Ruby Stanhope is a 28 year old investment banker, is made redundant by email. Her reply by email goes viral in the financial world, which effectively burns all employment bridges. Drowning her sorrows in some Victorian pinot noir, she wakes to discover she has booked herself a flight to Melbourne leaving that day.
Arriving to stay with her aunt, she attends a party, meets the Federal Leader of the Opposition and ends up with a job offer as a financial policy adviser. The novel spends four weeks with Ruby as she negotiates Australia, a federal election campaign, and all the pitfalls which ensue.
I borrowed the book from my library on Friday and by Friday night, I had finished it. This is unusual for a couple of reasons
- I hardly have enough time to read when I am home as the kids are usually swarming all over me, and Mr BG usually requests my undivided attention after the kids have gone to bed, because…well he does…
- My library is a special library and its fiction collection is quite small (although the most heavily used part of the entire print collection).
However, there were certain factors operating in my favour
- A long train trip going home.
- Children in bed relatively early.
- Mr BG was playing his guitar, and finally
- Campaign Ruby is very easy to read!
Ruby’s wardrobe malfunctions, her fondness for wine and shoes and falling for totally unsuitable characters like the super-smooth journalist Oscar Franklin are very reminiscent of Bridget Jones.
What makes it enjoyable is that it is set in Australia, with an election campaign as the background, rather than some London magazine/publishing house. Making Ruby a political ingenue (and English) allows us to see federal politics from an outsider’s perspective, which most of us are.
When the book first came out, its telling of a female treasurer challenging the leadership of the incumbent Prime Minister was scarily prescient. Reading it now at the start of the Victorian election campaign makes me wish that #vicvotes will be as fun as this book.
Jessica Rudd has drawn from her own experiences as a campaign worker for her father, and working in PR to make federal politics sound fun.
It was light without being too fluffy, and a promising first novel.