Ruby & Roland

A Novel
“However you first make your way to Harvester, you’ll want to return.” —WALL STREET JOURNAL
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From the author of Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse and The Cape Ann comes a new tale of resilient womanhood in Harvester, Minnesota.

Growing up in early twentieth-century Illinois, Ruby Drake is a happy child. But one winter’s night, her beloved parents perish in an accident—and suddenly, Ruby finds herself penniless and nearly alone in the world. Her new path eventually takes her to Harvester, where she is lucky enough to find work on the welcoming Schoonover farm. Kind Emma, forward-thinking Henry, and their hired men—ambitious Dennis and reserved Jake—soon become a second family to the orphaned teenager.

At a historical moment when young women are expected to be focused on courtship and marriage, the industrious, bright Ruby searches for opportunities to expand her horizons at every step. Mastering her responsibilities on the farm. Learning to smoke cigarettes. Borrowing books from the local lending library, reading devotedly and expansively: mythology, romance, poetry. And falling in love with her married neighbor, Roland: “the most beautiful man—maybe in the world.” But when Ruby is asked to care for Roland’s wife in the wake of tragedy, she is torn between duty and passion, between what has been her lot and what could be.

Jane Eyre set in Faith Sullivan’s “reliably inviting world” (Wall Street Journal), Ruby & Roland is a story of relationships—friendship, romance, and the families we are born with and create—and of one woman’s journey of selfhood on the prairie.

Publish Date
5.5 × 8.5 × 1 in
19 oz

Faith Sullivan

Faith Sullivan is the author of many novels, including Gardenias, The Cape Ann, What a Woman Must Do, and, most recently, Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse. An indefatigable champion of literary culture and her fellow writers, she has visited with hundreds of book clubs and lives in Minneapolis.

Praise and Prizes

  • “A vivid world … As the old saying goes, ‘The heart wants what the heart wants.’ And as you reader Sullivan’s tender novel, you sense it all around you.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • “Sullivan’s writing is charming, and she has created a refreshing, unconventional love story.”

    Chicago Review of Books
  • “Fans of Jane Eyre will adore the intelligent, brazen Ruby whose combination of pragmatism and besottedness is winningly sympathetic. Replete with agrarian nostalgia and crisp prose, Sullivan’s quiet tale is a wonderful, arresting meditation on sacrifice.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “Unforgettable … The path [Ruby] chooses is unpredictable, unconventional, and fiercely her own. Fans of Sullivan’s Harvester novels and resilient female characters will find much to love here.”

  • “Sullivan creates a story worthy of comparison to Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome. Recommended for historical and women’s fiction fans.”

    Library Journal
  • “Rapturous … The joyful sense of community within this love story offers a charming and refreshing escape from the modern world.”

  • “Faith Sullivan’s novels are a reliably inviting world, full of friendly faces and intimate dramas… . However you first make your way to Harvester, you’ll want to return.”

    Wall Street Journal
  • “It is a joy to return to Harvester and the beloved characters of Faith Sullivan. Once again, Sullivan takes readers on a journey to the Midwest that is a love song to the earth, the power of community, and the importance of literature in expanding one’s horizons. Ruby and Roland share a forbidden love that alters the course of their destiny, as well as the fate of members of their ad-hoc family. Bound by the love of the land and their love of each other, Ruby and Roland’s story makes the reader ‘live on hope.’ What a beautiful tale for our times.”

    Pamela Klinger-Horn
    Excelsior Bay Books
  • “Strong women, great sex scenes, and beautiful writing. Welcome back to Harvester, Minnesota! I love this book.”

    Julia Schumacher
    author of Dear Committee Members