Diamond Ruby

A Novel

Diamond Ruby

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Thomas, newly responsible for her two young nieces after a devastating tragedy, is determined to keep her family safe in the vast, swirling world of 1920s New York City. She’s got street smarts, boundless determination, and one unusual skill: the ability to throw a ball as hard as the greatest pitchers in a baseball-mad city.

From Coney Island sideshows to the brand-new Yankee Stadium, Diamond Ruby chronicles the extraordinary life and times of a girl who rises from utter poverty to the kind of renown only the Roaring Twenties can bestow. But her fame comes with a price, and Ruby must escape a deadly web of conspiracy and threats from Prohibition rumrunners, the Ku Klux Klan, and the gangster underworld.

Diamond Ruby
“is the exciting tale of a forgotten piece of baseball’s heritage, a girl who could throw with the best of them. A real page-turner, based closely on a true story” (Kevin Baker, author of Strivers Row).
  • Touchstone | 
  • 480 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439160053 | 
  • May 2010
List Price $16.00 (price may vary by retailer)
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Diamond Ruby includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Joseph Wallace. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.



Set in New York City during the turbulent 1920s, Diamond Ruby chronicles the life of Ruby Thomas—the seventeen-year-old orphan-turned-baseball star— as she searches for ways to keep her two nieces alive after the death of her family and the abandonment by her brother. Ruby is smart, scrappy and stubborn, refusing to let war, disease, starvation or sexism keep her from feeding her nieces and living up to her Mother’s deathbed plea to make something of her life.

By chance, Ruby discovers her ungainly arms are the key to a unique talent: the ability to throw a baseball as hard as any pro ball player. Starting as a Coney Island slideshow attraction and ending up as the star of Brooklyn’s minor league baseball team, Ruby defies expectations and becomes a legend. Her fame comes at a price, however, as she must navigate her way alone through death threats, the Ku Klux Klan, prohibition rum-runners and murderous gamblers who will stop at nothing to get what they want. In a novel see more

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