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Lookin' Back, Texas - eBook
B&H Fiction / 2008 / ePub
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Trying to live the facade of a picture perfect life, Suzanne Mullins, forty-two, gets a whacky phone call about her mom planning her father's funeral, while he's still alive...and out mowing the lawn! This can't be happening! Suzanne is holding on by a thread to her own family's picture perfect facade, and now she has to try and figure out how to cover for her parents too! Although she feels the weight of the world on her shoulders, it becomes even more than she can handle...but can she let go and let God handle the crisis?
Betty Lynne Davidson is planning her husbands funeral while overlooking one thing: hes not dead.
When Suzanne Mullins, forty-two, gets the call from her father to come back home to Texas because her mother has gone off the deep end, she knows it will mean having to look at the faulty foundations of their marriage as well as her own. Betty Lynne has always upheld a perfect facade of home and family, and Suzanne has followed suit. But her life with husband Mike and son Oliver is cracking under the pressure of its own unspoken history.
Looking her past in the eye once and for all, Suzanne hopes that trusting in Gods love and mercy will set all of this craziness straighteven if it does mean having to watch her father give the eulogy at his own funeral.
"What a hoot! Leanna Ellis has a gift for storytelling and for quirky, fun, eccentric characters entirely true to the human experience."
Author of His Small-Town Girl
"An entertaining tale, full of rich characters and a deep lesson about healing the past. Leanna Ellis is on my reading list from here on out."
Author of Sweet Caroline and Diva NashVegas
"A wacky, off-the-wall read thats spiritually right on target!"
Cathy Marie Hake
Author of Forevermore and Fancy Pants
"In a smooth pairing of wit and grit, Leanna Ellis weaves a tale of flawed relationships and crippling regrets with wonderfully timed comedic threads. A fresh, clever look at the audacity of love that forgives."
Author of Blue Heart Blessed
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.
What a hoot! Leanna Ellis has a gift for storytelling and for quirky, fun, eccentric characters entirely true to the human experience. Arlene James, author of His Small-Town Girl
Lookin' Back, Texas, Leanna Ellis' soon-to-be released book, is a creative recipe whose ingredients are frantic fun and human imperfection, peppered with hope and forgiveness for flavor. Even Betty Lynne, one of Ellis central characters in the book, would find it hard to find fault about this dish. As with her previous books, Ellis serves her characters and their troubles warm, garnished with dramatic irony.
When Suzanne Mullins, the only daughter of Archie and Betty Lynne Davidson of Luchenbach, Texas gets a garbled, interrupted message from her father she's led to believe all is not right in her parents' marriage and that they have finally reached a breaking point. Just how wide the chasm between them is a mystery until a few moments later when Suzanne gets a call from Linda Lou Hoover, Luchenbach's own version of Hedda Hopper, who voices her concerns over Betty Lynne's inability to grieve her dead husband. Unable to reach her father once again, Suzanne fears the worse and calls her mother to find out whether her father is still among the living. What she learns is that a funeral is in the works at the Davidson household. The question remains, will there be a corpse, and if not, can you even have a funeral without one? Suzanne quickly finds herself on a plane for Texas to find out what the turmoil is really all about, fearing that her mother has finally slipped over the deep side of some mental fissure. She arrives at her mother's home, tired and confused, to find a congregation of bereaved consoling her mother. Suzanne accepts, with numbed silence, the condolences of those gathered, while her mother plays the role of perfect hostess with cool detachment.
As Ellis' story warms page after page, the other members of Suzanne's family, as well as acquaintances from her past, are stirred in, adding to the book's robustness. Suzanne, and her husband Mike, an attorney from California, and her fifteen-year-old son Oliver, work frantically to sort through the complicated layers of the Davidson's lives, all the while Betty Lynne frustrates their efforts, ignores the problem, and goes on with her plans to host a fitting funeral for her departed beloved husband Archie. The story does eventually come to a full boil, and readers will be surprised at the outcome. Ellis finishes off the dish well and readers will be left filled and satisfied with the ending she has chosen.
This is the second of Ellis' novels, which I have had the privilege of reviewing. The author has, again, created personable characters, sometimes complicated, sometimes simple, but uniquely brave as they face the trials the author stirs together for them. The story is imaginative and warm. Readers will undoubtedly feel welcome at the table in Lookin' Back, Texas when they sit down to sample Ellis' latest creation. Susan Cronk, ACFW.com
In a smooth pairing of wit and grit, Leanna Ellis weaves a tale of flawed relationships and crippling regrets with wonderfully timed comedic threads. A fresh, clever look at the audacity of love that forgives. - Susan Meissner Author of Blue Heart Blessed
Lookin' Back Texas by Leanna Ellis Leanna Ellis is a startling look at the damage a lie can do to a marriage and a life. Susannah Mullins is going home to attend her father's funeral. But he's not dead. Susannah's mother Betty Lynne is so angry at his leaving her, that she has pronounced him dead and bought the casket. Susannah has returned to her hometown of Luckenbach, Texas in years, and when she does, old friendships and rivalries are quickly re-ignited. But trouble really starts when her husband Mike and son Oliver come to town exposing a secret Susannah had kept in the depth of her heart for over sixteen years. Ellis has a real ear for dialogue making it zing with humor and cut with truth. Many of the characters are typical fiction: small town=quirky, but Susannah and her family are real and multi-faceted. She's very angry with her mother, but can't help seeing those same flaws in her own life. She's tried so hard to be completely different that her mom, but they are both hiding secrets and desperately trying to control everything around them to keep those secrets from spilling out. Ellis doesn't go overboard on the Christian aspect of the book; it's important to Susannah, but she knows that her faith doesn't make her perfect nor does it stop her from sinning. I truly enjoyed this book about faith and family. - http://christysbookblog.blogspot.com
I enjoyed Leanna's sort of debut novel, "Elvis Takes a Back Seat" (I say sort of debut because that wasn't her first novel, just the first one under that name in that genre). She has a sense of humor that is witty and has a bit of an edge to it (read that: sarcastic), which appeals to me Go figure! LOL!
