2019 Wisdom-Faulkner Award finalist
2020 Adult Fiction winner Texas Author Project
2020 Sarton Award Finalist
2020 Eric Hoffer Award Short List
A drunken mother makes childhood ugly. Jane runs away at sixteen, determined to leave her fraught upbringing in the rearview. Vowing never to return, she hitchhikes to California, right on time for the Summer of Love. Seventeen years later, she looks good on paper: married, grad school, sober, but her carefully constructed life is crumbling. When Mama dies, Jane returns for the funeral, leaving her husband in the dark about her history. Seeing her childhood home and significant people from her youth catapults Jane back to the events that made her the woman she is. She faces down her past and the ghosts that shaped her family. A stunning discovery helps Jane see her problems through a new lens.
JUST ONE LOOK
2020 Shelf Unbound 2021 Notable 100 Best Indie Books
2020 Recommended by US Review of Books
I’LL BE SEEING YOU
A saga spanning five decades, I’ll Be Seeing You, explores one woman’s life, with and without alcohol to numb the pain.
Young Lauren knows she doesn’t want to be a ranch wife in Palo Pinto County, Texas. After she’s discovered by a modeling scout at the 1940 Fort Worth Stock Show Parade, she moves to Manhattan to begin her glamourous career. A setback ends her dream, and she drifts into alcohol dependence and promiscuity. By twenty-four, she’s been widowed and divorced, and has developed a pattern of fleeing her problems with geographical cures. Lauren’s last escape lands her in Austin, where, after ten chaotic years, she achieves lasting sobriety and starts a successful business, but happiness eludes her.
Fast forward to 1985. With a history of burning bridges and never looking back, Lauren is stunned when Brett, her third husband, resurfaces, wanting to reconcile after thirty-three years. The losses and regrets of the past engulf her, and she seeks the counsel of Jane, a long-time friend from AA. In the end, the choice is Lauren’s. What will she decide?
For all that this book covers forty-seven years of Lauren’s life, it was actually a quick read because it was so engaging. I found myself transported to the time periods and settings skillfully described in the story. Having just visited Pearl Harbor before reading this, I connected best with the scenes depicting events during World War II. Those showed excellent research and came across as lived experiences.
One of the things I liked most about this story is the constancy of the element of friendship in Lauren’s life. From Clare to Milly to Harold to Alice to Helen and to Jane, Lauren always had some kind of support system. It’s especially important because of her estrangement from her family and her lack of success in love.
Another aspect of this book I really liked is how diverse the mix of characters is in terms of ethnicity, gender identity, and political affiliation. It seems reflective of society even in the past.
Lauren’s struggle to overcome alcoholism was quite an effective plotline. It would resonate with many readers looking for main characters who are flawed yet still trying to become the best version of themselves.
A retired registered nurse with experience in both the cold, clinical operating room and the emotionally fraught world of psychiatric hospitals, Joanne lives on a small ranch in the Texas Hill Country, where she writes fiction about complicated, twentieth-century women.