Elvis Takes a Back Seat    -     By: Leanna Ellis
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Elvis Takes a Back Seat

B&H Books / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

Claudia, a young widow is determined to fulfill her husband's last request by hauling a three-foot bust of Elvis Presley in the backseat of a vintage Cadillac from Dallas to Memphis to return it to its rightful owner. The road trip-taken with an eccentric aunt who actually knew the "King of Rock 'n' Roll," and a temperamental teen with a suspicious mind of her own-hits some royal roadblocks and detours as these women uncover pieces of their past along with the bust's mysterious history. What they find along the way changes their lives forever.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: B&H Books
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 8.40 X 5.50 X 0.64 (inches)
ISBN: 0805446966
ISBN-13: 9780805446968
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

Three troubled women learn more about themselves and God than expected when they take a road trip to Memphis to return a three-foot bust of Elvis to its rightful owner.

Author Bio

Leanna Ellis sold more than 1.3 million romantic novels writing as Leanna Wilson, winning a Readers’ Choice award and the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award for her work. Elvis Takes a Back Seat is the first book published under her married name, marking a new creative direction in her writing. Like Francine Rivers before her, Leanna has left behind a successful career as an author of secular romances to write novels of faith that glorify God. A former schoolteacher, Leanna is now a homeschool mom and lives with her husband and children in Keller, Texas.
 

Show-Me Reviews

I don't give out five stars very often. A book has to have certain qualities to rate that kind of accolade. It has to get my attention right from the start. It has to keep my attention through each chapter. It can't be preachy or whiney, nor be overly repetitive. And it absolutely must not give itself away too soon. I have to admit, when I first saw the title I was a bitskeptical. What was this one going to require of me? Was an over-the-top fan going to chase down Elvis sightings and make me go along? Nope. Was an Elvis impersonator going to try to pass himself off as the original and prove he was alive and that he had not been abducted by aliens? Nope. Elvis Takes a Back Seat was not any of those things. Oh, Elvis was there, on nearly every page, but the author seemed to understand that her readers didn't want to go in those directions any more than she did, and so she chose an entirely different trip and she didn't let Elvis run away with her story.

I liked this book because the story is told in such polished style that readers will want to be in the back seat of that Rock 'n Roll red Cadillac, with the top down, cruising the road to Memphis. The plot twists aren't overly complicated, nor are they over-simplified. Ellis has managed to keep that element of "this story really could go either way here." Even the chapter titles have something to offer.

Have you been spending a bit too much time listening to children's programming during the week? Are there over-the-top happy tunes repeating in your head? Well, Elvis Takes a Back Seat is more down-to-earth and you'll find yourself remembering the songs from which the chapter titles were taken. By the end of it, you'll be calm and happy, humming them instead of the theme song to the Mickey Mouse Club. But, reader beware. The book has a dangerous side. It fosters procrastination.

I put off doing the dishes on Tuesday, for what was supposed to be a few minutes. Two hours later, when it was time to start lunch, I made myself put the book down and go wash them. I managed to get the laundry in the washer on Wednesday, then sat down to read until it was time to put the clothes in the dryer. You have to remember to actually turn the washer on in order to get them clean. Did I do it on purpose? We'll never know. And grocery shopping? Oh, please. I found myself rushing through the more domestic tasks so I could get back to the book. I even found myself carrying it along as I hurried out the door for appointments. Stop lights are never long enough, and why can't we have traffic jams in rural America? I'm giving the book five stars because it earned it. It got my attention from the beginning. It kept me wanting to find out more in every chapter. It isn't preachy, or whiney, nor repetitive. I did figure out the ending a bit sooner than it was revealed, but that didn't take away from what came next, because even toward the end the author had a surprise or two up her sleeve. Elvis Takes a Back Seat is a warm and encouraging story about three generations of women who take a trip, not just to Memphis, but more importantly an inner journey into their own lives, their expectations, and their fears . . . and Elvis got to go along for the ride. This book is just simply a great trip all by itself. - Susan Cronk, Show-Me Reviews

Endorsements

“Leanna Ellis takes a back seat to no one. So put on your blue suede shoes and come along for a most entertaining ride to Memphis—and to the healing place closest to the heart.” - Debbie Macomber, New York Times #1 bestselling author