Her second book, in my opinion, is prologue and chapters better than the first (that's a bit of literary wit, mind you). In "Lookin' Back, Texas", Leann had me crying tears of laughter one page and then choked up with emotion the very next line.Betty Lynne Davidson is my kind of woman! Her husband walks out on her, so she gets even--she plans his funeral. Only problem is, he isn't dead yet!
When her daughter, Suzanne, gets a frantic phone call from her dad asking her for help, she flies straight back home to Texas and into the arms of insanity...namely, her parents. What Suzanne doesn't count on is having to face her past, and to address some shaky and potentially crumbling flaws in her own marriage while helping her reluctant parents put theirs back together.
This is by far one of the most unique concepts I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Now, I've met some wacky Southern women, and I love them all...but Betty Lynne takes the cake. When you read about the casket...well, if you aren't grabbin' a hanky and runnin' for the bathroom...you just don't get Southern humor!
I'm giving "Lookin' Back, Texas" five out of five bookmarks, with a rearview mirror as a charm...sometimes, lookin' back at our past can be a GOOD thing! Be lookin' for "Lookin' Back, Texas" to release from Broadman and Holman in September 2008.- Happy Reading! Deena http://deenasbooks.blogspot.com
I am sure most people have a few relatives that they would consider to be different. You know, the family members who make you nervous at weddings and funerals because you just never know what they might do.
Suzanne Mullins, the main character in Leanna Ellis' Lookin' Back, TexasLookin' Back, Texas, is a little concerned about the crazy behavior of one of her relatives. It happens to be her mother Betty Lynne. When Suzanne arrives at her childhood home in Texas, she learns that Betty Lynne is announcing her husband's death and planning his funeral. The only problem is that Archie Davidson isn't dead.
While Suzanne is dealing with her mother's irrational behavior, she is also forced to face mistakes from her own past, mistakes she has kept hidden for many years. Handling all these troubles at once may be enough to make Suzanne's life the craziest of them all.
I was skeptical about the story line in this book, but the tale was wonderfully written. Lookin' Back, Texas is a book that will make you laugh. I caught myself chuckling throughout the story, especially at the small-town antics. This book is light-hearted, but its message is a powerful one. I admit that I even teared up at the end.I encourage you to consider this new novel by Leanna Ellis. It is an enjoyable read! - Lauren 5minutesforbooks.com
This was one of those books that makes you wonder how the hey they will pull THIS one out. I was not, however, cringing the whole time wondering why they don't just TALK instead of digging these huge holes, which is a very good thing. All in all I think itwas a very well rounded plot line with far more involved than just a whacko mom. I really enjoyed the many layers of this book and the absolute necessity of Suzanne's trip "home."
But can I tell you what I liked most about this book? It felt like going home for me. A little mini-vacation without spending money on gas. I knew those crazy people. I've lived the small town, everyone's up in your business, someone is always a witness, life. (Sometimes I still long for it.) I think Leanna Ellis wrote small town true to life--at least the small town that I know and love.
Methinks I shall check out more of her titles. I'm thinking Elvis Takes a Back Seat. - http://survivingthechaos.blogspot.com/2008/11/lookin-back-texas-by-leanna-ellis.html
Leanna Ellis develops the characters in Lookin Back, Texas beautifully. They jump off the page and remind you of people, or parts of people you know. Betty Lynne has an amazing penchant for twisting things to suit herself, thereby controlling everything and everyone that she can. Suzannes insecurities rise to the surface and she allows fear to determine the decisions and choices she makes. Leanna will keep you hanging until the very last pages to resolve the issues within Suzanne and Mikes marriage, as well as Betty Lynne and Archies. Mikes unconditional love and his forgiveness had me in tears and I cheered (silently of course!) on Archies behalf as he was able to begin dissolving Betty Lynnes determination. Despite weighty issues and events, there is much humour throughout the story. With a woman as crazy as Betty Lynne it is inevitable and Leanna provides the light relief seamlessly in a way that adds to the depth of the story. There are many strong themes through Lookin Back, Texas. Reminders that marriages are worth fighting for and that lies never remain buried. In Mike and Archie you will see unconditional love portrayed in a beautiful way. It is also interesting to see how the sins of one generation are repeated in the next. And all of these things are covered with forgiveness that can only come when you have a personal relationship with the One who forgives fully. - Guest reviewer: my friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence, Relz Reviewz Extras
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