A Novel

Book - 2014
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The newest Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection

The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her--this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.
Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby, "the kind of pretty it hurt to look at," has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city--the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village--all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby Bell finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town's dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom's Juke, to Celia Jennings's kitchen where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man's dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.
Publisher: London : Hogarth, c2014.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780804139090
Branch Call Number: FIC Bond
Characteristics: 333 pages


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Jul 26, 2020

I meant to rate this 5 stars. Somehow it only shows 4 and won't change.

In any event, this was one of the best works of fiction I have ever read and one of the most important I would recommend others to read. So many important stories that shed a light on rape culture, queerphobia, sex trafficking, and racism in our world. I am grateful that Cynthia Bond wrote this.

Oct 13, 2019

Oh, my heart breaks at Ruby’s story. Her introduction at such a young age into prostitution and the lack of support she got from church-going adults probably was probably quite common not only in the back communities of rural communities, like this one in east Texas. But an unlikely hero with limited intellect sees the true Ruby and his decision to support her shows the power of love. This is a debut novel and an Oprah 2.0 book. The author writes in a style that pulls the reader in and gives Ruby and Ephram immense depth.

Jul 15, 2018

I wish I could unread it, I can't get the images out of my head. Read this only if you enjoy reading about children being raped and killed and themes that suggest that all Christians especially Pastors are truly evil. I kept reading hoping that there was going to be some turnaround, some deliverance or redemption, but it didn't really happen until the last page which was too late.

The only positive about this book is that the author writes well.

Jul 03, 2018

This book was beautifully written.

Sep 28, 2016

A powerful story that is unfortunately diminished by the unnecessary repetition of violent imagery that eventually wears down the reader and at a certain point becomes overly-melodramatic.

Aug 31, 2016

I read this in June 2015 and while looking it up for a Staff Picks display, I saw there are new copies on order!

This is such a beautifully written novel about the tragic life of Ruby Bell. Readers of dramatic women's fiction or the Southern Gothic will likely LOVE this book.

Put it on hold!

Jun 14, 2016

This is such a beautifully written book. The prose is mesmerizing. Yes, the subject matter is harsh at times, but it is handled delicately and adroitly by the author. If you have the opportunity, I recommend the audio version.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

An extraordinary novel. The writing is wonderful. The story is lovely and heartbreaking at the same time. The characters are wonderfully drawn. And yet Ruby is perhaps one of the single most disturbing novels ever written. If you're particularly sensitive to human ugliness, the brutality in this book is likely too much for you. It's not easy to stomach. The most disturbing images from Ruby still haunt me.

Mar 24, 2016

By reading the description and reviews, "Ruby" seems like a cheesy story. I wouldn't waste my time reading this book (I'd fall asleep with boredom. Forget about taking this book to work!). Go Set a Watchman (by Harper Lee) is much better; a little similar to "Ruby". I'm sure this book would cure insomnia.

Mar 23, 2016

A gifted writer with an unfortunate story. It so unbelievably depressing. I cannot recommend this book.

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Mar 05, 2017

I'm not meant for using! I never was! Never was! I ain't never going to be used again!

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

Hope was a dangerous thing, something best squashed before it became contagious.


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Mar 11, 2015

a lil diff to tear int, good if u press through.

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