Cynthia Bond’s debut novel, RUBY was first published early 2014 and received praise mostly in literary circles. But this is quickly changing now that Oprah has selected RUBY for her new Book Club 2.0 pick. To say we’re excited is an understatement. We along with “Miami Herald” Book Editor, Connie Ogle, met Cynthia in November at the Miami Book Fair and couldn’t get enough of both Cynthia the author and her brilliant book.
RUBY is one of those novels that when people ask me to explain what it’s about, I find myself tongue-tied. That happens for two reasons; one, I’m afraid of doing an injustice to the story and two, of not being able to explain the wonder captured in Bond’s lush lyricism, as she explores the extremes of human kindness and cruelty.
RUBY is not for the faint of heart. It’s a challenging read, includes graphic sexual violence and will stay with you long, after you’ve finished the final page.
Ruby Bell grows up in Liberty, Texas; a small town where local residents speak the Lord’s words, but act with the devil’s intentions. Black magic is embedded in the red soil and the piney woods separate houses and secrets far enough so horrifying acts of terror can take place in the safety of the dark.
After a childhood of brutality, Ruby flees Liberty for NYC, and only comes back after a decade when her cousin needs her. It’s then she starts reliving the violence of her childhood and souls of the children she’s lost begin following her. Ephram has loved her since she was a girl and wants to help her but it means going against his sister who has raised him since he was a boy.
I got to spend some time with Cynthia while she was at the book fair and learned true family history is a major part of the novel. Like Ruby’s mother, Cynthia’s Aunt Carrie was forced to live with a white man and then killed by the Ku Klux Klan. When you read RUBY, you will know there is something important going on inside these pages. It may feel like the past, but this evil still exists in our world, and it is eloquently captured as a reminder.
There is more to the love story of Ruby and Ephram. Bond has said RUBY is the first of a trilogy, so we shall be anxiously awaiting the next novel. For all things Cynthia Bond check out her website http://www.cynthiabond.com
I’m grateful to have read RUBY. I hope you are, too.