Title: A Virtuous Woman
Publisher: Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, NC
Publication Date: 1989
Book Condition: As New
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
New and unread copy. Signed by Kaye Gibbons during author event at Pass Christian Books. Oprah Book Club logo on front dust jacket. A clean and tight copy. Not price clipped. No remainder marks. Bookseller Inventory # 000115
Synopsis: Two unforgettable characters, Jack Ernest Stokes, known as Blinking Jack, and his wife, Ruby Pitt Woodrow Stokes, tell the story of their years together. Jack was forty and Ruby only twenty when they were married. For twenty-five years they lived together, man and wife, until Ruby died of lung cancer. A LITERARY GUILD AND DOUBLEDAY BOOK CLUB selection.
Review: Oprah Book Club® Selection, October 1997: Gibbons's novel, A Virtuous Woman, takes place in the same hardscrabble part of the world as Ellen Foster. The virtuous woman is Ruby Pitt Woodrow, a woman who might have ended up like Ellen Foster's mother if fate, in the shape of Jack Stokes, hadn't crossed her path. The daughter of prosperous farmers, Ruby runs off with a migrant worker who treats her badly, then abandons her far from home. When she meets Jack, a man 20 years her senior, she's working as a cleaning woman in another prosperous farmer's house. Jack is a man women don't look at even once, let alone twice; Ruby is a woman who needs someone to take care of her. Out of this unlikely union grows a quiet kind of love that is no less powerful for being unstated.
Ellen Foster and A Virtuous Woman share more than just location and a few characters in common. Though each is a complete novel in and of itself, taken together the two books resonate one another: Ellen Foster and Ruby Pitt Woodrow are both damaged people who find the kind of love they need to heal. These multilayered novels are tough-minded and resolutely unsentimental, just like their protagonists. Yet like Ellen and Ruby, each contains a nut of sweetness at its core that takes the bitter edge off the hard lives and hard stories Kaye Gibbons has to tell.
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