Friday, March 27, 2015


Cynthia Bond has masterfully and intricately stitched together a story at once as hopeful as it is horrifically disturbing. Her way with words and the turn of a phrase moved me through Ruby and Ephram's moments of beauty and painful agony in ways I had not known possible. Wow!

The places that Bond's novel took me were places that most people don't want to look or acknowledge. The atrocities that humans inflict upon one another and the human spirit's ability to survive despite all obstacles and odds--this is the theme that resonated to the core of my bones as I read. The amazing, redemptive, and healing quality of love (no matter how simply given) remind me that hope is possible.

I will let you read the publisher's synopsis below for the gist of the story line. I cannot recommend this book more highly; it is a stunning novel which I believe everyone should read!

My thanks to for the copy I received in exchange for this review.

From the Publisher . .

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 Bell, “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 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.

About the Author . . .

CYNTHIA BOND has taught writing to homeless and at-risk youth throughout Los Angeles for more than fifteen years. She attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, then moved to New York and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. A PEN/Rosenthal Fellow, Bond founded the Blackbird Writing Collective in 2011. At present, Bond teaches therapeutic writing at Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center. A native of East Texas, she lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.

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