Review: The Salt God’s Daughter by Ilie Ruby

20 Sep

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

What a gorgeous book!

Summary via

Set in Long Beach, California, beginning in the 1970s, The Salt God’s Daughter follows Ruthie and her sister, Dolly, as they carve out a life in a place filled with meteorological myths and exotic folklore, where female rites of passage are met with startling discoveries. Raised by a mother drawn to the ocean and guided by the moons, their heritage is a mystery and with their mother often absent, they are forced to confront the social and sexual mores of the time on their own as they search for true love and a home. Ruthie’s daughter, Naida, is born into this conflicted landscape with a secret she tries to keep hidden as she seeks out the father she never knew. Woven with a traditional Scottish folktale and hints of Jewish mysticism, The Salt God’s Daughter examines how far we’ll go to find our place in a world that is often hostile to those who are different.

There aren’t many writers out there who write beautiful prose that I enjoy reading, but Ilie Ruby is clearly one of them. The words never get in the way of the story.

What really appealed to me in The Salt God’s Daughter were the characters, three generations of interesting women.

Ruthie and Dolly have a highly unconventional upbringing, wandering with a mother with a taste for men, the road, and the moon. They each are affected in different ways. Ruthie becomes a nurturer, finding a home for herself in an unusual retirement community with several ties to her mother’s past.

Ruthie envisions a very different life for her own daughter. She achieves this, but Naida’s life has its own challenges, challenges that are tied to her father, the lack of his presence in his daily life, and the ongoing reminders of him that are everywhere, particularly in the ocean outside her door.

I’d have enjoyed the book if that were all there was to it.

Certainly, the book is not heavy on plot, what is there is primarily to frame the characters, to give them a chance to interact, to force change upon them.

What really makes this book stand out is the texture of the layers of mythology. Of men from the sea, of moons that change the lives of the people living under them. It permeates the book, without ever getting in the way of it.

The Salt God’s Daughter makes for rich and enjoyable reading.

I received this book for review via BookSparksPR.  Thank you for this opportunity.


Posted by on September 20, 2012 in books, reviews


Tags: , , ,

3 responses to “Review: The Salt God’s Daughter by Ilie Ruby

  1. Howard Sherman

    October 3, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Sometimes the best books are more about the people and less about the plot. It sounds like this is one such book. Enjoyed the review.


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