Oklahoma, 1932: Trouble seemed to be rolling up like the dust on the dry yellow horizon beyond Henry Ann's farm. Her father was dead and her two rebellious half-siblings were now her responsibility. Then Tom Dolan, a new neighbor, came into her life bringing both a ray of hope and burdens of his own. But it would take a tragedy before they could fully love each other...an innocent Tom suspected of murder...and a staunch Henry Ann standing by his side. Yet despite the dark time ahead, Henry Ann and Tom knew they had found a treasure-a bright and shining future worth fighting for.
The bestselling author of Sweetwater and more than 20 other novels tackles Depression-era Oklahoma with wit, freshness and memorable characterization. In 1932, after Henry Ann Henry's father dies, she's left with a farm to run and two disreputable half-siblings to civilize. Soon the young woman's brood grows to include her African American foster mother, a vagrant with a secret past, and the young son of a handsome neighbor whose wife is going mad. There are plenty of troubles to contend with, not the least of which are the wagging tongues of the town gossips. An old-fashioned storyteller, Garlock creates people and places with a tart honesty reminiscent of a more adult version of the "Anne of Green Gables" series. Although the black dialect may grate on modern ears, it still has the ring of authenticity. The book is billed as a historical romance but should have wider appeal. National print advertising. (Sept.) FYI: This is the first of three books by Garlock set in the 1930s; the next, With Song, will be published in spring 1999. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Grand Central Publishing
December 31, 2003
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Excerpt from With Hope by Dorothy Garlock
Lately I've been longing to tell a story from a more recent time in our history, the period between World Wars I and II, years when young lovers faced a different kind of hardship: the Great Depression. Drama and romance flowered then as well. Gangsters, every bit as nefarious as western outlaws, made violent headlines while young people danced to new jazz rhythms that shocked their elders. As always, strong family ties were the keys to survival.
With Hope is the first of at least three novels I'm writing set in the 1930s. It tells the story of a woman trying to keep her farm and misfit siblings together after her parents deaths, and of the strong, kind-hearted man who helps her but can't offer her the one thing he wants to give her the most.
I hope you'll enjoy it.
With thanks to all my loyal readers,
"Hower ya gonna keep'em down on the farm after they've seen Pa-ree? Hower ya gonna keep'em away from Broadway? Paintin' the town-da-da-da-da-de-de-de-de-"
Dorene gazed into the mirror as she sang, adjusted the neckline of the thin sleeveless dress she wore, then licked her fingers and flattened the spit curl on her forehead.
"Are you leaving again?" The small girl who stood in the doorway watche'd her young, pretty mother preen in front of the mirror.
"Why'd you come?"
"To pay you a visit." Dorene turned from one side to the other so that the long fringe at the bottom of her dress would swirl around her knees.
"Daddy said you came 'cause you needed money."
"Thats right. Your daddy owes me. I'm still his wife and he has a legal obligation to support me. But I wanted to see you, too."
"But mostly you came for the money," the child said. "Will you be back?"
Dorene turned from the mirror. "Maybe. Do you care, Henry Ann?"
The child shrugged indifferently. "I guess so. Will you?"
"I dont know. Maybe, maybe not. Depends on my luck." Dorene gave the girl a casual pat on the head and closed the packed suitcase that lay on the bed. "You wont miss me. You've got your precious daddy and your precious horse, and this precious dirt farm."
"Daddy'll get you a horse - if you stay."
"Good Lord!" Dorene rolled her eyes. "I want a lot of things, snookums, but a horse isn't one of them."
"Don't call me that. My name in Henry Ann."
Dorene rolled her eyes again. "How could I possibly forget? Where's your daddy now?"
"In the field. Are you goin' to tell him good-bye?"
"Why should I traipse all the way out there and get all hot and sweaty? He knows I'm going."
Dorene's deep felt hat fit like a cap. She was careful not to disturb the spit curls on her cheeks.
"You could thank him for the money."
"He had to give it to me. I'm his wife. Your daddy Don't like me much or he'd not have made me live out here in the sticks where I was lucky if I saw a motor car go by once a week. Work is all he thinks about. You and work, I should add."
"He likes you, too. He just didn't want you to cut off your hair like a like a flapper, rouge your cheeks and wear dresses that show your legs. Daddy says its trashy."
"Oh, yeah, he likes me," Dorene said sarcastically. "He likes me so much he wants me to walk behind a plow, hoe cotton, slop hogs, and have young'uns. I'm not doin' it. I'm goin' places and seein' thins. And that's that."
"I like it here. I'm never going to leave," the child said defiantly.
"You may think so now. Wait until you grow up."
"I'll like it then, too."
"Stay then. Eat dirt, get freckled and wrinkled so no man wI'll have you but another dirt farmer. It's city life for me."