Stormy Weather

Paulette Jiles, Author . Morrow $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-053732-6

Jiles's eloquent, engaging sophomore novel celebrates four strong women toughing out the Great Depression in the Texas dust bowl. As the book opens in 1927, Elizabeth Stoddard and husband Jack have three daughters: the pretty Mayme, the tomboyish Jeanine and the writerly Bea. Jeanine, resented for being daddy's favorite, soon becomes the novel's primary point of view. After the disgraced Jack dies in 1937, the four Stoddard women move back to the 150-acre homeplace on the Brazos River in Central Texas. Drought, hail and dust storms, land-tax debts and grinding poverty make life a struggle; radio shows, horse-racing, wildcat oil well speculation and stuttering news reporter friend Milton Brown provide diversions. Jeanine falls in love with local rancher Ross Everett; Mayme dates soldier Vernon. Visceral detail of the 1930s rancher life and the hardscrabble setting add authenticity, particularly in the characters' feel for horses. While forthright, some of the dialogue is less than believable (as when Ross compliments Jeanine on her "furious bloody purple" dress), but it serves the characters' greater-than-usual emotional bandwidth. Jiles winds this gritty saga up on the eve of WWII with a patchwork quilt's worth of hope. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/12/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 368 pages - 978-0-06-143810-3
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-143807-3
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-143812-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-144997-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-144998-7
Compact Disc - 10 pages - 978-0-06-125646-2
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-175288-9
Paperback - 342 pages - 978-0-06-053733-3
Paperback - 498 pages - 978-0-06-134098-7
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-55468-189-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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