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Iris and Ruby

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,510 Ratings  ·  172 Reviews
Stifling, Iris Black's Cairo house is disturbed by unexpected arrival of troubled, willful granddaughter Ruby from England. Although she hasn't seen Iris for many years, they form an unlikely bond. Ruby helps Iris document deteriorating memories of glittering, cosmopolitan Cairo. WW2 one true love, enigmatic Captain Xan Molyneux, was lost to war. Iris’ early devastation sh ...more
400 pages
Published (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,664)
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Bev
Jul 15, 2013 Bev rated it really liked it
This book was on my shelf for a long time but since it looked like the perfect summer read I finally picked it up prior to going on vacation.

It is the story of a teenage girl, Ruby, who runs away from home to reside in Cairo with her grandmother, Iris. Ruby hasn't seen her grandmother in years and upon learning that her grandmother's recollection of her one true love and the years in Cairo during WW2 are slowing slipping away, Ruby resolves to help her recall and reach for those memories.

"Like s
...more
Rosie
Jul 20, 2016 Rosie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Por coincidência ultimamente, tenho lido livros que revisitam o passado através do presente e francamente aborreceu-me confrontar-me novamente com esse tipo de registo. Mas tão somente por isso, penso eu.

Foi o primeiro livro que li desta escritora e confesso que não fiquei completamente convencida. Gostei da visão desse país tão contrastante em paisagens e costumes. Por um lado, um Egipto em todo o seu esplendor por outro despido de sofisticação e modernidade. A sua capacidade de descrita e os
...more
Kate
Jul 17, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-library
I frequently find that my self chosen reading material is a good barometer of how much is going on in my life at any given moment. The light stuff represents chaos, the heavier means there is enough cognitive capacity left to think about what is trying to be said.

This then is a perfect example of the right book at the right time. It is reasonably light yet it gave me some excellent reflective pieces about life love and relationships.

An inter-generational story based around dislocation with one
...more
Andreia Silva
Acho que foi do meu estado de espírito que não apreciei como devia o livro mas acho que lhe faltou uma pimenta qualquer ..
Sue
Apr 06, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it
"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 realize that it's not true.
Because I don't, I can't remember.
I am old, and I am beginning to forget things."

Iris and Ruby is a novel about memories - both creating them and recalling them. Iris is an 82 year old doctor living in Cairo with two aged servants, in poor health and realizing that she is losing important memories of her younger years. She is estranged fr
...more
Katherine P
Apr 04, 2016 Katherine P rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-read, 2016
I don't even know where to begin with this book! There's so so so much that I loved and connected too and just truly felt.
I didn't particularly like Iris or Ruby at the beginning. Ruby is trying so hard to be shocking that it's tiresome. She's angry and immature and is really like a child in the midst of a temper tantrum. Iris is angry too. She's angry that she can't do what she used to do, she's angry that she can't remember what she wants to remember and she's angry that scared. She's used to
...more
Инна Гецова
Feb 17, 2016 Инна Гецова rated it really liked it
"Смъртта съхранява идеала. Идеалната любов, любим, дете... Разбираш ли? Историята нямаше да е романтична, щеше да се превърне в сива реалност. Дали щеше да е Зан, Гордън, брат ти или ти, аз пак щях да съм същата. Може би и тях щях да предам и изоставя. Но изживях живота си така и съм каквато съм. Лоша, добра, с недостатъци. Безразлична. Чувствах се по-добре сама, предпочитах да бъда сама. Знаех го, докато живеех в къща в провинцията или в пристройка до болницата в Танганика, в Нясаленд, в Намиби ...more
Laura Lynch
Apr 19, 2009 Laura Lynch rated it liked it
"Iris & Ruby" is the story of two women trying to find themselves. Iris is an elderly, retired doctor who is growing more forgetful and is trying to reconnect to her past. Her nineteen year old grand daughter Ruby is a bit of a rebel and looking for her place in the world.

Ruby who has not seen her grandmother in years, shows up at Iris’’ doorstep in Cairo. The two connect bringing past and present together looking at old and new love. The narration is a little confusing at times as the stor
...more
Haythem Bastawy
Jun 11, 2012 Haythem Bastawy rated it really liked it
Iris and Ruby is a very exciting novel with all the comparisons between the old and the new and glimpses of the future too. The story is set partly is WW2 Cairo and partly in the modern day one. The historical part is the memories of Iris and the new one is the story of Iris and Ruby. The novel is full of details from scents and smells to senses, feelings, fabrics and colours which brought the story to life especially the part set during WW2.

I really enjoyed it and recommend it to historical fic
...more
Alison
May 15, 2013 Alison rated it it was amazing
A detailed and moving story of three women - Iris, her daughter Lesley and granddaughter Ruby. Moving from Cairo in the 1940s, England and back to modern Cairo, it tracks the delicate and layered relationship between the three.

Beautiful writing - the clever, brief detail ensures you are there in the decayed glamour of modern Cairo and the same city of the frenetic 1940s when Rommel was threatening to over-run it.

Passion, friendship, true morality and release of repression run through the book. M
...more
Iris
Nov 03, 2011 Iris rated it it was amazing
What brought my attention to this book was that my name is Iris and my beautiful "child" (miniature pinscher!) is named Ruby. I had to have this book

However, family dramas with the trifecta problems of Crone (Grandmother), Mother (Daughter/Mom), and young Girl (Daughter/Granddaughter) always reach to my heart. This book was well worth the read and we understood why the grandmother was very tough. Her descriptions of her past life in Egypt is exceptionally beautiful, and I can see myself in the s
...more
Drunkenness Books
Merci aux éditions Charleston pour cette belle découverte ! Dans Les Brumes du Caire, nous partons faire la connaissance de trois femmes très différentes unies par les liens du sang : Iris, Lesley et Ruby.
Un beau jour, Ruby décide de fuir sa mère, Lesley, et son Angleterre natale. Mais où aller ? Elle n’a personne, sauf peut-être sa grand-mère, qu’elle connaît à peine et qui vit au Caire. Alors elle n’hésite pas, prend un billet d’avion, débarque en Égypte et vient chambouler le quotidien bien r
...more
Anne
Feb 04, 2009 Anne rated it it was amazing
Great descriptions of Egypt and the relationship between Iris and Ruby is excellent.
I have to add more to this - was thinking about this book at 5am this morning!
The relationship between Ruby and the young Egyptian boy is excellent too and the description of how his family live and what they live amongst is really haunting.
Also, a small point, but the descriptions and details of the markets, the journeys through the streets and the beautiful inner courtyard of the house are fantastic.

Suzy
Feb 21, 2016 Suzy rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I really enjoyed this book. I felt it was well written and more literary than average main stream fiction. It tells the story of Iris and her life in Cairo during World War Two, as revealed through flashbacks. She works in GHQ and meets a man who promises to change her life. In the present Ruby (Iris' granddaughter) runs away from home to visit Iris who's living alone in Cairo. The story is simple but I found it endearing and interesting. It reveals how lives are affected by key moments and how ...more
Eva Whiteley
Dec 27, 2014 Eva Whiteley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cairo, romance, history
Romantic fiction is not a genre that I dip into often as I find a lot of this genre fanciful with unbelievable plots and characters. What made me pick up Iris and Ruby was the setting where the story is told. At the time of reading this book visiting Cairo had been at the top of my bucket list. I loved reading Iris and Ruby. The characters are believable and far from perfect with a reminiscence storyline that has a refreshing not so happy ending that pulls at the heartstrings. A well written and ...more
Judy
Jun 13, 2015 Judy rated it really liked it
Loved it. The story brought back many memories of Cairo, a great read.
Linda Smatzny
May 11, 2016 Linda Smatzny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Iris and her granddaughter,Ruby. Ruby leaves England to visit her grandmother, Iris in Cairo,Egypt. Iris is 83 years old and her memories are leaving her which makes her afraid. Ruby tries to get her to tell her the stories but Iris can only seem to say words but not the actual thoughts. The reader gets all the stories even if Ruby doesn't. It is the story of Iris and her great love during the war years in Cairo. Ruby is seeking acceptance but doesn't seem to want to earn it ...more
Beth
Apr 21, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it
Loved this book !
Vanessa Silva
PT: Iris e Ruby. Avó e neta. A avó com grandes feridas por sarar e um grande desejo de passar o resto dos seus dias sozinha. Até que chega a sua neta e coloca-lhe o mundo de pernas para o ar. Ficamos assim a conhecer a história de vida de Iris que se passa durante a segunda guerra mundial. Mas existe um problema. Iris começa a ter perdas de memória devido ao avançar da idade e será a sua neta, Ruby que vai ajuda-la com as lembranças. Por outro lado Ruby tens as suas próprias magoas e aprenderá u ...more
Fluffychick
Jul 18, 2010 Fluffychick rated it really liked it
Iris Black is living out her final years in a once grand but now decaying Cairo house but her isolated world is turned upside down when her teenage granddaughter, Ruby, appears unexpectedly. Ruby is running away from a personal tragedy and a difficult relationship with her mother. Ruby and Iris haven't seen each other for years the intrusion creates tension and resentment from all in the Cairo household.
However, to avoid being sent back to England Ruby tries to make herself useful and offers to
...more
Carien
Mar 30, 2011 Carien rated it really liked it
A bittersweet story about love and family.
It's well written and full of emotion and I can tell you I cry each time I read this book. The story switches back and forth between present day and World War Two. Both the story of how Iris and Ruby slowly get to know each other and the story of Iris' romance in WWII are compelling and beautiful, while intertwining with each other seemlessly. I especially love the parts of the book that are set in the past, which have a dreamlike quality to it. Part of
...more
EmilyB
Jun 02, 2008 EmilyB rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - I couldn't put it down. I love the relationships explored here and especially the charcter Iris the grandmother and her intense love for her fiance Xan. I was intrigued by the way her love for this man shaped her life after the war and also the way she questioned her role throughout the war and how she wanted to do something more useful and meaningful.
I found myself looking back at my own grandparents and the lives my grandmothers had during the war. We sometimes forget that
...more
Maria
May 11, 2011 Maria rated it liked it
Note: Actually a 3.5.
One of those lucky library visits where you half catch sight of a title out of the corner of your eye. Looks familiar. You pick it up. You remember putting it on your Goodreads tbr list, but it's not like you're dying to read it or anything. But you decide to take a punt anyway. In this case - good decision.

