Brunch At Ruby’s
by D. L. White
Ruby’s Soul Food Cafe has been the neighborhood hot spot their whole lives, so it’s only fitting that Ruby’s is where Debra, Maxine and Renee meet monthly to do what girlfriends do– eat, drink and offer unsolicited advice on life and love.
Debra Macklin has it all: a successful career, a long marriage and a happy 12 year old daughter. But she’s hiding a secret that could not only shatter her perfect image, but destroy her marriage and career. When her secret is spilled, Debra is poised to lose everything she holds dear.
Maxine Donovan is a self made woman but despite all she earns and owns, she’s on a constant quest for Mr. Right. Handsome, aloof Malcolm Brooks might just be The One, but when Malcolm’s attention turns toward her friend instead, Maxine is ready to risk a strong bond to fight for him.
Renee Gladwell left a lucrative job and a handsome boyfriend to nurse her father and Gladwell Books back to health. A temporary stay has turned into four years of struggling with Alzheimer’s and a family owned bookstore that is in no shape to sell. Renee is in limbo, caring for a man who is slowly forgetting his past—including her. When she meets Malcolm Brooks, her life brightens, but is love worth risking a friendship?
Brunch at Ruby’s is a funny, inspiring, soulful look into lifelong bonds that bend but never break.
Debra, Renee and maxine have been friends since childhood. Now in their mid thirties their lives are running very different paths but they have remained friends throughout and meet up every month at Ruby’s to catch up on each other’s gossip.
Debra is married to her childhood sweetheart and they have a 12 year old daughter, Kendra. Debra is the Principal at the local school. To the outside world they have the perfect life, but Debra has been having an affair with one of her colleagues and her perfect life is about to come crumbling down.
Renee is the more quiet emotional one of the group: she cries all the time. She moved back to her home four years ago to look after her ailing father, for what she hoped would be a short spell, but as his health deteriorated she found herself trapped and the life she had made for herself lost.
Maxine is the ultra-confident businesswoman, wearing designer clothes, selling million dollar mansions and looking down her nose at everybody else. She is used to getting her way, especially with men, but when one comes along who really isn’t interested, Maxine sets herself on a course that could blow a lifelong friendship out of the water.
I have had this book on my tbr pile since April and am embarassed to say that I have only just managed to get round to reading it. I hope the author, D. L. White, forgives me, but I really don’t think I can forgive myself. If I’d known what a little gem I had on my hands it would have shot up my reading list long before now.
I loved the characters in this book they are all well-drawn, but especially the three friends: strong, resilient women, falling into lives none of them expected and trying to cope as best they can. Even Maxine with all her money and attitude is far from happy.
It would take a heart of stone not to feel for Renee, her mother dying then her father’s early onset Alzheimer’s, meaning that her life was put on hold indefinitely. Then when she finally has some luck it sets her against one of her best friends.
But the story with the biggest impact is Debra’s. Such a common tale of husband and wife taking each other for granted, leading inexorably to mistakes, regrets, recriminations and pain. The author handles this story so well, giving it emotion and depth.
Special mention should go to Kendra, Debra’s daughter who is a delight. Stuck, as she is, in the middle of an impossible situation, she really shows the adults how to behave.
I really enjoyed this book, it brilliantly explores the sometimes inscrutable bonds that women have. I will be looking out for more of this author’s work and I really want to go for a meal at Ruby’s. 🙂