Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, Ruby Jean Upshaw is the kind of girl who knows what she wants and knows how to get it.Read more...
Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, Ruby Jean Upshaw is the kind of girl who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. By the time she's fifteen, Ruby has a taste for fast men and cheap liquor, and not even her preacher daddy can set her straight. Only Othella Mae Cartier, daughter of the town tramp, understands what makes Ruby tick.
When Ruby discovers she's in the family way, she's scared for the first time in her life. After hiding her growing belly, Ruby secretly gives birth to a baby girl at Othella's house. Othella talks Ruby into giving the child away--and with the help of a shocking revelation, convinces Ruby to run off with her to New Orleans.
But nothing can erase Ruby's memories of her child--or quell her simmering rage at Othella for persuading her to let her precious baby go. Someday there will be a reckoning. And Othella will learn that no one knows how to exact revenge quite like Ruby Jean Upshaw. . .
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-04-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Mary Monroe's prequel to The Upper Room reintroduces readers to Mama Ruby, a fierce and indomitable woman. This time Monroe focuses on Ruby's early adolescence as the youngest daughter of a preacher in 1930s Louisiana. While her parents shelter her from the harsh world, Ruby is eager for adult sensations, especially sex, and embraces her desire when she meets the promiscuous Othella and her brother, Ike. Ruby and Othella experiment with neighborhood boys and Ruby soon gets pregnant. Othella and her mother persuade her to give the baby up at birth, and doing so haunts Ruby forever. Ruby and Othella then flee smalltown life only to become prostitutes in New Orleans and take part in a killing. Though readers new to the series will have to accept the dialect, ever-present threat of violence, and explicit sex scenes, they'll appreciate the compelling period and the unapologetic characters. Familiarity with The Upper Room smooths the way. (June)