Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series Book 4
Rural Fiction / Small Town Texas / Literary Fiction
Publisher: MidTown Publishing
Date of Publication: February 5, 2023
***** Scroll down for Giveaway! *****
A stranger comes to Jackson’s Pond and everything changes.
Marva Cope, the fourth novel in the Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series, brings new elements to the story of the small town in the Texas Panhandle.
Marva arrives as the new postmaster in 2017. She brings with her a lifetime of hesitancy to open herself to others. It is here, while living with her elder Aunt Violet, that she comes to appreciate the value of true friendships. With new relationships, long walks, and conversations with herself, she comes to terms with her difficult past…the loss of a beloved teenaged brother in a tragic farm accident, her father’s death from a broken heart, and a distant mother who had no love for the young teenager.
Troubled teenage years followed as a flawed young man lures her to New Mexico, then left her alone with their newborn daughter. With her newfound courage of trusting others as friends, she reconnects with her daughter and a college dorm-mate she had deserted in years past. In Jackson’s Pond, she finds the ability to consider what to do with the rest of her life.
PRAISE FOR MARVA COPE:
There is so much to admire in this wise and luminous novel. Marva Cope is written with abiding tenderness and compassion. — John Dufresne, author of Storyville
The novel Marva Cope is a rarity— an artfully told “coming of age” story that morphs into a “getting on with life” saga that, in the end, celebrates the simple joys of human connection. — Martha Burns, author of Blind Eye
***** CLICK TO PURCHASE! *****
Oh, how I love literary fiction. Stories that break from the confines of genre fiction and bring me characters in unique situations with lots of layers of plot are quickly becoming favorites of mine, and Marva Cope is a wonderful book. At the core, it’s a story about friendships and trust and how hard it is for someone who has been so sorely disappointed by the people who meant the most to her – her brother, her parents, and the man she loved – to embrace new friends and trust that they will not let her down.
We first meet Marva not long after the death of her brother, a moment in time that tore the family apart and left Marva emotionally adrift. Her Aunt Violet seems to be the only one in the family who understands Marva and counsels the teenage girl to go on to college in Lubbock and find a new life.
So that’s what Marva does, but she’s like a wounded bird, really afraid to take off and try to fly. That is until she meets Cutter, a rodeo cowboy who steals her heart and convinces her to go off on an adventure. And what an adventure it is for almost two years, until the day Cutter leaves just weeks after their baby is born and doesn’t come back.
They were hired as managers of a ranch and hunting lodge in New Mexico, and with Cutter gone, Marva realizes she can’t continue that work by herself with a baby to take care of. So she makes her way back to Lubbock and begins life as a single mother.
The reader is not privy to those years between New Mexico and Marva’s move to Jackson Pond, Texas after her daughter has grown and set off on a life of her own, and it isn’t necessary that they be detailed. One can only imagine how difficult it was to raise a child alone, and what the reader really needs to know is whether this wounded bird will ever recover.
Jumping ahead to 2017, Marva is the Postmistress in the little town of Jackson Pond, Texas; living with her Aunt Violet and trying to decide who she is now that she’s in her late fifties and what the rest of her life will entail. Slowly, Marva sorts this all out when she makes the decision to open herself to new friendships, and reconnect with those of her past.
At one point in her contemplation about where she is going in her remaining years, literally and figuratively, Marva recalls what she once told her daughter about how she preferred to work jigsaw puzzles; first putting the borders together and then figuring out where everything else belonged in the center. Marva realizes that is what’s happening as “she and Stacy were fitting together the borders of their lives, the more difficult parts would come later with more of the pieces fitting together.”
It’s hard to say much more without giving away plot points, but this is a book to be read slowly and carefully thought about for a long time after it’s finished. Even the most flawed characters have their endearing moments, and the narrative is rich in vivid descriptions. I highly recommend the read.
Teddy Jones is the author of five published novels, as well as a collection of short stories. 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 novel, Making It Home, was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2017 and A Good Family (not yet unpublished) was named finalist in that contest in 2018.
Although her fiction tends to be set in West Texas, her characters’ lives embody issues not bounded by geography of any particular region. Families and loners; communities in flux; people struggling, others successful; some folks satisfied in solitude and others yearning for connection populate her work. And they all have in common that they are more human than otherwise.
Jones grew up in a small Texas town, Iowa Park. Earlier she 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.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
A set of all 4 Jackson’s Pond, Texas books, a copy of Nowhere Near, and a $25 Amazon gift card.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 3/17/23)
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