My Friday Post: Iris and Ruby by Rosie Thomas

Book Beginnings Button

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

This week I’ve been looking at some of my TBRs deciding which one to read next and came across Iris and Ruby by Rosie Thomas. It’s been on my shelves a long time – 12 years – it really is time I read it!

Iris and Ruby

I remember.

And even as I say the words aloud in the silent room and hear the whisper dying away in the shadows of the house, I realise it’s not true.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

30879-friday2b56These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

‘I remember the Blitz. the beginning of it anyway. Then I came out here, to Cairo, to work.’

‘ Did you? How come?’

‘That’s the beginning of another long story.’


The unexpected arrival of her wilful teenage granddaughter, Ruby, brings life and disorder to 82-year-old Iris Black’s old house in Cairo. Ruby, driven away from England by her fraught relationship with her own mother, is seeking refuge with the grandmother she hasn’t seen for years.

An unlikely bond develops as Ruby helps Iris document her fading memories of the glittering, cosmopolitan Cairo of World War Two, and of her one true love – the enigmatic Captain Xan Molyneux – whom she lost to the ravages of war.

This lost love shaped Iris’s past – and will affect Ruby’s future in ways they could not have imagined…


What do you think? Would you keep reading?

16 thoughts on “My Friday Post: Iris and Ruby by Rosie Thomas

  1. This sounds like a really interesting story, Margaret. The Cairo setting really appeals to me, too. Sometimes those individual stories give such a great perspective on a society or a time, and it sounds like we get that here. I’ll b e interested in what you think of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read this one. I’m never quite sure what I think about Rosie Thomas’ books! I’ll be very interested in your thoughts on this one, Margaret.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sandra, I’ve only read one of Rosie Thomas’ books before – The Kashmir Shawl – and I wasn’t too impressed. So, I don’t have high hopes for this one. I bought Iris and Ruby before I read The Kashmir Shawl, which was a book group read – and not my choice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Margaret, my reading of Iris & Ruby was also for a book club. I had read a couple of hers before that but I’ve read nothing from her since. I feel that I ought to like her books when I’m in the right mood yet I’m not left feeling satisfied having read one. I hope this one proves better than you expect – but I won’t hold my breath!


    1. I think it may not be my sort of book either, but as I replied to Margot’s comment the setting appeals and the loss of memory aspect. It’s a good exercise to go through my outstanding TBRs and decide whether to read them or not. I bought Iris and Ruby as part of those 3 for 2 book offers at Waterstones years ago – sometimes that’s not such a bargain. I shall see …


  3. Rosie Thomas isn’t an author I have read before. From the teasers you shared, I like this one right way. I hope you have a great week, Margaret.


Comments are closed.