I'm a late starter in the world of Indie publishing. I published my first novel, Leap the Wild Water, in March of this year at the ripe age of fifty-five. I've been creatively writing for years but this was the first novel I'd written which I felt was worthy of publication. I live in the wilds of Wales, a landscape which is little changed from the 19th century era in which Leap the Wild Water is set. Fortunately, unlike the landscape, life is very different now from the way it was back then, especially for women. In the past, the majority of women suffered great hardship and inequality, and were subject to blatant sexual double standards. Women were rendered powerless by the religious doctrine and cultural beliefs of the time, much as they still are in many parts of the world. Women who dared to break the rules were often cruelly punished, not only by larger society but also by their own families. Maybe its because I came from a large family of ten children, but I've always been intrigued by the ways in which society impacts on individual lives. This interest is reflected in my writing. In the main, I blog about how life used to be for rural people; discoveries I made while researching my novel. I also blog reviews about books I've found outstanding.
Leap the Wild Water
Lord a-mercy! Shove my head in an ice-box and pour me a cool co-cola because Jazz Baby is hotter and steamier than a Mississippi swamp.
I could SMELL the sweat, the booze, the smoke and heat in the sleazy New Orleans speakeasies. I could FEEL those crumbling sidewalks beneath my feet. And the all pervading sense of danger this girl was in sneaked off the page and under my skin.
Lock up your sons (and your daughters, too) because Emily Ann Teegarten is running loose and wild with no Mama or Papa to set her straight.
How I felt for this naïve, orphan girl, cut loose and cast adrift in a world she was way to young for. I wanted to take her by the hand and take her home, rescue her from the inevitable she hadn't the wisdom to imagine for herself.
Emily Ann has a talent for singing jazz and that talent leads her into a dangerous world of speakeasies, gangsters, bootleggers, and sexual predators. Those not out to exploit her singing talent are more than ready to exploit her body.
This is a world where the price of a life is cheap. Out of her depth and out of control, her search for fame and a good time leads her astray into murky waters where people die at the end of a needle and getting on the wrong side of those controlling things gets you a bullet in the head. And even those who she should be able to trust don't care what happens to her.
If you like a cosy, comfy read go somewhere else. This girl's voice is raw, authentic and she may tell more than is comfortable to hear but there's nothing gratuitous.
It takes more than courage to write a story like this. Beem Weeks didn't just get to know his history and characters very well. He lived and breathed these people and places. And he dug deep, as deep as it takes to give Jazz Baby a voice like this. I'm so grateful he did. He has earned Emily Ann Teegarten, Jazz Baby, a place in the accolades of great fictional characters.
I'd never heard of Beem Weeks until a couple of weeks ago. I bought this on Kindle but I'm going to buy the paperback too; because I want it there on my bookshelves alongside my all time favourites; and because I'm proud to own it.
I don't take this much time to write a review unless I think a book merits it. If people aren't talking ABOUT this book, talking UP this book then they darned well should be. This kind of talent is rare and deserves to be recognised. Buy it. Read it. Tell your friends about it. Beem Weeks is the one EVERYONE should be talking about.
And I'll be madder than one of them swamp 'gators if his book don't sell faster than bootlegged gin in a low-down, sleazy speakeasy. Go buy!
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