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Extended Audio Sample A Virtuous Woman Audiobook, by Kaye Gibbons Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11,352 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kaye Gibbons Narrator: Kaye Gibbons, Terry Beaver Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 1997 ISBN: 9780743547734
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When Blinking Jack Stokes met Ruby Pitt Woodrow, she was twenty and he was forty. She was the carefully raised daughter of Carolina gentry and he was a skinny tenant farmer who had never owned anything in his life. She was newly widowed after a disastrous marriage to a brutal drifter. He had never asked a woman to do more than help him hitch a mule. They didn't fall in love so much as they simply found each other and held on for dear life.

 

In A Virtuous Woman, Kaye Gibbons transcends her early promise, creating a multilayered and indelibly convincing portrait of two seemingly ill-matched people who somehow miraculously make a marriage.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Complex, compact...The architecture of this novel is remarkable.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Kaye Gibbons shows us the secret core of a love that easily outlasts death. It’s invisible mastery—but mastery all the same.” 

    Reynolds Price, New York Times bestselling author of A Long and Happy Life

  • “A small masterpiece...Explores the depth and breadth of love with compassion and without sentimentality. We are left both stunned and wiser.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Gibbons writes forcefully and persuasively...A Virtuous Woman should do much to secure her reputation as an exceptionally gifted young writer.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “Heads and shoulders above much of what passes as ‘fine literature’ today.”

    Boston Herald

  • “Enriches the possibility of literary prose...Kaye Gibbons’ work [is a] gift.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Readers who harbor hope for American fiction will have delighted in Ellen Foster and can now rejoice in Kaye Gibbons’ second novel...This is...an ode to joy.”

    Washington Times

  • “A haunting duet about love, compassion, and understanding. An eloquent and satisfying novel.”

    Cincinnati Post

  • “A vivid, unsentimental, powerful novel.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Gibbons develops distinct voices for [her characters], and their reminiscences paint vibrant portraits of themselves and others. The story will prod readers to think about the nature of friendship and love.” 

    School Library Journal

  • An Oprah’s Book Club Selection, October 1997
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Traci | 2/18/2014

    " This book was recommended by my sister. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great. I think this might be one of those books that your view of it depends upon the circumstances of your life when you read it. Good writing, interesting characters, but just didn't grab me for where I am right now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca Ashcraft | 2/16/2014

    " Here's a quick read for Gibbons fans - more like a long short story than a short novel. Although the main characters' accents got a little annoying at times, I would still have liked to read more about their lives. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Callie | 2/11/2014

    " A small book, quick read, describing the lives a married couple. Actually, I can't really say it describes their lives because it seems more to flit across the surface than to delve deep. It read to me like a textbook example of what a short novel should be as far as structure. Told in vernacular language from the view points of husband and wife. A good book, not too exciting. Nothing to write home about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 2/11/2014

    " Blinking Jack Stokes & Ruby Pitt Woodrow found each other & hung on for dear life. A great story of compassion, love & understanding. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz Hall | 2/2/2014

    " I liked this book OK. Didn't seem that there was much point to it but it was an easy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katharine | 1/29/2014

    " Really a lovely little book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Charity | 1/22/2014

    " Another horrible book by Gibbons. I must remember to stay far, far away from her books in the future. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lori | 1/19/2014

    " the style was beautiful. so simple and true to the characters and times they were living. i appreciate how she took characters from a lower socio-economic class and turned the tables on the fable that only the institutionally educated are intelligent. She writes with deep emotional intelligence and a realism that isn't burdened by the harshness of living but that is elevated by the joy of living well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 1/15/2014

    " An interesting book- I enjoyed the sotrytelling aspect being different than the usual. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rhonda Rae Baker | 12/31/2013

    " Read this some time ago and will have to re-read to give it a proper review. For now, I do remember it being very good and reason to look into other books by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dorie | 12/29/2013

    " A nice little simple story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jackie | 12/27/2013

    " Put this one last in your queue...I officially don't like this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mara | 12/21/2013

    " Sweet, engaging. I enjoyed the style of characters alternating narration of chapters. I can't reconcile the book's title to the book itself, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacqui Lafrance | 12/20/2013

    " Beautiful and southern writing. I love her voice: sing-songy and rythmic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy lauterbach | 12/13/2013

    " A beautiful story,rich in character. Two opposites who attract and live the simple life, daily devotion and love despite poverty and obstacles. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 JoAnn | 12/12/2013

    " I'm not sure what makes her such a virtuous woman. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 11/28/2013

