Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

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Synchronicity knows the desires of our heart

An experience with a review of my novel, The Munich Girl, reminded me, once again, of the beautiful synchronicity with which Life works — perhaps in spite of our “best planning” — and the delicious surprises that result. It was another sweet affirmation that the desires of our hearts aren’t lost, though the way in which they come into reality is often far beyond what we imagine.

When the novel’s print version came out, I hoped that the book might receive coverage at the Story Circle Book Reviews network, a very thoughtful place where readers connect.

I was grateful when they agreed to receive a copy for potential review, since the world of books has become, now, a seemingly infinite universe of them. 11800190_10155878221225385_4242285263363148219_n

I was advised that the book might or might not be requested. And, indeed, the available copy sat there, unrequested, over many long months.

Then reader (and fine writer) Margaret Dubay Mikus delivered the lovely surprise: she had read the book, shows real understanding of both the story and its themes, had been kind enough to write a wonderful review — and Story Circle Network had accepted and published it!

Margaret writes:

“The [Munich Girl] also looks at the role of women in different cultures and periods in a way that is quite relevant right now.65675077782_000161_2

“Do women choose to play the lead in their own lives or do they sacrifice themselves for others?

“Ring also leads us to ask what we know of our parents’ lives. How might their experiences or traumas be passed down to us? How open are we to the changes that can come from deep healing? EB pix Germany and more 672

“You will want to cheer for Anna as she is drawn into the discovery of her past, re-creating her present, releasing her to soar into a future of possibilities. Engrossing and engaging with surprises and plot twists. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next.”

Find Margaret’s full review at: http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org/reviews/munichgirl.shtml

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Another view: Through readers’ eyes


Publishing a book is a gateway to the unexpected in countless ways, as well as a nonstop curve of learning and discovery.

One of the most delightful parts of the experience is the way it reconnects you with people you know, and opens the door to a whole world of making new friends.

Reader Mary Spires and I met years ago at a writer’s conference but I haven’t seen her since she traveled half a world away and back. In her review at Goodreads, she called The Munich Girl “a story of love, power and the meaning of family” and wrote: “Readers see 1930s and ’40s Germany through the eyes of young women growing into adulthood. In the midst of increasing chaos, they fall in love, develop allegiances and make sacrifices. While family secrets unfold to the next generation, we see how their support for one another has allowed each to play out her role in a period of transition. These themes cross barriers of time, nationality and political persuasion.” munichgirl_card_front

Reader Linda Marie Marsh approached me very politely after I’d held a giveaway for the book and she hadn’t managed to be one of the winners. I’m so grateful that she proved the maxim: “If you don’t ask, the answer’s always no,” and, in her courteous courage, opened the door to a friendship that the book and I are so grateful to have.

goodreads_icon_100x100-4a7d81b31d932cfc0be621ee15a14e70“I KNOW it’s quite early in the year,” she wrote at Goodreads on February 1, “but I will say this anyway. The Munich Girl will be one of the best books I read this year … The author has taken and blended a mix of stories and created a whopper of historical fiction — well-kept secrets, unknown family ties, true friendship, and an ease of flowing back and forth in time — from the 1930s and ’40s to the present day. I have always wondered why Eva Braun Hitler was assumed to be a blonde ditz and historically shoved aside. Phyllis Ring uses words to make a page-flattened person become whole, become real, and gives us a 3-dimensional woman who had brains, beauty and just happened to fall for the charms of a sociopath. Yes, I loved that aspect, but there was so much more to the ‘what if’ novel. I devoured it.”

EvaHertaNA242EB27_39DReader Cynthia Minor is another book friend of the heart with whom I’ve been connected through the virtual world, and through a wonderful writer named Donna Baptiste. In her thoughts about the book, Cynthia wrote at Goodreads: “It is difficult to know where the ‘real’ ends and the ‘possible’ begins. Reading The Munich Girl was like taking a journey to another place and another time. … The story weaves itself across continents and decades, and is a beautiful image of the way our lives are not only connected to those we know and share life with, but with those in our past, whom we may or may not even be aware of. 424

“As the author states: ‘One could look at another’s life and judge or envy what it seemed to show. But things were almost always more complex than they appeared.’ This was and is still true, of everyone we meet.”

What a privilege it is for this writer, that the pathway of a book and its story leads to meeting so many thoughtful souls.

Find the Goodreads page for The Munich Girl here:





The journeys of writing, and history


Oh, the gift, for a writer, of receiving response to the work you set out into the world.

