Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West
Park Row (June 16, 2020)
African American Fiction/African American Historical Fiction
Family. Faith. Secrets. Everything in this world comes full circle.
When Ruby King’s mother is found murdered in their home in Chicago’s South Side, the police dismiss it as another act of violence in a black neighborhood. But for Ruby, it’s a devastating loss that leaves her on her own with her violent father. While she receives many condolences, her best friend, Layla, is the only one who understands how this puts Ruby in jeopardy.
Their closeness is tested when Layla’s father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away. But what is the price for turning a blind eye? In a relentless quest to save Ruby, Layla uncovers the murky loyalties and dangerous secrets that have bound their families together for generations. Only by facing this legacy of trauma head-on will Ruby be able to break free.
An unforgettable debut novel, Saving Ruby King is a powerful testament that history doesn’t determine the present and the bonds of friendship can forever shape the future.
Dysfunctional family and friendships of Chicago’s black culture
Saving Ruby King is not a light read. It is an emotional story dealing with numerous issues affecting life of black families in Chicago over the decades. The issues include family relations; domestic violence; murder; deep secrets; discrimination; church, and friendship among others. This story is told by the various characters point of view. The church building even has its view shared, which I think is one of the most affecting/emotional ones in the novel. There were numerous complex characters which the author gave voice to. It took me a little bit to get into the story; there were many characters and time periods, all a bit confusing in the beginning, but I soon sorted it out and the writing became clearer.
Reviewed by Comfy Chair Books (May 24, 2020)
ARC provided by Publisher via Netgalley
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Adel West is an editor living and working in Chicago. She graduated with both her Bachelors and Masters of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Her work is published in Black Fox, Five2One, Better than Starbucks, Doors Ajar, 805 Lit + Art, The Helix Magazine, Lunch Ticket and Gay Magazine. Saving Ruby King is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @cawest329.