Velva Jean Learns to Drive

Jennifer Niven, Author . Plume $15 (404p) ISBN 978-0-452-28945-1

Niven makes some memorable moonspun magic in her rich fiction debut (after two nonfiction books) about 10-year-old Velva Jean Hart, a North Carolina kid determined to drive and sing at the Grand Ole Opry. After Velva Jean is born again, her daddy leaves and her mother falls ill, and not even Velva's bargaining with God can save her. Her brother, Johnny Clay, is some comfort, but Velva Jean grows up fast after promising her dying mother to heal people with her singing. At 16, Velva marries charismatic Rev. Harley Bright, a moonshiner's son, railroad fireman and part-time evangelist who later resolves to become a full-time preacher. But Velva Jean's independent streak (she wants to learn to drive), her singing (which sounds sinful to Harley's ear) and her friendship with a half-Choctaw, half-Creole blues musician fire up Harley's controlling jealousy. It's a touching read, funny and wise, like a crazy blend of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, a less morose Flannery O'Connor and maybe a shot of Hank Williams. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/29/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 608 pages - 978-1-60285-605-9
Open Ebook - 978-1-101-05779-7
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 416 pages - 978-1-101-05545-8
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-101-05467-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-101-19490-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-101-14079-6
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