Book Review: Ruby by Cynthia Bond

205655974 out of 5 stars

Cynthia Bond’s writing fed my soul with this book. Such a beautifully written novel!

Although Bond’s writing ebbs into magical realism in places, Ruby deals with very heavy and very real themes. It tells the story of Ruby Bell and Ephram Jennings and gives the reader bits of their present and their past throughout.

Ruby is a troubled soul who thought she could escape the horrors of her small Texas hometown, Liberty, when she moved to New York. When Ruby is compelled to return she finds herself swept away again by the hardships she experienced in Liberty in her earlier years.

Ephram Jennings is drawn to Ruby. He has been ever since their first encounter as children. He sees something in her that no one else is capable of or is willing to see. In contrast to his devoutly religious sister Celia, Ephram shows real compassion and attempts to help Ruby regain her life and liberate her from the demons that continue to torment her.

Ruby is a story about wrestling with demons, both inside and out. It is a historical novel about real racial issues, but it uses magical realism to convey the effects of violence and Ruby’s attempt to heal herself after the violent experiences of her life. It’s an exceptionally moving story. I recommend it for all who love beautiful writing, magical realism, and mythic stories and are not too uncomfortable reading about acts of racial and/or sexual violence.

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