Publisher's Weekly

When Claudia, a 40-something Texas widow, holds a garage sale to offload some of her late husband's belongings, she discovers a note he scribbled in the last days of his illness, asking her to return a bizarre three-foot bust of Elvis Presley to Memphis. Reluctantly, Claudia embarks on a “return to sender” road trip to Tennessee with her 60ish aunt, who knew Elvis personally, and a caustic teenage girl who is harboring a secret. Ellis (who has built a career in romance writing under the name Leanna Wilson) has some strong moments scattered throughout the story, which is laced with over-the-top Elvis humor and interesting reflections on Claudia's cautious return to faith in God. The first half of the novel is an awkward mix of road trip sitcom and overwrought melodrama before jettisoning the humor somewhere after a tour of Graceland. Elvis fans will likely enjoy the homage paid to the King—in addition to the travelogue of sites around Memphis, each chapter is named after an Elvis song—but others will find the gimmicks distracting. Moreover, the writing is marred by theatrical clichés (“sudden tears threaten like the storm clouds popping up on the horizon”). Despite some entertaining scenes in this faith fiction offering, it lacks cohesiveness. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

"heartwarming, funny, delightful…I was floored by the way this book made me feel. Elvis Takes a back Seat is first-class entertainment." RomanceReaderAtHeart.com

"Absolutely brilliantly written…This book has everything a good read should have: some tears, a little witticism, meaningful connections, a few good belly laughs and hugs." TCM Reviews

Product Reviews

4.8 Stars Out Of 5
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  1. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    May 13, 2009
    Stephanie
    I am not an Elvis fan, but I have to say I really enjoyed this book. The premise of three women traveling to find the owner of a kitschy Elvis bust in a vintage Cadillac is deliciously unique, and the internal conflicts and relationships between characters keep the book from being a too-fluffy read. The buildup is slow, and some of the plot points, such as the ghost of Elvis thing, seem at once unbelievable and cliched. But that said, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey to Memphis, and will definitely be looking for more of Leanne's work.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    July 3, 2008
    Rhonda Comley
    I thought this was a great book with strong characters. To me though I thought the situations were predictable. I could guess what the outcomes would be. It was still a good read and went quickly. I am a Elvis fan so that helped!
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 20, 2008
    andi
    The cover description does not let you in on the whole story. It was 300+ pages of therapy, disguised as a road trip with Elvis. This book was more than an entertaining read it was a chance to "Surrender" to the plans of God. Definitely not fluff...a great read!
  4. Arizona
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    April 17, 2008
    Michelle Sutton
    Arizona
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    There are so many books out there and so little time to read them all. This is one story I recommend you take the time to enjoy. While there is nothing fluffy about this book, it does have it's humorous moments. There are also some very deep moments and emotional ties that develop between these friends when secrets come out that challenge their beliefs. I found some of the struggles they dealt with to be very true-to-life. And when it comes to grief and loss, I dare say I don't think I've read anything more real and honest than Claudia's perspective. I've read a lot of stories where people were angry with God for losing a loved one, but Leanna Ellis makes this one feel...real. It's hard to explain, but if you know someone who is angry and feels far away from God because they can't seem to let go, this would be a great book to give them to help them work through that. But this story is more than just a glance into someone's pain, it's a compelling tale of three women who all have serious issues to deal with. The dialog is natural and feels so real. The way the author brings these issues to the forefront through the story is incredibly well-done. You can actually learn something about your own heart and your own relationship with God from reading this book. That's a skill few authors have, and that's what makes it fabulous Christian fiction in my book. I highly recommend it.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    January 10, 2008
    Jennifer AlLee
    In this charming, innovative novel, three women set off on a road trip that will change each of their lives. Along for the ride is a three-foot bust of Elvis Presley, the catalyst for their journey.Elvis Takes a Back Seat is a wonderfully quirky tale, but don't be fooled by the cover or cute title. While there's plenty of fun to be had (I laughed out loud more than once) author Ellis deals with deep emotions and serious subjects. The characters are wonderfully unique, but completely real and compelling. In this book, as in life, there are no easy answers, but it's a journey well worth taking. Come along for the ride of your life!
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Leanna Ellis
Located in: Keller, TX
Submitted: December 04, 2007

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I'm a wife, mom, home schooler, chauffeur to all kid activities, cheerleader for all events, lousy cook and writer.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  I was having a garage sale and thought about how hard it is for many people to get rid of belongings. Elvis Takes a Back Seat begins with a garage sale. Getting rid of the Elvis bust is harder than she ever imagined.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I want this book to touch readers' hearts and help them to move on with their lives if they are grieving or stuck in one place and fear moving on. I hope readers will be encouraged in their faith.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  I realized that idols come in many shapes and sizes. Most are not shaped like an Elvis bust and sit on a pedestal. But sometimes memories can become idols: it was better back then! Or dreams can become idols: someday...! My writing started out as an idol when I began 15 years ago. I had to learn to lay that idol down and give it to God.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  I have many many favorite authors. I'm afraid I might forget one if I list a bunch here. But I will say that Beth Moore's studies and John Eldredge's books have influenced my writing.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  God is good. Always.

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