I’m not too picky when it comes to books. There are topics and genres I enjoy more than others, but I have never rejected reading a novel based on either of those. Even when I realise that a certain story is not that great of a read, I’ll push through and finish it. I believe authors should be given a chance and I try not to judge a book by its cover (yes, I won’t give up my day job just yet). Sometimes I want my books to be demanding, but I enjoy an easy book on my morning commute. After all, being half awake and pushed and showed by my fellow commuters isn’t the right time for a heavy book.
The most recent book I read was the family saga Ruby Flynn by Nadine Dorries and it had me hooked from the first pages. It’s beautifully written, with rich enough, but not too long-winded descriptions to help you completely immerse yourself into the Irish countryside or working-class alleys of Liverpool.
The novel is set in Ireland and Liverpool, two contrasting areas, Ballyford castle in the countryside on one side of the Irish Sea and the docks of Liverpool on the other.
Lord Charles and his wife are very much loved by their tenants despite the tragedy that keeps disturbing their lives. Because of an old curse, the FitzDeanes aren’t able to produce a male heir and have suffered the loss of more than one child. Lord Charles spends more time with his growing shipping business in Liverpool and Lady Isobel rarely leaves the nursery. Ruby is brought to the castle to help Lady Isobel and she soon feels as if she knows Ballyford and belongs there.
Ruby lost her family when she was 12 years old in one of the worst winter storms people can remember and was brought up in a convent and designated for a life in service.
The novel is filled with enough intrigue, mysteries and character developments to make the reader want to continue. I was instantly taken in by the writing and the beautiful, strong Ruby. Despite the hardships of life, she remained true to herself, stubborn and not afraid to voice her opinion, believing herself to be equal to Lord Charles.
There are bits of the book that are predictable, such as the ending, which is reminiscent of fairy-tales and it felt a bit rushed. There are bits that are annoying, such as Lord Charles not being there for his wife. His excuse is that they never loved each other and that she blames him for the loss of the babies, but in my opinion, she is still his wife and he should be by her side rather than running off to Liverpool and chase women.
All in all the book is an engaging and easy read and it contains a good mix of friendship, love, hate, resentment, family history, humour and sadness to never be boring. I’ll be reading more books by Nadine Dorries soon.