Good morning, book nerds!!
Today is my stop along the Slanted Light blog tour! This Texas-based drama introduced me to a family of inspirational women, and I’m glad I read their touching tale. Scroll down for my review and enter the giveaway below for a chance to win YOUR very own copy!
Slanted Light by Teddy Jones
Title & Author: Slanted Light by Teddy Jones
Genre: Literary Fiction/Family Saga/Western Women/Rural Fiction
Release Date: August 21, 2020
Publisher: Midtown Publishing
Series Details: Book 2 in Jackson’s Pond Texas series
Page Count: 275 pages
Opening Line: “No one else could have heard what Willa said to him.”
Teddy Jones’s earlier novel, Jackson’s Pond, Texas, began the saga of the Jackson family. Now, Slanted Light continues their tale.
Claire Havlicek’s late night call brings her brother Chris Banks from his home in New Mexico back to the town that bears their family name, Jackson’s Pond. She’s collapsed under the weight of threats to her thirteen-year marriage that have undermined her confidence and her will. Her husband, J.D., responds to seduction by a woman in need; theft and the threat of a forced buyout jeopardize Claire’s two medical clinics; drought imperils their ranch and cattle business; a teenage daughter turns to bulimia.
When Claire admits her limits, her grandmother, Willa Jackson, and the other members of her family help her learn that being human, weaknesses and all, can be a source of strength and joy.
Thank you so much to LSBBT, the publisher, and the author for providing me with a finished copy in exchange for an honest review.
“What’s wrong is seldom one thing; it’s one more thing.”
You know that saying: “When it rains, it pours”? It’s a phrase typically used to describe an onslaught of similar events that occur over a short period of time. Considering the pile of problems accumulating for the Havliceks, it’s pretty spot on. Which is rather ironic given that one of their primary issues is a years-long drought.
Jokes aside, it’s hard not to feel immediate sympathy for the characters featured in Slanted Light. Facing theft, break-ins, a hormonal teenager, eating disorders, and fractures in their professional and personal lives, the parents in this contemporary certainly have it tough.
“Don’t be surprised if things get worse before they get better.”
J.D. and Claire Havilcek have stopped putting each other first. After three turbulent transitional years they’ve stopped speaking the same love language — when they’re speaking at all. Trading passion and respect for pride and resentment, their miscommunication and judgements are now affecting their children. And while this dissension felt raw and plausible, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t initially side with Claire.
After earning her undergraduate and Master’s degrees, Claire has become a nurse practitioner opening two clinics in their rural community to aid accessibility to medical care. In addition to working a full-time job, she’s also a full-time mother and homemaker ensuring the kids get to & from school daily, and that a home-cooked meal is on the table every night. To me, Claire is a superhero. And yet, J.D. is constantly criticizing her for not being a “good enough” wife and encouraging her to quit her practice in order to be more attentive to his needs at home. While I could write a whole diatribe against J.D.’s logic, I do believe these scenes — coupled with a heartbreaking confession from a female patient at Claire’s clinic — highlight how women are often held to an incredibly high standard. Not only by society, but also by other women, and even themselves.
I, like Claire, used to run and operate my own business, and the number of situations and conversations I was put in that a male counterpart would never encounter was as mind-boggling as it was maddening. I say this not only to express how deeply I related to Claire’s struggle, but also to point out that it’s okay to admit there are days when we don’t feel like putting on that superhero cape. Days where we’re bogged down by the expectations of others; working for their goals instead of reaching for our own. Getting trapped in this cycle can lead to exhaustion, burn out, and depression, which is why we need to remember to celebrate our accomplishments and ask for help when we need it. A message J.D. (shockingly) helped illustrate.
“I know how it feels to want to succeed. I had to lose a lot to learn what would really mean success to me.”
Watching this family evolve from a seemingly broken unit into an enviable and loving household was an unexpected joy. Especially because I never thought I’d relate to the plight of a ranching family. But managing a farm, like any business, requires balance in order to be successful. And this book beautifully depicts a family discovering that balance.
With strong themes of body positivity, open communication, and appreciating life in the moment, Slanted Light delivers a powerful family saga packed with action and empathetic characters. From the seemingly all-knowing matriarch of the family, Willa, to the observant and precocious Jay Frank, Jones’ characters are fleshed out and worthy of getting to know. There’s so much I’d love to say about their journeys, but I’d rather you dive in and experience them yourself.
Teddy Jones is the author of three other published novels, Halfwide, Jackson’s Pond, Texas, and Well Tended, as well as a collection of short stories, Nowhere Near. Her short fiction received the Gold Medal First Prize in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2015. Jackson’s Pond, Texas was a finalist for the 2014 Willa Award in contemporary fiction from Women Writing the West. Her as-yet-unpublished novel, Making It Home, was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2017 and “A Good Family” was named a finalist in that contest in 2018.
Jones grew up in Iowas park, a small Texas town. She has worked as a nurse, a nurse educator, a nursing-college administrator, and as a nurse practitioner in Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. For the past twenty years, she and her husband have lived in the rural West Texas Panhandle, where he farms and she writes.
║Website║Bookbub║Facebook║Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series on Facebook║Instagram║Amazon Author Page║Goodreads║
1st Prize: Signed Copies of both Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series books + $25 Amazon gift card
2nd & 3rd Prize: Signed copy of Slanted Light
August 25, 2020 – September 4, 2020
VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
|8/25/20||Sneak Peek||Chapter Break Book Blog|
|8/25/20||Book Trailer||KayBee’s Book Shelf|
|8/26/20||Bonus Post||Hall Ways Blog|
|8/27/20||Author Interview||Max Knight|
|8/30/20||Guest Post||All the Ups and Downs|
|9/1/20||Top Five List||Texas Book Lover|
|9/2/20||Review||The Clueless Gent|
|9/3/20||Review||Reading by Moonlight|
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