Category author Curtiss Ann Matlock makes a triumphant jump into single title releases with her beautiful and touching novel THE LOVES OF RUBY DEE.

Following the death of her former patient and friend, practical nurse Ruby Dee D'Angelo is looking for a place to start over. The ad for a housekeeper/nurse for the Starr Ranch sounds like just the ticket, but little does Ruby Dee realize the emotional wasteland she will be entering.

Hardy Starr is a mean, ill-tempered 85-year-old man. He is also the owner of the Starr Ranch and he hasn't ever let his two sons, Will and Lonnie, forget it. Despite the fact that Will has been running the ranch for years, Hardy refuses to allow him any real authority. Yet Will refuses to abandon his father, out of a stubborn sense of loyalty.

Ruby Dee's arrival thoroughly shakes up the all-male Starr household. She takes charge from the very beginning and somehow manages to reach through the layers of self-protection that hold Hardy at bay, simultaneously inflaming the heart and passion of longtime bachelor Will.

The divisions between father and sons are deep and wide. Can Ruby Dee find a way to bring these lonely men together?

THE LOVES OF RUBY DEE is a wonderfully crafted and thoroughly heartwarming tale of misfits and loners learning to share and love each other. (Feb., 400 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith