction, romantic but not slushy, certainly not chick-lit but not quite literary! We are well aw
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five short stories, all very different and original, all beautifully crafted. I am so pleased to see that fine examples of a shorter form of quality writing are available - sometimes, they just hit the spot. The setting is generally rural, with the emotional drama played out against the backdrop of a beautiful landscape. Add a little of the supernatural, and some affinity with horses, and it makes for an engaging and agreeable read.

The five stories are followed by tasters for three full length n
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed Jan Ruth's three novels so was glad she had something new out. Wasn't sure whether I would like short stories because I always enjoy her gradual character and chemistry development in her novels and was sure I would be left wanting more at the end of each story. I don't tend to read short stories usually either.
The stories vary in length but all are just right, enough depth to the characters and enough detail but not so much that we are left with loose ends etc at the end of the s
Elizabeth Lloyd
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The short stories in this collection feature the crises that can so easily come to us at different stages in our lives. Some of the characters are endearing, some annoying and all have flaws just like us. My favourite was What to do about Clara and I do so want to know more about her, especially what she will do next. Pattie and Teddy in Over the Moon follow their dreams for the first time in their lives while A Short Way from Home is such a bittersweet tale. I really enjoyed all the stories, bu ...more
Elizabeth Jasper
I'm generally not a fan of short stories, but I have enjoyed Jan Ruth's full-length novels so much I decided I would have to try her shorts (as it were).

Five short stories, all completely different in tone and length, but all have a gently diffused Celtic atmosphere that adds to the mood of each story. My favourites are 'Over the Moon' and 'What to do about Clara, but all five stories are beautifully paced and very well written.

The opening chapters of Jan Ruth's three novels are each a delicio
Deborah Cater
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jan has taken 5 instances of human emotion and thrown some Celtic magic over them. Each of the short stories takes the reader to a different emotional space, ones that you recognise even if you have not experienced them, and pulls you in. The stories may be short but they are fully formed, Jan Ruth has not skimped on detail and you are fulfilled at the end.

My favourites were Over the Moon and Two Hearts, One Soul which, though touching different emotional triggers, left me with a sense of satisf
Alex Martin
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love all Jan Ruth's books. They are a satisfying read. All very romantic but without the slush. They concern real people whom she often puts under real stresses we can all identify with. In this book you get a taster of them all and I defy you not to want to read on. The shorts are also great. I think Christmas Present, the shortest story of them all, is a masterpiece. Show not tell, less is more - a masterclass in both disciplines. Highly recommended for dipping your toe in the creative pool ...more
Mark Speed
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This really isn't my genre. To my great surprise, I really enjoyed these short stories and first chapters of novels. Jan Ruth writes very well-observed stories about recognisable characters. As a writer, she knows how to turn up the heat on her protagonists in a believable way. There often seems to be a wonderfully sordid undercurrent of sex and infidelity, which is played very well. I shall be recommending these to people I know are into this genre. Lovely work.
Terry Tyler
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read these a while back - all in one afternoon!

They're ideal for the purpose of the title. Jan writes in a genre that is so broad but often gets overlooked - general contemporary women's fiction (I hope that's right!). They're romantic, but without any slush at all, more 'real life'. I think this collection would be most suited to women of, shall we say, over 30. My favourite was Two Hearts, One Soul. I rather liked 'Over The Moon' too, which was light and amusing.
Christoph Fischer
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
"The Long and Short of it" by Jan Ruth really serves as a showcase for the author, which admittedly in parts was a little frustrating since you are left with a teaser rather than a complete work.
The selection of short stories and first chapters however shows a skilled writer with a great reflective mind and wonderful powers of observation on human nature. Deep and thoughtful at times, entertaining and magic at others.
Bernadette Robinson
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
This is an e-book containing five short stories of varying length. I enjoyed all the stories but the one called A Piece of Cake was my favourite. At the end of the book is the first chapter of Wild Water, Midnight Sky and White Horizon.

I'd recommend this e-book as it'll give you a taster of the quality of writing by the Author and the first chapters of the three books at the end will give you an idea of the content and subject matter of the books.
Jeannette Christer
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was free when I downloaded it and was very glad I did. The short stories are all wonderfully real and great page turners. The sample chapters of the other books are good too and I'll definitely be downloading them soon. Looking forward to re-acquainting myself with the characters and situations. Jan Ruth is an excellent descriptive writer and understands human nature very well. Transferring this onto the page is not always easy so well done to her for her skill.
Jude Johnson
Bought this book yesterday and finished it in one sitting. Loved the characters and the Welsh settings, but especially loved the twists, turns, and surprises Jan Ruth provided. I'm not only recommending this book to friends, I'm going to re-read it a number of times to catch the nuances I may have missed. Good stuff all the way around.
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
I found this book through one of my reader's services and it looked intriguing so I ordered it. I wasn't sure what I was getting into but thought it might be interesting to read something from a British novelist.

I will say that it was rather confusing in the sense that none of what was included in The Long and The Short of It was ever really complete. I get the fact that it includes some short stories and a first chapter from each of Ms. Ruth's novels. However, the short stories seemed incomplet
Jenny O'Brien
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are so many good books out there that short stories normally fall outside of my reading radar: that was my first mistake.

I bought this on a whim a few months ago. Something as a go to reliable on my Kindle when I had a few minutes in the schoolyard between pick-ups: therein lay my second mistake.

These stories aren’t to be read in short spurts like a dripping tap they are good enough to be savoured with a decent cup of coffee and perhaps a smidgen of cake (chocolate preferably).

The first s
Lucy Pireel
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This was a very entertaining read, although I must admit that the endings to the stories were a bit abrupt. On the other hand the way they ended did leave room for my own imagination to get to work, because they could go either way. However the romantic souls among us will lean towards the happy possibilities left open.
What did phase me was reading the first chapter of another book while under the impression I was reading another short. It would have been nice to know up front, because coming at
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I know its taken me a long time to read this set of short stories but that is the beauty of short stories you can pick the book up anytime you want to dive into. This is a set of seven short stories and Jan set's her stories around the glorious welsh countryside. I enjoyed each one of these stories about people and relationships, Jan quickly got you into the story with great narrative with some wonderful warmth and humour and there were always little twists along the way which you didn't quite e ...more
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Jan Ruth lives in Snowdonia, a mountainous area of North Wales, UK. Jan writes contemporary fiction about the darker side of the family dynamic, often blending life in rural Wales with a touch of city business. Her style is best described as fast-paced and realistic, with a sprinkling of dry humour.

The real story began at school, with prizes for short stories and poetry. She failed all things math

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