Ruby Jewell is 45, never married, and has never quite recovered from the losses of her devastating childhood and death of her sister Daisy, to whom she was closer than anyone. Her heart is now as guarded as if it were surrounded by sharp barbs, which turns out to be the case literally when Ruby follows her dog Clementine into the woods, and both of them are attacked by a porcupine.
Nevertheless, Ruby helps further the romances of everyone else in the small town of Creekside, Washington, both in her job as the owner of a flower shop and as a caring confidant to her customers. But as for Ruby herself? Her good friend and floral supplier Cooper compares her to a “bullet” – a rose bud that doesn’t open.
Ruby’s life takes a turn when some new people enter her life: a ten-year old very lovable boy named Will whose mother has died, a charming former astronaut who had a spiritual awakening from his time in space, and the new handsome town veterinarian. All of them are suffering from losses of their own, and all of them seek a form of closeness with Ruby. But can she heal herself enough to take out those quills that guard her heart and overcome the fear of loss that might come with love?
Evaluation: This is a pleasant if predictable book that might be just the thing for a summer beach read. Take some kleenex along for the touching parts!
Published by Berkley Books, a member of the Penguin Group, 2014