Ruby’s Spoon

By Anna Lawrence Pietroni

The Short Take:

The momentum of this book’s plot just keeps building, and what a fascinating ride it is. Fears and secrets, dreams and despair — Lawrence Pietroni has packed plenty and to spare in her first novel. And her almost-14-year-old heroine, Ruby, has all the tenacity and three times the energy of Oz’s famous Dorothy. This book just kept getting better the deeper I delved.


The fascination starts with this novel’s time and place: Black Country, England in the 1930s. However, the small community of Cradle Cross seems from an earlier era, where one company dominates a whole town and people still use charms for protection. Now introduce a lonely and motherless girl who meets an exotic looking woman on a mission and immediately becomes her ally.

That would be enough for a good plot right there, but there’s much more to come in this rich read.

Lawrence Pietroni has a marvelous way of introducing seemingly insignificant mysteries  — as in the mere part of a name — and then weaving their revelations into the advancement of her plot, adding layers of interest to her storytelling. This densely atmospheric novel captures the oppression of a town worn down by grief and hardship, so insular the smallest act immediately becomes everyone’s business, and strangers are viewed with hostility.

But Ruby’s Spoon is not dark and depressing — the lively and highly likable Ruby brings brightness to every page, just as she strives to bring light to the mysteries that swirl around her new friend and herself.

A Little Plot:

White-haired Isa Fly appears in Cradle Cross and immediately Ruby is caught in her quest for a lost half-sister. Isa also finds a friend in the new heir to Blick’s Button Factory, Truda Blick. While Ruby goes around asking about this missing person, Truda Blick finds she must make unpopular choices to keep her factory afloat. Both sets of actions upset the townsfolk and witchy-seeming Isa Fly becomes the focus of their hatred.

It’s a dangerous situation and Ruby races to keep Isa and Truda safe as well as solve an ever growing series of mysteries.

I didn’t come across a website for this new author, but to enjoy the author giving a short reading and some more background at a setting inspiration, click here. It’s worth clicking for sure.

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