Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series; A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; Rubyfruit Jungle; In Her Day; and Six of One, as well as several other novels. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia.
The author of Rubyfruit Jungle packs an astonishing number of characters and severed loyalties into this amusing, poignant tale, set in fictional Runnymede, Md., a town divided by the Mason-Dixon line, where feuds erupt with the regularity of the weekly bingo night. The queens of contention are the octogenarian Hunsenmeir sisters (introduced in Six of One ), who slug it out with repartee and second-childhood antics when both fall in love with visiting widower Ed Tutweiler Walters. Nickel Smith, daughter and niece of the Hunsenmeir sisters, has reached her late 30s with well-defined roles in the community: as a respected journalist for the Clarion and as a tacitly accepted (read discreet) lesbian. But Nickel's history comes unraveled when she falls into an affair with her best friend's husband, and the newspaper is sold to big-money interests. Along with sketches of zany homegrown characters, Brown offers unpredictable plot resolutions that reinforce her reputation as a writer unafraid of new directions. Similar to, although not as much fun as, Six of One , this is vintage Brown nevertheless. 75,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo; author tour. (November)
The Hunsenmeir sisters, Louise and Juliafirst encountered in Six of One ( LJ 9/1/78)have been fierce rivals almost from the cradle. Now in their 80s, they're competing for the affections of the new man in town . The town of Runnymede watches gleefully as the sisters battle it out, although Julia's daughter wishes they'd pick another time. She needs all her energy to deal with two surprising new relationships and the possible loss of her job. A rowdy bingo game, an unexpected pregnancy, and the cannon in the town square combine to produce an explosive climax. Brown paints an entertaining picture of the tangled web of small-town relationships. Her cast of lovable eccentrics is the novel's real strength . A rollicking good book. Beth Ann Mills, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.