A year or so ago I listened to the book Velva Jean Learns to Drive: A Novel by Jennifer Nivan.
I loved the book. The story takes place in the 30’s as the main character Velva Jean grows up in the Appalachian Mountain area. Velva Jean is the perfect character, spunky, heart felt, innocent, and compassionate. As the story plays out, Velva Jean goes through many hardships and pains yet perseveres. The book is probably classified as juvenile fiction but don’t let that dissuade you from giving the book a try. The author portrays rich descriptive scenes that will have you feeling like you are watching an episode of Andy Griffith when the Darling family comes down from the mountains.
The book was a great coming of age story. It’s one of those books that has you wondering what happened to the characters even after the story it finished….
Well imagine my joy when I found out there was a sequel, Velva Jean Learns to Fly: A Novel.
It’s the 40’s now and Velva Jean takes off. Although she is only in her teens she leaves her beloved mountain home and heads off to Nashville to peruse a singing career at the Grand Ole’ Opry. Before long, the war is raging and life takes a few unexpected turns for Velva Jean. Again her spunky, give your heart to a cause, personality comes through. It’s a story that unfolds in a slow southern way so it’s not a quick skim through the pages type of book.
I wasn’t as happy with this ending as the story just stopped (not is a bad ending way-just a I wanted to know more ending)… I am again wondering what is happening to my “friend” Velva Jean. No fear though…I am sure a third novel will soon be on the way and I’ll be in line to get it.
The writing is realistic. The story content is great. I learned a slice of history too….That equals a perfect book for me. I did listen to both books in audio book format and highly recommend the audio versions. The voice was perfect for the book…great accent….great slow southern style of talking. It made me feel like we were just getting together for a cup of coffee.
If you like historical fiction at all…you’ll like both of these.