Saturday, 21 November 2015

Book Review of Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey by Melinda McGuire

Book Title: Josephone: Red Dirt & Whiskey
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 204
Author: Melinda McGuire
Date Published: 26 June 2011 (Paperback)


"Lying, cussing, smoking, drinking, fornicating, all those things Brother Richard told the congregation not to do, Josephine was doing every one of them and then some."

So begins the secretive story of Josephine Killian Johnson, a young widow, alone in rural northeast Texas during the Great Depression.

Josephine can cuss a blue streak, out drink a grown man, and smoke cigarettes as fast as she can roll them, but only in private.

In public, Josephine goes to church, drives the old women to the quilting circle, and donates to the needy, until Ethan comes along.

The lust Ethan ignites within Josephine threatens to bring all her secrets to light.

It’s the Great Depression in rural northeast Texas, and not much has changed, except in the life of Josephine Killian. After losing her mother and her aunt, Josephine finds herself alone and independent. Loneliness leads her to sacrifice her freedom for the bonds of marriage, and life becomes routine. But, when a mysterious stranger, Ethan, appears, he draws out what Josephine fights to keep hidden. Ethan opens up the doors to lust, secrecy and addiction that could lead to Josephine’s self-destruction. Will the people she knows from church, her neighbors in Hefner Falls, and her own desire to turn away from evil be enough to overcome the temptations Ethan offers? Or, has Josephine gone too far to turn back?


Josephine: Red Dirt and WhiskeyJosephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey by Melinda McGuire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I won a free copy of this book from the author through a giveaway on a blog I follow over three years ago.

Josephine Killian is a widow living in Texas during the Great Depression. Unfortunately, I found myself hating this character. I found her hypocritical, judgmental and totally self-absorbed. I wanted to strangle her and I found myself disgusted at her selfishness.

Unfortunately, this is a DNF (did not finish) though I read 124 pages or 61% of it. I really tried to give this book a go. I was intrigued with the synopsis and was ecstatic to win a copy through the giveaway. But, due to my rather large reading list, it has taken me quite some time to get to read it (over three years) for which I apologise.

There is no problem with the writing/story as such but, I struggled to like the protagonist. She grew up in a religious community and lived a sheltered life, this colours her perceptions. However, when events occur and she finds herself free to do whatever she pleases, she really lets her hair down. But, rather than take responsibility for her actions - drinking, swearing and having sex - she places it unfairly on the shoulders (so I thought) on Ethan. I must admit that because I didn't finish the story, I am not sure how it ended. Be that as it may, this story had me rolling my eyes and thinking to myself, "Oh, please! Grow up!". Her immaturity may have been charming during that time, but my modern thinking and upbringing had me shaking my head. If I had been a neighbour to this woman at that time, I'm sure I would have labelled her a "Jezabel" and "loose woman". I don't normally judge people this way because I try to keep an open mind, but I'm sure the old ladies of that time though exactly that, even though Josephine thought she was being secretive. I put the book down rather than throwing it across the room in frustration, because I treasure signed books. This book will still sit on my shelf, but will remain unfinished. I have another of this author's books, Nelson and Cora, on my Kindle. I just hope that I will enjoy that one better.

Melinda McGuire is an author who has a lot of potential. She has written several books since publishing the story of Josephine. I must admit that I loved her writing style, though the flow was a little jerky at times.

I recommend this book if you love historical literary fiction, saga's or drama's. However, for your information, this book is out of print at the present time. - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews

About The Author:

Hello Reader, and Welcome!

I'm glad you are here.

A little about me - I'm a native Texan. I've lived on both coasts of the U.S. and returned to Texas.

I grew up traveling red dirt roads surrounded by Pine trees.

Some of my favorite things:
William Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom!", Flannery O'Connor, Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood", O Brother Where Art Thou, Gone With the Wind.

I am a Southern Fiction writer.
I currently have two novels available - Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey, which takes place in northeast Texas during the Great Depression, and Nelson and Cora - the Beginning, which takes place in Kentucky in 1866 immediately following the end of the Civil War.

My novels are character-driven historical fiction.

I'm a little bit obsessed with William Faulkner (like that's a bad thing?!), and yes, I drink Sweet Tea by the gallons.

I also am thinking of an attempt at World Domination in Scattergories... you've been warned!

If you are interested in finding out more about other people who are creating art, music, literature in the South or about the South, please visit my blog to meet all sorts of Southern Creatives:

And, my latest project, which I am excited to announce is editing an anthology titled "Rich Fabric". This anthology is a collection of short stories, memoirs, essays, black and white photos and quotes about the culture, symbolism and tradition of quilting.
In addition to working with some wonderful, creative people, the profits from the sale of "Rich Fabric" will be donated to the Twilight Wish Foundation - which meets needs and grants wishes for senior citizens who live below the poverty level.

Rich Fabric is now available as a paperback.

You can find me on:

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