Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.
Today I’m returning to Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby. First published in 2013 it’s the first in a gritty, small town family saga.
- Author: Bette Lee Crosby
- Published: January 2017 by Bent Pine Publishing
- Category: Family Saga, Romance
A FAMILY TRAGEDY, A 25 YEAR OLD MURDER, AND A DETECTIVE DETERMINED TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT…
Laura Wilkes has everything a woman could want when she snaps the carousel picture. Her daughter, a happy little five-year-old, is holding the brass ring and smiling at a daddy who adores her. Each time the carousel circles around Laura snaps another picture, seven in all. This is a day of unforgettable happiness; one of the few Laura has left.
When Emory Hawthorne came into money bequeathed to him from his long absent father, he moved his family from their cold water flat into a dream house. For all her inherent frugality, Emory’s wife, Rose, and eleven year old Laura, loved the house. As the years passed and Emory’s salary increased, Rose learned to adapt and became more accustomed to being able to buy what she wanted. Laura secured a secretarial job at the bank working for the vice president. And it was there she met Franklin Wilkes. Continue reading
- Author: Bette Lee Crosby
- Expected Publication January 2015 by Bent Pine Publishing
- Category: Historical Fiction
It’s 1946. The war is over. Millions of American soldiers are coming home and Benjamin Church is one of them. After four years of being away he thought things in Alabama would have changed, but they haven’t. Grinder’s Corner is as it’s always been–a hardscrabble burp in the road. It’s not much, but it’s home.
My thanks to Bette Lee Crosby for sending me an advance e-copy for review
When Benjamin meets the beautiful Delia Finch in Twin Pines, the nearest town to Grinder’s Corner, it’s love at first sight. As their relationship deepens Delia and Benjamin spend as much time together as they can manage.
Delia’s father, the preacher in Twin Pines, is a harsh and cold man. He disowns his daughter when he learns she is pregnant and planning to marry Benjamin and forbids his wife to see or speak to their daughter. Delia knows forgiveness is not in her father’s nature and what he preached was most definitely not what he practiced. Delia moves to Grinder’s Corner with Benjamin and gains some comfort with Otis as her father figure.
You might think I’m a fool standing there, letting Mister Finch beat on me as he did, but I figured if he got enough revenge he’d go easier on Delia. ‘Course, that ain’t what happened.
I can understand him being mad, but I sure can’t understand him saying those awful things to his own daughter. When he called her a whore, it was all I could do not to tear into him. In my head I kept thinking he’s Delia’s daddy, and when he gets over his mad he’ll forgive her. Even when he said to get out of his house and never come back, I figured Delia’s mama would step in and put a stop to it but Mister Finch wasn’t listening to anybody – mot me, not Delia, and not even her mama.
Alabama in the 40’s and 50’s is a tough place to live for coloured folk with the white/black segregation everywhere. Benjamin and his father, Otis, eke out a living growing seasonal produce. The tiny surrounding community of mixed race families live peacefully together but this isn’t the case across the South in general. Benjamin is a good, hard-working man with decent values and a sense of pride. Delia and their son, Isaac come first, always, and he will do whatever he has to, to support and care for them. They live through good times and not so good times, then one day Benjamin’s world is turned upside down, never to be the same, and he feels the full force of the colour divide. Unable to reconcile his sense of injustice he decides on a complete change for himself and Isaac.
The significance of the title ‘Passing Through Perfect’ is a lovely touch. I wondered how Benjamin’s story would tie in with Wyattsville. I do like the way characters from previous stories are integrated into later ones.
I love the way Bette Lee Crosby tells a story, this one mostly from Benjamin’s point of view with individual perspectives beginning each chapter. It’s a very moving and powerful tale, the prejudice and intolerance of the time show both sides of human nature regardless of skin colour. Benjamin’s acknowledgement of what he considers his place in society is undeniably apparent and is accepted as just the way things are. Despite that and the hardships and suffering Benjamin stays true to his own individuality.
An uplifting story of family, love, kindness and hope, despite some people’s less than commendable behaviour and attitudes.
- Author: Bette Lee Crosby
- Published: October 2013 by Bent Pine Publishing
- Category: Historical Fiction
When tragedy strikes a West Virginia coal mining family, two children start out on a trek that they hope will lead them to a new life. Before a day passes, the children are separated and the boy is caught up in a robbery not of his making. If his sister can find him, she may be able to save him. The problem is she’s only seven years old, and who’s going to believe a kid?
Jubilee’s Journey, Book Two in the Wyattsville Series, is the story of discovering lost family and finding love that reconnects readers with Ethan Allen and the other heart-warming characters of SPARE CHANGE.
Forced by circumstances beyond his control, Bartholomew Jones made a decision he’d sworn never to make. He and his wife, Ruth moved to Coal Fork, West Virginia and he took a job as a miner following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. In the following years Ruth bore two children, Paul and Jubilee. When tragedy strikes and the children lose both their parents within the space of a few years, Paul and little Jubilee travel to Wyattsville to find the only family they have left, their mother’s estranged sister.
Paul and Jubilee boarded the Greyhound bus at the Campbell’s Creek Depot. He had a ticket; she didn’t. When he’d asked the clerk at the window how much for two tickets to Wyattsville, Virginia, she’d answered, “Eight dollars and fifty cents.” While Paul stood there counting out the quarters and dimes, the woman peered over the counter at Jubilee. “Make that four-twenty-five,” she said. “There’s no charge for kids under five.”
”Oh, Jubie just looks small,” Paul started to say, ‘but-“
”Maybe you don’t hear so good.” The ticket clerk cocked an eyebrow and looked Paul square in the face. “I said we don’t charge for kids under five,” she repeated, then cranked out a single ticket and handed it to him.
The trip doesn’t quite go to plan and Paul, in the wrong place at the wrong time, ends up in hospital while Jubilee is befriended by Ethan Allen and taken home to Grandma Olivia’s house. It’s good to reconnect with Olivia, Ethan and soft-hearted Detective Jack Mahoney, along with the rest of the characters from Spare Change and catch up with their lives. The new friendship between Ethan and Jubilee is touching, showing the extent of Ethan’s character development since we first met him in Spare Change.
Jubilee’s Journey is an emotive story told with warmth and poignancy. The characters are, mostly, charming and real with relatable characteristics, including a mix of good and not so good traits, and the sense of community in Wyattsville shines out. The story encompasses a range of emotions, sadness, love, kindness and hope and is told from different viewpoints which helps to show the best and sometimes the worst of human nature.
The passages with the first person perspective of a particular character’s thoughts helps to give more of an insight into the depths of their personalities, flaws and strengths. I even found myself feeling (just a little) sorry for Hurt.
Paul and Jubilee have been through a lot but they are strong, kindhearted and very likeable. Ms Crosby has a talent for creating characters you can’t help but empathise with and be drawn into their lives. And even when these same characters misjudge a situation or person, as does happen, they are able to admit when they are wrong. Even though at times it doesn’t appear to be a feel good book, with adversity and misfortune, the conclusion is very satisfactory and the end result is a captivating story of the most important things in life.