January 31, 2019
Ruby by Ann Hood
Finished on January 22, 2019
Rating: 2/5 (Fair)
After the tragic death of her husband of barely one year, Olivia, a milliner from New York City, must begin rebuilding her life. Ordinarily a vivacious and strong woman, she finds herself unable to surmount her grief...until she meets Ruby.
Young, pregnant and delinquent, Ruby trespasses and enters the seemingly uninhabited Rhode Island beach house in which Olivia and her late husband had planned to build their life together. Abandoned by her family, Ruby has no home and seems far too immature to care for the baby Olivia so strongly desires. With her eye on the adoption of the newborn, Olivia offers the rebellious teen a place to stay.
An unlikely friendship is forged as Olivia nurtures Ruby and her unborn child and experiences the daily challenges presented by a wayward teen, who may or may not teach Olivia how to live again.
It's quite apparent that Ruby is one of Ann Hood's earliest novels and not nearly as polished as her more current books, several of which I've recently read. (Her website doesn't even have Ruby listed in her collection of published books, which is interesting.) I stumbled upon the book while perusing the shelves at my library and decided to give it a try, since I really enjoyed The Book That Matters Most, The Knitting Circle and her nonfiction gem, Morningstar: Growing Up With Books (click on the titles for my full reviews). Unfortunately, Ruby is trite, lacking tension and fully realized characters, and is far too predictable. I didn't sympathize with either of the main characters and grew weary of the far-fetched plot, which became a slog by the halfway mark. I continued reading only because it's a short book and I was curious about the ending. I'm glad this wasn't the first book I read of Hood's or I may not have gone on to try anything else by her.