Over this last week, I’ve encountered heartening and thoughtful words about The Munich Girl both in person and in print.

98705320ea6e23717b933df6244c09ddIn reflecting on the story’s historical time frame, reviewer Steve Pulley voices almost the exact feelings I’ve had myself lately, as I observe our world:

“What went on in the world in the 1930s and ’40s sound disturbingly similar to what we are currently going through today, and cannot but give one pause.”

Reviewer aaward kindly sums up the novel as:

intricately woven historical fiction. The tale of two friends starts before the beginning of World War II and encompasses all the situations and emotions that the war brought into their individual lives as well as into their continuing friendship.”

It’s extra-meaningful when readers make that connection with the themes of the power of spiritual friendship and shared emotional intimacy that each help human beings transcend even the most painful, destructive, or confusing circumstances life brings.

Those are a big part of the reason why this book was written at all. BBB353577763

At her Beach Bound Books blog, reviewer Stacie Theis kindly calls the book:

“an absolutely consuming story that takes readers on a journey into history … secrets of the past.”

Stacie took her copy of The Munich Girl to a beach about as far as you can go from my own home in coastal New England—Kauai—and “couldn’t put it down. I got a little sunburned to say the least!”




Books, birthdays and butterflies


Enter by Feb. 6 to win.

As my novel, The Munich Girl, reaches more readers, I’m continually moved and surprised by the level of response that the book is bringing.

It’s a privilege to receive readers’ impressions about themes that weave through the story.

Gayle Hoover notes,  “It’s the women in this story who have the real strength, even in instances when they easily could have been seen as only victims.”

At the heart of it all, the story’s goal is to encourage discussion at levels that will take another look at many things, including our very own selves.

Albert Marquet - Jardin du Luxembourg, 1898. Oil on canvas, 15 x 17 3_4 in. (38 x 45 cm). @ Sotheby's Images, London_n

Albert Marquet, Jardin du Luxembourg, 1898. Oil on canvas, Sotheby’s Images, London

Those who’ve made the way through the novel know that many objects and events in it invite the way toward looking at things anew. One image in particular that does this is a butterfly.

February is the month when the two friends in this story each have a birthday, each born in a Leap Year like this one.

To celebrate, I’m having a drawing at the beginning and end of the month. On February 6, which was also Eva Braun’s birthday, I’ll draw the name of two winners for a signed copy of the book and a silver butterfly bracelet designed by artist Diane Kirkup.

To enter, send an email to info@phyllisring.com with “Butterfly” in the subject line. Those who include any thoughts about the book or a photo of themselves with it will receive 3 entries.12369218_10208140857064106_2523709969075442989_n

And my deepest thanks to each and every one who is connecting with The Munich Girl.

It is readers, and only readers, who give a book its truest life.


Find more about The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War here:


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Warmest thanks in wintry days

IMG_5991It’s a writer’s never-ending delight to hear from readers.

Recently a thoughtful one sent this image of Snow Fence Road that evokes how inviting it can feel to curl up with a book on days of wintry chill – or in the sunshine, maybe at the beach, for those of you in our southern sister hemisphere.

Reader Sabrina Laumer touched on an atmospheric theme of her own in a review at Goodreads:

“This book was absorbing and comforting, with characters that were engaging and distinctive.

Set in a frozen winter scene in Maine, it made me feel like curling up with a hot cup of tea while I read.goodreadsh 

… a story that keeps you engaged and guessing at its secrets right up until the the truth is revealed.”

Dear readers and friends, at the start of the year that’s the halfway mark of the decade, I thank you for the time you make to read my books, and your generous response of telling others about them, whether with helpful reviews or the other sharing and recommending that you do. It’s a blessing. I especially love receiving photos of readers with the book, or of the book in far-flung parts of the world.

My thanks, too, to those book clubs in Virgina and Maine who’ve added the book to your 2015 reading list. I’m always happy to “visit” with clubs, virtually or in-person, and I offer discounts for group purchases.

IMG_2717Through all of publishing’s unexpected developments and surprises, I have a heart full of gratitude for the grace of being able to share with readers those nagging scenes and stories that won’t leave me alone until I help them find their way onto pages.

It looks as though 2015 may be the year to bring out two more of them in new books.

If you’d like to be on my mailing list, simply follow the blog, or send a request to info@phyllisring.com

Find more about Snow Fence Road, and all of my books in print or Kindle, at: