Growing up in the war-torn backstreets of the East End, Ruby Darke, mixed-race and hated by her family, is determined not to become embroiled in a life of crime like her two brothers. After a disastrous affair with Cornelius Bray, a handsome peer of the realm with dubious underworld connections, Ruby gives birth to illegitimate twins who are taken from her at birth: Daisy, born white, is taken to be raised in luxury by Cornelius and his wife, but the son is dark-skinned like Ruby and is taken by Ruby's brother, Charlie, to be ‘disposed of’. Years pass, but still Ruby can’t forget her babies. Desperate to trace her son, Ruby forms an alliance with big-time crook Michael Ward, who says he can help her. But Ruby’s frantic efforts to be reunited with her son and daughter soon put her in the firing line of a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants . . . Show more
This time round, I wanted to read something different, not a who-dunnit, a police procedural or some blood-soaked horror book, so I picked up this book, ‘Nameless’ by Jessie Keane. ‘Nameless’. I must confess that as I was browsing on line for a new book, it was the title that first caught my attention. Nameless? What does this title imply? What is it referring to? Although I had never read any of her books, I knew that Jessie Keane's books are always top ranking. When I read the short description, I had no doubts that this was going to be my next great read and it sure did. I loved it from beginning to end. The short chapters made it even a more enjoyable experience for me.
Nameless is the story of Ruby Darke, a mixed race woman, her skin the colour of 'pale milky coffee', born in the 1920's to a family consisting of her dad and two older brothers, all 'milk white' in colour. Her mother died giving birth to her. Ruby couldn't understand and was never told by her family why her skin colour is different or why her father and eldest brother Charlie seem to hate her so much. In fact she was frequently bullied and brutally beat by them. While her two brothers were involved in underworld criminal activities, she helped her father in the running of their small corner shop.
During the war, a very beautiful and attractive Ruby caught the attention of Cornelius Bray, a handsome young man, an uppercruster with dubious underworld ties. They soon began an affair, him being married, and Ruby fell deeply in love with him. However, shortly afterwards their blissful relationship turned sour when she became pregnant. This was a big problem as in those days an unmarried woman with children was regarded with contempt. Her family’s name was at stake and they certainly wouldn't tolerate such a scandal. Cornelius also had his reputation to safeguard. She then gave birth to twins, a white girl and a dark boy. Both were taken away from her at birth. In her state and situation, poor Ruby could do nothing to retain her children.
Many years go by and we find that Ruby is now a wealthy business woman and the owner of a very successful chain of department stores. Though she seems to be living an ideal, sumptuous life, deep down she feels gutted. She never forgot her babies and she could never forgive those that took them away from her. With the help of a powerful man, she embarks on a personal mission to trace her twins and bring them back to her even if this may mean risking her own life or losing them again forever. Will she succeed? Find out by reading 'Nameless' by Jessie Keane. The characters in the novel will remain with you even after you have finished reading.