Fall is the craziest time for me at work. It’s my busy season if I were an accountant. My three months of Black Fridays if I were in retail. And it’s a time that I don’t need anything extra going on, but there always is something a little extra. This time it’s an upcoming week off in Boston (timed for the change in season, not my workload) and, of course, this project. So I reached this week for a book I have had for years: A VIRTUOUS WOMAN by Kaye Gibbons.

I fell immediately into this slender love story, told in alternating chapters by Jack Stokes and Ruby Pitt Woodrow, seemingly mismatched lovers with about 20 years separating them. Jack was nothing to look at, but knew the moment he set his eyes on Ruby that she was a girl he could marry. Ruby, having just come out of an abusive marriage was looking for someone safe and kind. It was this connection, a desire to love and be loved, that seemed to work for them.

At the start of the book, we learn that Ruby has succumbed to a difficult and much to early battle with cancer. Jack is stumbling through this loss and it is through his memories and her narrative prior to her death that we learn what a rich love they had, despite or in spite of their circumstances.

A VIRTUOUS WOMAN is a lovely story told with a southern lilt that I always enjoy reading. It’s not a book that will change your world, but one that can take you away from it, if only for a few hours, and expose you to an uncommon but richly told story of enduring love.

Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 176
Genre: Fiction