Review: Ruby: A Novel by Cynthia Bond

Ruby: A Novel
Cynthia Bond
 Hogarth April 29, 2014
Pages 352
ISBN13: 9780804139090
A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review

GoodreadsAmazon • IndieboundPowell’s Books

Reviewer: Melinda

Recommendation: 4/5 

From Goodreads:
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.


My Thoughts
Bond undoubtedly created a tantalizing debut novel. Ruby a benchmark for upcoming writings from this capable author which she will easily surpass. Her inauguration into the writing world is noticed.

Between the writing and the powerful character of Ruby you will find yourself taken by this significant piece of work. Her aptitude for descriptive writing in such striking detail is astonishing.

Ruby is the poster child for the injustices of African Americans.

“Hell, ain’t nothing strange when Colored go crazy. Strange is when we don’t.”

Blending voodoo and sexual abuse is masterfully accomplished by Bond proving she is multidimensional. Ruby is an intricate and powerful character and Bond is cognizant of this and emphasizes her with gusto, she remains embedded in your mind and heart.

A story of redemption, love, faith, racial issues and cruelty commingle creating an absolutely unforgettable story.

Rape, pedophilia, and graphic sexual scenes appear frequently and are difficult and disturbing to read, sensitive readers please note.


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