“Migrations of the Heart Vol. 1”
Synopsis from Goodreads:
An unexpected love in a small, Southern town.
After fifteen months of hiding from the shame of bearing an illegitimate child, two words drive Ruby Bledsoe to face the good citizens of Winslow, Georgia. Never again. She vows to speak out against injustice. For her sisters. For her parents. For her infant son, Solomon.
When she comes to help an injured mill worker, she bristles when a tall, handsome man claiming to be a doctor brushes her aside. Despite his arrogance, Ruby senses he’s someone like her, whose light skin doesn’t quite hide who he is.
Up north, Dr. Adam Morson easily kept his mixed race a secret. Now that he’s in Georgia, summoned by his white father, he can feel restrictions closing in around him.
Something powerful draws him to the beauty whose activist spirit is as fiery as her name. And soon, Adam wants nothing more than to take Ruby and her child far from Georgia’s toxic prejudice. But Ruby must choose between seeking her own happiness and staying to fight for the soul of her hometown.
Warning: Contains a doctor learning there’s more to healing his patients than stitching a wound, and more to a woman than knowing her place—and it’s not in the shadows with her head down. Sorry, Buckeye fans, this hero’s a Wolverine—but we won’t hold that against him.
A Virtuous Ruby reminded me a lot of Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Not in the storyline, as they really couldn’t be much more different, despite being during the approximately the same time period, and both being set in the south. It’s more the writing – that slow, languorous way of storytelling that’s almost deceptive because it lulls you into thinking that the characters and plotline are slow, and it doesn’t really hit you until later how much is really happening underneath the surface.
Ruby belongs to the modern age, but unfortunately for her, she was born in a time where her opinions, and her drive to help her people were just considered “troublemaking.” Everyone seems to think they have a right to “own” her, and tell her what she should be doing or not doing. There are a very few people in this book who seem content to let Ruby be who she wants to be.
It was heartbreaking for me to see how frightened the people around her were, and how few choices she really had. Meeting Adam opened up more options to her, but for her to go after her dreams she would have to walk away from so much that was important to her. And in some ways, I still felt in the end that she was having to compromise so much, and choose the lesser evil, and it made me hard to feel that her happy ending was really happy.
This isn’t a perfect book: there are some things that happen a little too quickly and/or easily; some things happen a little bit too conveniently, but it is a very good book, and I can definitely recommend it.
Rating: 4/5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.