Hard Times in 1930s Dust Bowl #FridayFunReads

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The Four Winds

by Kristin Hannah

Copyright 2021.

 

What Amazon Says

 

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

This book reminds me of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Although these two stories have separate plots and different characters, the theme of moving west in search of a better life and not finding it is the same.

Through Kristin Hannah’s vivid descriptions, I was right there with Elsa and her family, as they battled heat and dust storms in Texas, were flooded out while camping in California, losing almost everything they owned, and fought, along with other workers, for equal pay at the hands of rich, heartless growers.

I wish I could say that this novel’s ending is more positive than that of The Grapes of Wrath. In a way, it is, but it’s still shocking. However, if you read this book, you’ll be enlightened about hard times during the Great Depression and harsh treatment of families who migrated to California, a part of our history of which we should never be proud.

***

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

A giveaway and book Review, October 14, 2021 #Reblogs

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Thanks to fellow blogger Carol Farnsworth for her great review of my latest book, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me. You’ll also find, in her post, instructions on how you can win a free signed copy of her poetry collection, Leaf Memories, which I reviewed here at: https://abbiescorner.wordpress.com/2021/08/13/nature-poetry-for-all-seasons-fridayfunreads/ Happy reading! To learn more about my new novel and find out where to get your copy, visit:  https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

traveling up and down the blind highway of lifeBlind on the Lite Side

I am sitting here at my desk after finishing a fellow author’s book, “Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me.” But first , I want to tell you of an opportunity to put your name in for a drawing for my signed chapbook,”Leaf Memories.” Go to

http://www.handyuncappedpen.com/2021/10/giveaway-leaf-memories-by-carol.html

Just go to the site of the Handy uncapped pen and write a comment or put your name and email under the cover photo of Leaf Memories, to have your name in the drawing. While you are there, check out this blog source for writers with disabilities.

Now to my review of Abbie Taylor’s newest novel. The title refers to one of the characters, a Grandma with dementia . She fails to recognize one of her grandaughters. In a moment of clarity, she reveals a family secret that threatens to change the family forever.

I was in the room with Natalie when her Grandma in…

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Playing Ball with the Dog #SixSentenceStoryThursdayLinkUp #Excerpt

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

At the park, we took turns throwing the ball for Squeakers, who never tired of retrieving it and bringing it back to us. I got some good pictures of him and even made a little video of him barking at a squirrel he’d chased up a tree.

“Sarah will love this,” I said when I showed it to the others.

“Last night,” said Grandpa, “the way you said that Miss Sarah had appendicitis, I thought you were going to be a doctor. But you’d also make a pretty good photographer.”

“Last night, you said you wanted to be a writer,” said Grandma.

***

So, is Natalie’s diagnosis of Sarah’s condition correct? Why did she tell her grandmother she wanted to be a writer? You’ll find the answers to these questions in my new novel, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me.

Thanks to Girlie on the Edge for inspiring the above excerpt with her six-sentence story prompt for this week. You can participate in this week’s hop and read other bloggers’ six-sentence creations by clicking here.

***

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

A Chat with Natalie #WednesdayWords

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

As I’m sure you’re aware, my new novel, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, has just been released and is now available in paperback and eBook formats from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online retailers. Today, I sat down with Natalie, one of my main characters. AT sixteen years old, she learned from her grandmother that the man she thought was her biological dad wasn’t. Let’s see what she has to say.

***

Me: Natalie, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to me today.

Natalie:  Sure. Whatever.

Me: What do you think about when you’re trying to fall asleep?

Natalie: Well, I guess I could say that although it was a shock, finding out about my real dad, I think how lucky I am to have two dads when some kids don’t even have one.

Me: That works. Do you have a hiding place?

Natalie: No, not really. The only thing I’ve ever hidden is the fact that I emailed my real dad after my grandmother told me about him and I told my parents I knew about him. But eventually, that came out. We’ve been keeping in touch ever since.

Me: Okay, if they make a movie about your life, what actor might play you?

Natalie: How about Britney Spears? I felt sorry for her when I heard that her dad controlled every aspect of her adult life and was glad when a judge took away his power of attorney or whatever it was. None of my dads would ever do that to me. If she were to play me in a movie, she could learn what it’s like to be in a loving family environment.

Me: That’s a good point. So, what’s the first possession you would save from a fire?

Natalie: My iPhone. I need to  be able to keep in touch with family and friends and especially my real dad.

Me: That’s nice. What’s one of the worst things you’ve ever done?

Natalie: That’s a no-brainer. Telling my parents I knew Grandma’s secret. I thought for sure that Daryl, the man I thought was my real dad, would divorce my mom for having a one-night stand with my biological dad. If only I hadn’t opened my big mouth.

Me: I know how you feel. Let’s not think about that now. Tell me. Do you envy anyone?

Natalie: No, not even Britney Spears. She’s had a hard life.

Me: I agree with that. Speaking of Britney, do you sing or dance when you’re by yourself?

Natalie: No, not really.

Me: Okay, what false impression might other people have about you?

Natalie: What kind of question is that? I don’t think anybody has a false impression of me.

Me: All right. I’m sorry. We’ll talk about something else. What’s a memory that you cherish like a treasure?

Natalie: Hmm, let’s see. Well, when I was little, Mom usually read to me at night before I went to sleep. I learned later that my favorite bedtime story was written by my biological dad.

Me: That’s interesting. Now, one last question. What’s something you usually lie about?

Natalie: Well, I don’t lie about anything anymore, but I used to lie about whether I did my homework or even having homework to do. But since I met my real dad, I decided I want to be a better person.

Me: Well, Natalie, thank you again for chatting with me today.

Natalie: You’re welcome. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this interview, but it was kind of fun.

***

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

Some Interesting Reads #OpenBookBlogHop #TuesdayTidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is:  “What’s on your “TBR” (to be read) list?”

***

Twelve books are listed in my iPhone’s reminders app. I won’t mention all of them, but I’ll talk about a few.

First of all, I’m currently reading The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. In Texas during the 1920’s, a rich girl, considered not marriage material because of her looks, ends up marrying a farm boy. Twelve years later, her family, after barely surviving four years of drought, plagued by lost crops and livestock, dust storms, and illness, is planning to leave Texas for California.

By the time you read this post, on Tuesday, October 12th, I will be farther along in the book. But as I write this, on Saturday, October 9th, that’s where things stand. It’s a depressing book, and I’ve been tempted to not finish it. But now, I need to know what happens to these characters and can only hope this book doesn’t end like John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

Next, I plan to read something I hope will be more positive. Lonnie Love is a black comedian whom I’d never heard of until I recently read an excerpt from her book, I Tried to Change So You Don’t Have To, in Reader’s Digest. One takeaway I got from this is the idea that you can’t let others’ stereotypes define who you are. This book ought to be interesting.

Last but not least, I found a novel, Clara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s about  a female robot who is purchased to be a companion to a sick girl. I haven’t been into science fiction much these days, but this sounds intriguing.

How about you? What are you reading now? What do you plan to read in the future? You can sound off in the comment field below or click here to participate in this week’s hop and read what others have to say. Happy reading!

***

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website