Book Review: Ruby Blues by Jessica Rudd

Rating: ★★★★☆

Ruby Stanhope, the delightfully imperfect star of last year’s chick lit sensation Campaign Ruby, returns to answer that perennial question – what happened next? It’s two years since Max Masters became prime minister and Ruby is still working for him. Her life is now a series of early mornings, late nights and endless to-do lists scrawled on the back of her hand. Something has to give and in this case it looks like being her relationship with the sartorially-challenged Luke.

If that wasn’t enough there’s a hormonally-charged pregnant lesbian aunt, an outrageously perky intern and a prime-ministerial trip to America on her plate. And to top it all off someone is trying to blackmail the PM’s chief advisor – the last thing anyone needs, especially when Max Masters’ popularity rating has sunk so dangerously low. Bettina Chu, the aforementioned intern who drives a purple Monaro decked out in Hello Kitty paraphenalia, radiates her eternal sunshine over Ruby and attempts to save the day. Ruby is not, perhaps, as appreciative of this help as she might be – however, in a complex series of twists and turns, mysteries are solved and Ruby does, of course, decide what is most important in her own life. It’s a great read that will keep you entertained as you join Ruby on the roller coaster of her everyday life

As with Campaign Ruby, there will be much speculation as to who might be disguised in the pages of Ruby Blues. After all, Jessica Rudd is the daughter of former PM Kevin Rudd and has had a privileged insider view of the inner workings of the PM’s office. She says, however, that all her characters are purely fictional but that will still leave many readers wondering. Her background in public relations has also provided invaluable fodder for her writing – and her personal political sensibilities are evidenced by the support for same-sex marriage and the value of women’s networks. The central focus of the book is Ruby’s career and the issues she encounters, she’s never going to give it all up for a ‘happy ever after’ ending.  But all of this is delivered with an admirably light touch – this is definitely women’s fiction for the twenty-first century.

Jessica Rudd is 27 and has had three career changes in as many years – law, PR, politics – but has now established herself as a writer. Ruby Blues is the sequel to her debut novel Campaign Ruby and she hopes it will give her readers as many laughs as she had writing it. Jessica is based in Beijing.

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