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A Virtuous Woman
A Virtuous Woman
Author: Kaye Gibbons
When Blinking Jack Stokes met Ruby Pitt Woodrow, she was 20 and he was 40. She was the carefully raised daughter of Carolina gentry and he was a skinny tenant farmer who had never owned anything in his life. She was newly widowed after a disastrous marriage to a brutal drifter. He had never asked a woman to do more than help him hitch a mule. Th...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780375703065
ISBN-10: 0375703063
Publication Date: 11/5/1997
Pages: 176
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 345 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed A Virtuous Woman on + 352 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 18
A terrible title as I don't see how it relates to this little bittersweet tale at all.
It is a love story that can be read in a few consecutive hours, but should haunt you for days, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps the Southern tone...I'm a sucker there. Or that it is half told by an old man reminiscing...I'm a sucker there, too. And told somewhat from the grave...
In thinking about this, and trying to write out the plot here without looking it up on amazon, I can't. I don't know what the plot is. And I don't care.
I highly recommend this little book.
reviewed A Virtuous Woman on + 110 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Bought it because it was an Oprah Book and looked interesting.. Very sweet yet sad story of a broken man that finds comfort only to have it all change on him. Definately a different kind of read. you were in just about every characters thought at some point in the story.
reviewed A Virtuous Woman on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Alovely, simple tale of a marriage.
reviewed A Virtuous Woman on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I absolutely love Kaye Gibbons and her ability to use voice in her writing. This novel is no exception. As usual, she examines the point of view of southern female characters and Ruby Pitt Woodrow does not dissappoint. Her background would lead one to expect that she would marry up in society, but reality has another course for her to follow. Very readable and relatable. I highly recommend this novel.
reviewed A Virtuous Woman on + 83 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Oprah Book Club® Selection, October 1997: Gibbons's novel, A Virtuous Woman, takes place in the same hardscrabble part of the world as Ellen Foster. The virtuous woman is Ruby Pitt Woodrow, a woman who might have ended up like Ellen Foster's mother if fate, in the shape of Jack Stokes, hadn't crossed her path. The daughter of prosperous farmers, Ruby runs off with a migrant worker who treats her badly, then abandons her far from home. When she meets Jack, a man 20 years her senior, she's working as a cleaning woman in another prosperous farmer's house. Jack is a man women don't look at even once, let alone twice; Ruby is a woman who needs someone to take care of her. Out of this unlikely union grows a quiet kind of love that is no less powerful for being unstated.

Ellen Foster and A Virtuous Woman share more than just location and a few characters in common. Though each is a complete novel in and of itself, taken together the two books resonate one another: Ellen Foster and Ruby Pitt Woodrow are both damaged people who find the kind of love they need to heal. These multilayered novels are tough-minded and resolutely unsentimental, just like their protagonists. Yet like Ellen and Ruby, each contains a nut of sweetness at its core that takes the bitter edge off the hard lives and hard stories Kaye Gibbons has to tell.

From Publishers Weekly
Jack Stokes and Ruby Pitt weave this strong, tightly knit love story in alternating chapters that begin when Jack, grieving over Ruby's death four months earlier, evokes the past. In flashbacks, the two richly cadenced Southern voices explore their vastly differing backgrounds, troubled histories and their unlikely but loving marriage. Born into a proud, prominent country family, coddled and adored, Ruby stuns her parents and two brothers by inexplicably running off with John Woodrow, a migrant worker who savagely abuses her. When John is killed in a brawl, Ruby, too proud to ask her family for help, begins doing housework for the wealthy Hoover family, where she meets Jack, a laconic, immensely capable tenant farmer on the Hoover land. He is 40; she is 20. Both lonely and vulnerable, they regard each other cautiously, carry on a wary courtship and embark on a firmly grounded marriage. The union is enriched by a small, supportive circle of friends, who, like the couple's landlord, Burr, are sharply etched and convincingly drawn. Gibbons, author of the critically praised Ellen Foster , has written a vivid, unsentimental, powerful novel. Literary Guild and Double day Book Club alternates.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition
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reviewed A Virtuous Woman on + 14 more book reviews
Well written inside a life AND DEATH
reviewed A Virtuous Woman on + 160 more book reviews
This book is an Oprah's Book Club selection. It's not the worst book that I've ever read; it's not the best book. It's just OK. It is about Blinking Jack Stokes and his wife Ruby Pitts Woodrow Stokes and each chapter alternates between the two of them (though it's not delineated anywhere so it does get a bit confusing if you put the book down, pick it up later and you think you are reading it from his perspective, but it's really from her point of view). Ruby was 20 years old and newly a widow when they met, and he was a 40 year old tenant farmer. The story isn't really told in a linear fashion (but that didn't bother me much). I found many of the side characters interesting, particularly Tiny Fran, she made me want to smack her with something heavy, lol! It is a very quick read; I started it last night (Dec. 30) and finished it this morning (Dec. 31). If I didn't have to go to sleep or take care of laundry and things in the meantime, I probably could have read this in less than 3 uninterrupted hours. It's a good book to pass the time with, but nothing extraordinary.
reviewed A Virtuous Woman on + 205 more book reviews
very good