    " This is a love story told in alternate chapters by Jack (an uneducated, tenant farmer) and his wife, Ruby (who in his story has died already of cancer). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheryl | 7/14/2013

    " A great story about a woman who is dying of lung cancer. Told in alternating voices of her and her husband. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janie Grunwald | 5/20/2013

    " If the Lord's name wasn't used in vain (probably 5x) I would have given it 5 stars. Wonderful read. Excellent audiobook! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patti | 2/13/2013

    " I love Kaye Gibbons' writing and her heartfelt characters. Her books remind me of Kent Haruf's. Another of my favourite authors. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angela Anderson | 2/1/2013

    " I didnt really care for this book. It wasn't bad, it just didnt captivate me, it was something to do, more than a book I couldn't put down... I actually read up to the last 10 pages and didnt bother to finish, I just wasnt that interested.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 1/26/2013

    " Bought both this and Ellen Foster at the same time. Same genre but enjoyed this more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tonya | 12/9/2012

    " I know I read this but i can't remember it, so I guess it's not worth giving a good rating to. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Paula David | 11/8/2012

    " Maybe this is one of those books that is supposed to be brilliant in it's simplicity, if so I guess I missed the point.... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 J.M. | 9/13/2012

    " I didn't like this book and couldn't finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 5/21/2012

    " I love Kaye Gibbons. She is how I wish I could write. I don't care much for multiple narrators, but otherwise this was an excellent cover-to-cover read on a westbound plane. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Genevieve | 4/29/2012

    " Not a plot driven story. It's told from the husband and then then the wife's perspective as she dies of cancer. Their thoughts on life, love, and death. Don't think I'll want to read it again, but it was a good one. Got me thinking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jen Nielsen | 4/23/2012

    " Somewhere between 2 and 3 stars. Didn't love it didn't hate it. Very forgettable, but there is a lot to be said for wanting to finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/14/2012

    " This was way different than I thought it would be. I am still trying to figure out how the title fits? It isn't as obvious to me as I'd like it to be. I'll be honest and say that I read it because it was an Oprah book club book years ago and I liked the title. It was interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caroline Alicia | 10/18/2011

    " short book with a relatively large font. huzzah my eyes. not great but i got a couple of great laughs. Esp the part where he goes some thing about punching a kid in the mouth. That's how i knew this was true southern lit. heh. believe the author and I have the same alma mater. how about them heels!? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloria | 10/9/2011

    " Engaging, quick read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurel | 7/12/2011

    " Just finished again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shari | 5/26/2011

    " The book was ok... I liked memoirs, so that's why I kept reading. That and it was the only book I had with me on a 5 hr plane ride. It did make me appreciate my life more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 5/18/2011

    " I enjoyed the content of the story that WAS there, I just felt that the entire book could have been elaborated on further. I would have enjoyed more explaination. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Luckyclarkie | 5/14/2011

    " I think that the author had good intentions of an awesome story line when writing this book, however, did not follow through. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrea | 5/13/2011

    " The first part of the book was good (like the first 2 chapters)but then it got really boring. It was too descriptive! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 5/3/2011

    " I enjoyed the content of the story that WAS there, I just felt that the entire book could have been elaborated on further. I would have enjoyed more explaination. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley | 4/26/2011

    " I wanted to give this a 4, but it was a 3.5 for me. Beautifully crafted and one of her most original, I think. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ariana | 2/4/2011

    " It was a quick read. A very sweet book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 lunaticprophet | 1/11/2011

    " ***+ Beautiful story of a man and wife and their life together. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 1/6/2011

    " A beautiful story,rich in character. Two opposites who attract and live the simple life, daily devotion and love despite poverty and obstacles. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 1/2/2011

    " Blinking Jack Stokes & Ruby Pitt Woodrow found each other & hung on for dear life. A great story of compassion, love & understanding. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laura | 12/29/2010

    " The characters were a bit cynical. The book somehow left me feeling a bit sad. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Smoesinger | 12/26/2010

    " An Oprah book club pick which was predictably depressing and morose. However, it was well written and had some profound life lessons. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 12/19/2010

    " This was way different than I thought it would be. I am still trying to figure out how the title fits? It isn't as obvious to me as I'd like it to be. I'll be honest and say that I read it because it was an Oprah book club book years ago and I liked the title. It was interesting. "

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About the Author
KAYE GIBBONS is the author of eight novels, including Ellen Foster, A Virtuous Woman and Divining Women. With domestic sales of more than 4.2 million copies and numerous worldwide translations, she was designated "one of the most lyrical writers working today" by Entertainment Weekly. She lives in Raleigh, NC with her 3 daughters.