Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons **

This is a book that's been in my TBR for a really long time - I don't know if my sister gave it to me or I picked it up at a library sale (not likely, from the description). It seems it was an Oprah Book Club pick at some time (or I thought I read that somewhere...)

From the blurb, I expected a love story, and from the opening I knew it wasn't going to be a romance since the heroine died of cancer. But somehow I never got it. I never saw the love story. OK, she married young, into a bad, abusive marriage, even though her upbringing was apparently solid and Dick-and-Jane. In her own words, it was her family's fault for never letting her make her own mistakes as a child (??) - not sure what that is about. The first husband died, and somehow that we are never privy to, she marries Jack who is 20 years her elder.

The story is first told, in first person, from each character's POV, back and forth. His after her death, hers just before. The last chapter is then from several POVs - the neighbor, the neighbor's daughter, Jack's. And it ended without any resolution for me. Plus I never even felt sad, not for Ruby, not for Jack. It just affected me like it was a 90 second story on the news: a woman, married to a man 20 years older, got cancer and died today, leaving him grieving.

So it was a 2-star read for me. I wasn't drawn into the story. I didn't care about the characters. OK - it does count for the Winter 2009 Challenge for my 2nd book that's been in the TBR a long time, though.