Set in the South Side of Chicago, an epic, enthralling story of a young woman determined to protect her best friend while a long-buried secret threatens to unravel both their families.
Family. Faith. Secrets. Everything in this world comes full circle.
When Ruby King’s mother is found murdered in their home in Chicago’s South Side, the police dismiss it as another act of violence in a black neighborhood. But for Ruby, it means she’ll be living alone with her violent father. The only person who understands the gravity of her situation is Ruby’s best friend, Layla. Their closeness is tested when Layla’s father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away. But what are his true motives? And what is the price for turning a blind eye?
In a relentless quest to save Ruby, Layla comes to discover the murky loyalties & dark secrets tying their families together for three generations. A crucial pilgrimage through the racially divided landscape of Chicago, ‘Saving Ruby King’ traces the way trauma is passed down through generations & the ways in which communities can come together to create sanctuary.
‘Saving Ruby King‘ is an emotional & revelatory story of race, family secrets, faith & redemption. This is an unforgettable debut novel from an exciting new voice in fiction and a powerful testament that history doesn’t determine the present, and that the bonds of friendship can forever shape the future.
This book is absolutely incredible & it should be on every bookclub’s radar because there are just so many areas of discussion. It is a very timely, relevant, powerful, well-written debut novel that brought out so many emotions while reading it. The book is told from several POV’s to convey the varying viewpoints of the fiction community. There are some very heavy themes covered in this book, too. (I have also heard rumors that West is writing a prequel to this book that focuses on Sara King, so I look fwd to that!)
“Saving Ruby King” is complex, nuanced, poignant & thought-provoking, & you will long to discuss it with other readers. This book was released on 6/16. I highly recommend this 5-star read! Look for it today at an independent bookstore by using BookStoreLink to find one near you.
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What others are saying about “Saving Ruby King”:
“In the midst of widespread protests and calls to end racial injustice, the conversations and understanding tackled in Saving Ruby King are all significant reflections of this country’s reality today.” – Parade Magazine
“Family, friendship, secrets…this rich, suspenseful page-turner has it all.” – Woman’s World
“Incorporating compelling perspectives, this is a powerful story of family, faith and friendship.” – MS. Magazine
“Saving Ruby King is a stunning force of a novel that has everything anyone could want in a family saga—honey-dipped prose, strikingly human characters, and a satisfying, soul-stirring conclusion that will stay with me for a long, long time.”
– Zakiya Harris, author of THE OTHER BLACK GIRL
“Told with teeth and tenderness, SAVING RUBY KING is a surprising, pedal-down debut that explores what happens when the fabrics of family, faith, and friendship snag on violent machinations of the heart. Redemption and survival share a pew with reckoning and hope here, all tangled up with the ties that bind. Catherine Adel West gifts us Chicago, the black church, and a choir of flawed, wonderfully complicated characters who flash fresh with every turn of the page, who stand against the wind, who won’t go down without a fight.”
– Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Whiskey & Ribbons and So We Can Glow
“What an astonishing book. Catherine Adel West breathes life into violence and mayhem like a poet on a new day. These are the stories we need to hear: voices of hope in a wilderness of pain.”
– Rene Denfeld, bestselling author of The Child Finder and The Butterfly Girl
“West is a bold, exciting new voice in fiction. With honesty and compassion, she brings readers beyond the headlines into the real south side of Chicago where love, church, and family abide. She makes us think not only about saving Ruby King, but about finding our own redemption as we save ourselves individually and collectively. In this assured debut, West deftly breathes life into this community with characters you’ll cry with and root for long after the last page.”
– Nancy Johnson, author of The Kindest Lie
“[An] Ambitious, keenly observant debut… West’s tale of grace, redemption, and hope would translate handily to the screen. This should enjoy wide popularity with book groups.”
– Publishers Weekly
“West uses a fresh approach to covering not only several decades of family history, but also complex themes including the ways in which close communities can nourish and harm their members; how friendships and family ties can hold intimacy and distance; the way misunderstandings and trauma can pass down the generations; and the difference between a relationship with God and a church. The characters, language, and plot come together for a story full of hard truths, insight, and warmth…a daring, dynamic story.
A multilayered love letter to South Side Chicago’s African American faith-based community.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“West delivers her debut with an honesty that jumps off the pages and into the laps of her readers. Telling Ruby’s story from multiple points of view, West writes with a precision that makes the story sing, with clear language and poetic imagery.”
“A story of intrigue and heartbreaking family secrets… A fresh look into the church community of Chicago’s South Side with a bold female perspective.”
– Library Journal
Catherine Adel West graduated with both her BA and MA in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her work has been published in Gay Magazine, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Five2One, Better Than Starbucks, and others. Catherine was born and raised in Chicago. Saving Ruby King is her debut novel.