As an Australian citizen currently in the midst of a painful, drawn out national election campaign I could not go past reading Campaign Ruby when it was released (in a timely manner!) last week.
Campaign Ruby is the fiction debut of the former Australian Prime Minister's daughter, Jessica Rudd. As it's title suggests, it follows a (fictional) national election campaign and the role of Ruby Stanhope, an English investment banker who has just been unceremoniously sacked from her high flying job and finds herself in Australia looking for a new life direction - only to find herself with a new job as an advisor to the leader of the opposition (LOO).
The novel takes advantage of quite a few coincidences to keep the plot flowing, for example, Ruby finding herself at a party on her first night in Australia where the opposition leader and his chief of staff are attending and they just happen to "bump into" Ruby and hire her on the spot without knowing a thing about her apart from the fact that she has worked in banking - in the UK!! But I found myself overlooking these moments because apart from them the novel worked really well for me. It is clear that Rudd has a clear understanding and an insiders knowledge of the election and political process and this adds a strong authenticity to the story and the characters. Rudd writes well and uses humour well - although I did find some of the antics that Ruby got into a little childish and unneeded. The opening chapter is one of the funniest I have read in a while and really set the character of Ruby up for readers.
I'm not sure how this book would translate for non-Australian readers as it does involve quite a lot of the Australian political context - but I am wondering if this is why Rudd made her main character English as Ruby herself needs to have a few things explained to her as she goes along which would help non-Australian readers I think.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Rudd produces next - I hope she is able to take her skills into another topic area and do just as well - or maybe there will be a sequel in the future??