A “vivid, unsentimental, powerful” portrait of a Southern marriage by the New York Times–bestselling author of Ellen Foster (Publishers Weekly).
She hasn’t been dead four months and I’ve already eaten to the bottom of the deep freeze. I even ate the green peas. Used to I wouldn’t turn my hand over for green peas . . .
Ruby Stokes has died too young and left her husband, Blinking Jack, behind. With alternating entries from each of them, A Virtuous Woman recounts the tale of their years together in an “exquisitely realised piece of writing” (Elizabeth Buchan, The Mail on Sunday).
From their very different backgrounds—Ruby a daughter of wealth, Jack a penniless tenant farmer—to their relationships with their landlord and his family, and the strength they drew from each other in the face of hardship, this story of a marriage is “full of fantastically gritty metaphors . . . A book that will change your dreams” (The Observer).
“Gibbons again flawlessly reproduces the humor and idiom of rural eastern North Carolina.” —Library Journal
Jack Stokes and Ruby Pitt weave this strong, tightly knit love story in alternating chapters that begin when Jack, grieving over Ruby's death four months earlier, evokes the past. In flashbacks, the two richly cadenced Southern voices explore their vastly differing backgrounds, troubled histories and their unlikely but loving marriage. Born into a proud, prominent country family, coddled and adored, Ruby stuns her parents and two brothers by inexplicably running off with John Woodrow, a migrant worker who savagely abuses her. When John is killed in a brawl, Ruby, too proud to ask her family for help, begins doing housework for the wealthy Hoover family, where she meets Jack, a laconic, immensely capable tenant farmer on the Hoover land. He is 40; she is 20. Both lonely and vulnerable, they regard each other cautiously, carry on a wary courtship and embark on a firmly grounded marriage. The union is enriched by a small, supportive circle of friends, who, like the couple's landlord, Burr, are sharply etched and convincingly drawn. Gibbons, author of the critically praised Ellen Foster , has written a vivid, unsentimental, powerful novel. Literary Guild and Double day Book Club alternates.