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Hot Texas Read

November 7, 2013

Bobbi.Shelter

I picked up Shelter from the Texas Heat earlier this year at the Pulpwood Queens’ Girlfriends Weekend in Jefferson, Texas—founded by the very fabulous Kathy L. Patrick. (Have I ever mentioned that this is the BEST party of the year?) I remember telling myself that I was not going to buy another book. But that was right before hearing the author, Bobbi Kornblit, give her talk. After which, my friend Jan and I jumped up to run and purchase (yet another) book! I remember thinking that Shelter from the Texas Heat would be a great addition to a blog I planned to do in November around the JFK assassination—this being the 50th anniversary of our national tragedy. But, by the time I got around to reading the book, I’d forgotten what else had attracted me to it…I was expecting a “nice little bon-bon” as my friend Sheila would say—you know—something kind of light and fluffy… After all, the cover has these great colorful cowboy boots—and I thought I’d remembered the author mentioning something about some quirky characters… So, was I ever surprised at the depth of the story! Quirky characters? Absolutely. Light and fluffy? Absolutely not! A perfect book club book? Definitely!

Synopsis:  “Through laughter and tears [this novel] tells the story of a woman’s emotional journey on a road that could tragically lead to a dead end or to the highway of happiness. Compared in reviews to The Help  and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, [it’s] a novel about deep secrets and powerful friendships. Rachel Frank, a redheaded Texan, has it all: a happy marriage to a successful architect, a house on a prestigious street in North Dallas, and a daughter who’s coed at UT Austin. And then suddenly, Rachel’s world turns upside down. She shares her adventures in life from the 1960s to the present with best friend P.J. Rutherford, the daughter of a Texas tycoon. They experience the horror of the assassination of JFK when they were girls in Dallas. Rachel’s mother, Rosy Rosenshein Miller, tries to overcome the nightmare of her own past. She’s one of those great “broads” with loads of spunk and a little too much red lipstick. The tale of three generations of women reflects the coming-of-age of its characters—and of America. From funny, turned disastrous moments at a glamorous birthday party at Neiman Marcus, to the painful memories of a Holocaust survivor, [this book] takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride that even includes a stop at the State Fair of Texas. The setting is Texas, but the themes are universal. With wide interest in JFK during this 50th anniversary of the assassination in 1963, this book provides a look at the tragic event from a child’s perspective and the aftermath on a family.” (Publisher)

Awards: Apparently, I’m not the first to recognize the value of this book…It has been selected as the Winner of the 2012 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, the 2013 Multicultural-Fiction category of the National Indie Excellence Awards, and 2012 Georgia Author of the Year First Fiction Award Finalist . In addition, the book was chosen as the September 2012 Recommended Selection of Kathy L. Patrick’s Pulpwood Queens Book Club, an international group with over 500 chapters. The novel was also adapted for a staged reading by Kennesaw State University’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies.

Themes: The discussable themes covered in this short novel are myriad: Marriage and Family; Mother/Daughter relationships; Spousal Abuse; Random acts of Violence; Racial prejudice; Secrets; Friendship; Jewish traditions; Depression; Trauma Recovery—yep—some pretty heavy stuff. The author has you laughing one moment and crying the next. And yet, this was an enjoyable—if a bit emotionally involved—read! The author includes some discussion questions in the back—but you probably won’t even need them! Order extra wine, because your reading group is going to be there for a while. Oh, and Bobbi also welcomes Skype™ requests to connect with book clubs.

Characters: The main character is a spunky red-headed Jewish Texan named Rachel, whom you will learn to love—despite her inability to help herself, at times. Rachel appears to have inherited her spunk from her Mother, Rosy—a real beauty in her day—but also a women with hidden strength and a great love for her family. Rachel’s husband, Michael, is the kind of guy any woman looks for: strong, smart, and compassionate. And Missy, Rachel’s daughter is good kid—who unfortunately frequently ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time. You will also adore her loyal, life-long best friend—the determined PJ.

But even some of the periphery characters were quite interesting: Carrie Ann, the friend with enough “princess” crowns to open a jewelry shop: Rosemary, the pop-psychologist; and Irene, the Holocaust survivor; Manny, the African-American butler; and Juan, the Hispanic sculptor. They add much breadth to the character line-up, and complexity to the plot line.

Setting: The author used several historical references over the past half-century in an almost Forrest Gump-way to ground the time-setting, including the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion, German Concentration Camps, and MLK’s March on Washington, in addition to the afore-mentioned JFK Assassination. For the baby-boomer generation, she sprinkled enough pop song references to send you back to your High School dance days. And for you Texans, there are plenty of landmarks—from Dallas to Austin—with which this Californian was unfamiliar, but y’all will certainly recognize.

This novel was a satisfying read and will be added to my short list of favorites for this year. I did, however, have a few unanswered questions when I finished this book, and so the author has agreed to participate in a Q&A for us inquiring minds—so you have something else to look forward to… (Let me know if you have some “Q’s” to add to my own growing list…)

Give-away: And speaking of things to look forward to—we will be giving away a copy of Ms. Kornblit’s novel here on the Book Club Cheerleader blog. Please leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing! Good luck and…

Cheers!

BCC

 

Details and Links:

The book: Shelter from the Texas Heat by Bobbi Kornblit.

Peach Twig Press, $17.95 (304p) November 2011, IBSN 978-0-615-53861-7

Author’s Website: Bobbi Kornblit.com

Check out her FB page: Shelter from the Texas Heat

See where Bobbi will be next: Author Events     

Other Reviews:

Amazon: 4.8*

GoodReads: 3.95*

Pure Politics: Book Review: Shelter from the Texas Heat by Bobbi Kornblit

* Ratings were current at the time of posting.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Kay Huck permalink
    November 8, 2013 7:23 am

    Marsha, I haven’t read this one yet but because of your glowing review, it’s going to the top of the list! Kay

    Visit http://www.swlapulpwoodqueens.blogspot.com to purchase through Amazon.com. All commissions are donated to Abrazando Cristo Mission to Nicaragua to purchase books for the orphanage. Our donations are personally delivered by one of our members and her family who participate in the annual mission trip. Thank You! Inspire our actions, Lord, and accompany them by your help, so that our every word and act may always have its beginning in you and in you be brought to completion.

    Date: Thu, 7 Nov 2013 20:46:30 +0000 To: kayhuck@hotmail.com

  2. November 8, 2013 4:10 pm

    Wonderful that you enjoyed this book so much. Bobbi is such a sweet lady!

    • November 8, 2013 5:27 pm

      Bill: It’s always great when a book turns out to be much more than you expected. (And I’m always so sad when the reverse occurs…) And you’re right—I enjoyed meeting Bobbi last January—she was so much fun. I look forward to seeing you both next January!
      Oh, and let put you in the drawing and see if you agree with me about the book… :-) Good luck-and Cheers! BCC

  3. marata permalink
    November 10, 2013 8:46 am

    You make me want to read this

  4. November 20, 2013 7:28 pm

    Carol Beckham won the drawing for her own copy of Shelter From the Texas Heat using Random Picker.com. Congratulations, Carol!

Trackbacks

  1. “Shelter From the Texas Heat” Author Tells All! | Book Club Cheerleader
  2. JFK Connection in Best Book Women’s Fiction Winner - James Timothy White
  3. JFK Connection in Best Book Women’s Fiction Winner: SHELTER FROM THE TEXAS HEAT - James Timothy White
  4. Dallas Author Returns to her Roots for 11/22 - James Timothy White

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