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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Ruby and Sal by Jane O'Brien is the first book in The Unforgettables series, gripping and utterly fascinating. Encouraged by her friend, Ivy starts writing the story of her great-grandmother, Ruby, a woman who lived to be 102 years old. Now, the author is transported into the life and experiences of her great-grandmother, living through the challenging times of the Great Depression in the 1920s and the 1930s. What follows is a tale of hardship and romance. It is interesting to notice the historical elements of the period within which this story is set. This is a novel that will capture the hearts of fans of women's fiction and historical novels as well as those who love romance. A story that connects two lives in a mysterious way — one ebbing and another budding!
The story starts in the nursing home, with Ivy feeling feverish with quickened breathing, trying to calm her nerves. The author captures her mood and feelings every time she visits the place. I found it to be a very interesting way to open a story that is emotionally and psychologically intense. The characters, especially the heroine of the story, are well-developed and readers will enjoy watching them evolve against a memorable background. Jane O'Brien has a unique gift for setting and the ability to blend political, historical, and cultural elements into the story in a way that makes it cinematic, feeding readers vivid images. Ruby and Sal is a satisfactory read, indeed. You won’t find it easy putting it down.