I really enjoyed this book. A lot. For one thing, it's set in Cairo, where I went years ago on holiday. I don't know if I'll ever be lucky enough to get back, but in the
...more
Jennifer Morefield
May 01, 2016 Jennifer Morefield rated it really liked it
This was a story about a grandmother who shares her disappearing important memories w/granddaughter so the granddaugher can share them w/her grandmother so they won't be forgotten. The grandmother and granddaughter build a close relationship. Because of an accident, the mother of Ruby and daughter of Iris comes home to see to her mother and daughter. They explore the reasons their relationships are strained. I thought this was a good read reminding me of how delicate relationships can be and how ...more
Joanna Mcdonald
Dec 14, 2007 Joanna Mcdonald rated it really liked it
Iris and Ruby is a fantastic book about how the most intimate and caring relationships can come from the people you least expect.

Ruby is a typical teenager who decides to run away to Egypt to visit her Grandmother (whom she's not seen since she was a child). After the initial shock of having her granddaughter turn up unannounced after so many years, Iris begins to soften towards Ruby.

And then an incredible relationship forms between granddaughter and grandmother.

When they find themselves in a da
...more
Katharine Harding
Aug 24, 2015 Katharine Harding rated it really liked it
I must say I wouldn't usually read a book that has won Romance of the Year, and perhaps this is a bit narrow minded of me. I borrowed this as an eBook from the public library (which is a totally brilliant scheme that I'd highly recommend). I was drawn to it because of its setting in Cairo, and the inter-generational story. I really liked it a lot. It's a great description of growing up, getting to know your family members as their own personal, and acceptance. Lovely.
Jackie Zwegers
Aug 23, 2015 Jackie Zwegers rated it really liked it
It's summertime and I don't feel like reading a heavy book! I had finished a Rosie Thomas book and since it had been a good read, I decided to try a second one of hers. I am glad I did. An ideal read for this time of the year, not too heavy and soulsearching but with enough depth. Rosie Thomas is adept at character description, their thought patterns, all very recognizable and human and that is her quality. I think I will be reading more of her books.
Dreda Corlett
Feb 19, 2014 Dreda Corlett rated it liked it
Read as a book club choice. It seems that dysfunctional families and people are what makes many of the novels written. This gives you a situation viewed from very different age groups and the possibility of some reconciliation between warring family members. Ending too neat and rather annoying, but on the whole, worth a read. I became quite fond of the characters despite wanting to give them a good shake.
Marilyn
Apr 20, 2016 Marilyn rated it liked it
This was one of my Book Buzz pre release books. I almost didn't read it because it looked sort of like a romance novel. But I enjoyed the relationship between Rosie and her grandmother. Iris lives in Cairo and has a surprise visit from her granddaughter. I hope that when I get to be that age, one of my grands will take the time to listen to me. But then my life isn;t as exciting as Iris'.
Johanna
Jun 04, 2014 Johanna rated it really liked it
I knew just a couple of pages in that I'd read this book before, but had convinced myself from the cover that I'd found a new Rosie Thomas. It didn't make any difference because, once started, I couldn't 'not' finish it. Her characters live, and I recognised aspects of myself within them. The Cairo background is skilfully recreated in these pages,and the story is told with warmth and compassion.
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Janey King, née Morris was born on 1947 in Denbigh, Wales, and also grew up in North Wales. She read English at Oxford, and after a spell in journalism and publishing began writing fiction after the birth of her first child. Published since 1982 as Rosie Thomas, she has written fourteen best-selling novels, deal with the common themes of love and loss. She is one of only a few authors to have won ...more
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“I will continue my path, but I will keep a memory always.” 159 likes
“Like so many plain cups on the shelves. You can reach for them, use them without thinking. Most of them don't matter. Sometimes you lose your grip on one of them and it falls and smashes to piece, and you shrug and say to yourself, what a pity. Then you reach for the cup that you use every day, one that you love and use so often that as you stretch out your hand it is already making the shape that fits its curve. You are certain that yesterday it was in its proper place, but now there is nothing. Just air. You have lost something that was so familiar, so much a part of your life that you were not even looking for it. Just expecting it to be there, as always.” 73 likes
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