Books: New novels spotlight southern women
Southern women just seem to handle their trials and tribulations with grace and backbone. In the new novels, Big House Dreams and Nine Bucks and Change, Judith DeChesere-Boyle follows the lives of four generations of steel magnolias. Through life’s ups and downs ~ including birth and death, love and heartbreak ~ Emma Jenkins and her family face it all with fortitude and grace.
Big House Dreams is a southern family saga that spans four generations, beginning with pious, judgmental Emma Jenkins, who dictates the way life should be lived by spouting old adages and Bible verses. Her daughter, Sara Mae, abandons the tiny town of Cam’s Corner and raises her daughter, Sheila, as a single mom. She is pulled into the lives of Sheila’s four fast friends. The girls bumble into adult life with a hearty balance of snipping and support. Through it all, with the men who come in and out of their lives, they experience shock, betrayal, love, acceptance and resolve. In the end, Sara Mae reflects. It has not been an easy road, but the bumps and crooks eventually lead her to a catharsis and to a clearer understanding of life.
Nine Bucks and Change seamlessly picks up the story of Sara Mae and Sheila as they are thrown into a tangled web of events that tosses them into unexpected and uncharted territories. A plethora of folks ~ friends, family and strangers, alike ~ enter into and exit their lives when they least expect it, and the ramifications of those interactions leave all of them pondering the very essence of change and its fickle impact. Nine Bucks and Change also reminds the reader that one’s ability to choose, to respond, or even to reject life’s contradictions is a gift.
DeChesere-Boyle was inspired by her family’s southern roots and early memories of life in Kentucky. “I was raised in the South and conscientiously have included in my novels the cultural and linguistic details I understand,” DeChesere-Boyle said. “The dialogue in both books is written in southern dialect, and the characters, although fictional, are syntheses of personalities, temperaments and moral fibers I have known.”
What I tried to do with both novels was to show a respect and appreciation for a southern setting while incorporating issues that have confronted individuals for generations,” DeChesere-Boyle added. “I am intrigued by the fact that a teenager today may be experiencing, on some level, the same emotions and angst that her mother or grandmother did. Generations may slip by, but we, as human beings, share many common bonds.”
Judith DeChesere-Boyle was born in Elizabethtown, Ky., and first attended the University of Kentucky before moving to California, where she graduated from the College of Marin with an associate’s degree in English with a creative writing emphasis. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English at San Francisco State University. She later attended Sonoma State University, earning two teaching credentials and a master’s in education. She taught English at the secondary level for 27 years before retiring to pursue her passion for writing.
Big House Dreams and Nine Bucks and Change are both available through amazon.com.