A military wife for twenty-two years, Bev Marshall, a Vietnam veteran’s wife writes a deeply personal story of her struggles during the chaotic years of the war. As we travel with her through the turbulent years, of body counts and protests, the story expands to include other young wives and their stories. Back Home is a panoramic view of those women who served back home, some of them with astonishing resilience, others who fail to endure the hardships of separations. Marshall allows the readers an intimate glimpse into the fluctuating relationship of her marriage as she navigates the ebb and flow of her husband’s military career. Through numerous uprooting’s, disappointments, and emotional upheavals, the memoir nears conclusion when Marshall’s husband is assigned to an isolated base on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Here she writes of her neighbors whose damaged lives devolve into unexpected behaviors. There’s humor along the way but, as the war ends, there’s one more battle to fight. Finally, Back Home is a paean to the thousands of military wives both past and present whose sacrifices and service to our country is invaluable.
Right as Rain
In the tradition of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and The Secret Life of Bees, this luminous, heartfelt novel explores the tragedies and triumphs, the pleasures and sorrows of two women, Tee Wee and Icey, their families, and the white family that employs them as cook and housekeeper on a tenant farm in rural Mississippi.
Though the women are as different as water and wine—Icey is feisty, hot-tempered, and impulsive, while Tee Wee is more submissive and disciplined—both are driven by a passionate determination to give their children a better life. Through trying times, they are the pillars, fierce and resilient; yet they celebrate life with a love of food, music, and family that makes even the most traumatic moments endurable. The illicit love between Tee Wee’s daughter Crow and the white landowner’s son Browder; the heartbreaking death of one of Icey’s children, for which she will blame herself; the murder trial of Tee Wee’s youngest son which threatens to tear apart not just their family but the entire town—all these events are interwoven with occasions of joy, including Crow’s fulfillment of her lifelong dream and Tee Wee’s own hard-fought success.
A richly emotional epic spanning two decades in the Deep South, the story of Tee Wee and Icey and their families are a prism through which we view the universal—racial strife, dysfunctional families, secrets and redemption. Illuminated by a resonant storytelling voice and dialogue that rings loud and true, Right as Rain provides indelible portraits of indomitable characters and an almost tangible sense of place, while revealing a deep understanding of race in mid-century America’s rural south.
Walking through shadows
When the body of seventeen-year-old Sheila Barnes is found on Lloyd Cotton’s dairy farm in 1941, nearly all the citizens of the quiet town of Zebulon, Mississippi, feel the effects of her murder. But those most deeply affected by the tragedy include her young husband, Stoney, and the Cotton family, who took Sheila in and grew to love and respect her.
Though badly abused by her father, labeled “slow-witted,” and burdened with a physical deformity, Sheila approaches life with a natural, cheerful optimism and an unwavering belief in the healing powers of magic. She quickly becomes the Best Friend of eleven-year-old Annette Cotton, and subtly charms and changes those around her, proving to many that true wisdom often comes from unlikely places.
Marshall has created a page-turner of stunning lyrical beauty that is impossible to forget. At the heart of this literary murder mystery is the powerful truth that love conquers all—even death.
Hot Fudge Sundae Blues
A lyrical coming-of-age story set in the 1960s, Hot Fudge Sundae Blues is an extraordinary companion to Bev Marshall’s first two novels, Walking Through Shadows and Right as Rain. Here again she mines the territory of the small town of Zebulon, Mississippi, where even the most seemingly ordinary folks harbor well-disguised heartaches and intricate secrets.
Thirteen-year-old Layla Jay was only pretending when she knelt before the preacher to seek salvation. She was hoping to make her grandma happy and get noticed by the cute new boy in town. But religion truly piques her interest when a young, handsome visiting preacher stays at her family’s home. Wallace seems genuinely interested in Layla Jay’s life–until he meets her mama and falls head over heels, like many men have before him.
When Wallace marries Frieda, Layla Jay believes she will finally have the father she’s always wanted. But it seems that none of her dreams will come true as Layla Jay wrestles with her mother’s reckless ways, her unsavory stepfather, a best friend’s betrayal, and the longing for love’s first kiss. Yet everything pales in comparison to what happens next as Layla Jay is forced to tell a lie to save her mother’s world from crashing down.