Ruby’s quest to find an ideal career that will leave her feeling fulfilled is fast paced and packed full of characters to hold your interest. Ruby’s story involves much more than the jobs she tries out and her sexual encounters as we also get involved in the community in Putney (where she lives) and also some of the people she meets through her jobs become a part of her every day life.
I have to admit that my first impression of Ruby left me feeling that I couldn’t identify with her. To me she came across as really shallow and being the central character, wasn’t sure how this would affect the rest of the story for me. Then we get to meet her brother Sam, her elderly neighbour Margaret and she becomes close to a resident in the home for retired actors …….. where Ruby becomes this very caring and self-sacrificing person. This made me think that there was more to Ruby than I was seeing on the surface but I couldn’t re-evaluate how I felt because I didn’t like the sexual choices she made when drunk (I was angry that she could make herself so vulnerable) or the way she sometimes showed a lack of respect for the men that came her way. It wasn’t until I was three quarters through the story that my feelings changed towards her and I liked her for who she was. Despite my dislike of Ruby for such a big part of her story, it didn’t stop me from enjoying all the different parts that make up her story! It’s good that a character provokes strong feelings in me whether negative or positive.
There are quite a few characters we meet as Ruby goes through the year but at no point did I lose who was who and why they were a part of the story. I’ve only realised recently that not all people remember characters/plots as I do. It was during a discussion between my husband, a friend and myself. Neither of them read because they put a book down and when they pick it up next they’ve forgotten what they’ve read before (and so magazines are their preferred choice of reading material). I am assuming that if you’re reading my review then you are a book reader but if you do get lost with characters, the characters that matter (I think) will stay in your mind because we meet them again and again.
Gorgeous George, a gardener who is a resident in Ruby’s road, is the man who really captures Ruby’s feelings. Although they both feel the same, life takes them off on different paths. Instead of a boring hello each time their paths cross in the mornings on their way to work, Nicola May has George holding a different item of gardening paraphernalia and they exchange witty banter. This made me chuckle.
There is plenty of humour scattered throughout the pages and I found myself laughing out loud at some of the antics.
I love it when things go full circle and tie-in and there’s plenty of that in Ruby’s different jobs. Nicola May has some characters Ruby meets in one job surfacing in another ……………….. and her previous love interests crop up while doing another job and she finds resolution. This makes the story whole as opposed to twelve different stories for the twelve different jobs. A clever concept!
I enjoyed reading about the different jobs and thought the one Ruby chose to take further was perfect for her seeing as she had such a natural flair for it!
This is a perfect book for a summer’s day or even for a day of snuggling up while the rain taps on the window. It will give you a much-deserved refreshing break from the stresses and strains of life.
I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy to review.