Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book Review: Where the Wildflowers Grow by Vera Jane Cook

Where the Wildflowers Grow
by Vera Jane Cook
Pub: Musa Publishing (March 8, 2013)
Available in: ebook only 312 pages

Small town Georgia, 1960. Passions and secrets marinate in a simmering summer heat.  Instead of a single protagonist like Sassy in The Story of Sassy Sweetwater to get attached to and to view the events through, Cook has given us a large cast of at least a dozen well drawn and differentiated characters (The Cassidy family of four and all those caught in their gravity well) whose secrets entwine their many lives like bindweed with some of the most insidious vines being those secrets individuals keep from themselves until they've gained a choke hold on their hope and happiness, their very lives and those of their nearest and dearest.

Not one of them has a dependable viewpoint on which the reader can be grounded and from which they can check the veracity of other view points with confidence.  Instead the jagged pieces of the puzzle that is the reality of this story world must be  gathered from the careful observation of what each character knows when and of their particular blinders and how what they can't or won't know affects their viewpoint and comprehension of what is happening.

Because of this and the disturbing thread of sexual dysfunction running through all their lives, this is not an easy or quick read.  But it is an engrossing page turner that pays high dividends for the investment of careful attention for the story is powerful and haunting, lingering and dispensing new insights long after it is over..

From the Publishers:

The Story of Sassy Sweetwater was the Finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards for 2012! Won the Eric Hoffer Award for Sassy Sweetwater for 2013 – Honorable Mention Best ebook Fiction!
Sexual confusion and dysfunction cause the unraveling of the perfect American family in small town Georgia in 1960.
Rose Cassidy’s fantasy life is a haunting reminder that she’s living a lie. So when she has the opportunity to act on those fantasies, she dives in without any thought to consequences.
Rose’s husband, Ryan, has fantasies of his own, and his actions cause unimaginable pain to the very children he tries so hard to protect.
When the happiness each member of the Cassidy family seeks so desperately to find is shattered by shame, guilt, and ultimately murder, they must each face the truth that lies deep within their souls.

What they are saying:

Praise for Where the Wildflowers Grow:

“A Riveting Plot from the 60’s—Secrets, Shame, Murder—Sexual Confusion Unravels A Perfect American Southern Family!”- Jo-Anne Vandermeulen, Goodreads Reviewer
” Love her books, a great author. Nice to read something that is not the same old stuff. Can’t wait for her next book to come out.”- Sharon, Amazon Reviewer

Praise for The Story of Sassy Sweetwater:

“This story was as sweet and sassy as its narrator and title character. But not the sweet of syrup, no, more like the pucker-power sweet of a persimmon.  The sweetness is in the delicious prose, the pucker in the dark plot and the sassy in its protagonist’s stance towards her life.”- Joy Renee Davis, Joystory
“As you read the story there are times you feel like shaking Sassy so she can get a grip on herself but also times when you feel her heartache a tear trickle down your face in compassion for what she had endured. The story is well written and I cannot emphasized enough the real life dramas that was brought forth. A lot of eye openers especially for people who are very quick to judge.  If you into southern history stories this is one is for you, definitely a must read.”- Lynelle Clark, Romance & Inspiration
“I love southern fiction and the easy style of storytelling that Vera Jane Cook uses in “The Story of Sassy Sweetwater” made this a page turner for me. A richly woven tale where Ms. Cook makes the characters seem so real, that they literally step off of the pages and make you feel as if you’re viewing the goings on in their lives! Sassy was such a unique voice, at the age of thirteen she is more than a bit feisty,and well Sassy! She sees the world in such a down to earth way. Really wise beyond her years, but not always doing the right thing, she was totally understandable and really likeable. The author does a wonderful job of allowing Sassy to grow and change as the story progresses. The  way that she clashed with her Grandma Edna was sometimes funny, it seemed often to be a test of will, but as the story progresses we see that relationship change, and truthfully Edna and Sassy were a lot alike. With more than a few twists, I was actually surprised at what sort of family that Violet actually came from. There were several secondary characters that propelled the plot right along and added interesting layers to the overall telling of the story. Overall a story that easily pulled me right in making me care about what happened to the characters. Fans of southern fiction that pull you back in time and revolve around family drama will certainly enjoy this read, I know that I did!“-Brenda Casto, WV Stitcher
“Vera Jane Cook joins the illustrious ranks of Faulkner, O’Connor, and Capote with The Story of Sassy Sweetwater.  The novel contains the necessary elements for good Southern gothic:  flawed and eccentric characters, racism, violence, and incest.  Her depiction of rural South Carolina in the 1960s is so clear that the reader can almost hear the cicadas in the background.  Clear a day on your calendar before you start reading, because after you start, you won’t be able to put down this book until the end.”- Tammy Cuevas, The Self-Taught Cook

Vera Jane Cook, writer of Award Winning Women’s Fiction, is the author of The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Lies a River Deep, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Dancing Backward in Paradise and Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.

Jane, as she is known to family and friends, was born in New York City and grew up amid the eccentricity of her southern and glamorous mother on the Upper West and Upper East Side of Manhattan.

An only child, Jane turned to reading novels at an early age and was deeply influenced by an eclectic group of authors. Some of her favorite authors today are Nelson DeMille, Calib Carr, Wally Lamb, Anne Rice, Sue Monk Kidd, Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison. Her favorite novels are too long to list but include The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Cheri and The Last of Cheri, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Wuthering Heights, Look at Me, Dogs of Babel, The Bluest Eye, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Body Surfing, Lolita, The Brothers Karamazov, She’s Come Undone, Tale of Two Cities, etc., etc., etc.,

The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Vera’s second published southern novel, was a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Award for 2012! The novel also won the Eric Hoffer Award for 2012 – Honorable Mention Best ebook Fiction! Vera’s first published southern novel, Dancing Backward in Paradise, won the Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction in 2007 and the Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence, also in 2007. Both books earned five star ForeWord Clarion reviews!

The author works by day for an education publishing company as an account manager and lives on the Upper West side of Manhattan with her long term partner, her Pomeranian, Daisy, her Basenji/Chihuahua mix, Roxie, her Chihuahua, Peanut and her two pussy cats, Sassy and Sweetie Pie.

Vera Jane Cook’s Website: http://www.verajanecook.com/

Vera Jane Cook on Twitter: https://twitter.com/verajanecook
Vera Jane Cook on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vera.j.cook

Follow the blog tour for more reviews, giveaways, author interviews and guest posts: 

So Many Precious Books Jan 20 Review & Giveaway
Joystory Jan 21 Review
From Isi Jan 22 Review & Giveaway
Carole Rae’s Ramblings Jan 23 Review
Romance & Inspiration Jan 24 Review
Romance & Inspiration Jan 27 Interview
Wall to Wall Books Jan 28 Review & Giveaway
Back Porch Reservations Feb 3
The Book Review Feb 5 Review
VW Stitcher Feb 7 Review
I Feel So Unnecessary Feb 10 Review
Indie Reviews Behind the Scenes Mar 29 12 pm cst Interview- Live on Blog Talk Radio


1 tell me a story:

Teddy Rose 1/21/2014 1:01 PM  

Thanks for taking part in the tour! I'm glad you enjoyed Where the Wildflower Grow, so much. It sure does linger! I finished reading it a couple weeks ago yet I can't stop thinking about it. I wont forget the Cassidy family!

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