As three generations of women navigate the uncertain paths of their hearts and futures, one summer promises to bring change—whether they’re ready for it or not.
At thirty-eight, garden shop owner Jessie McBride thinks her chances for romance are years behind her and, after her failed marriage, she’s fine with that. She lives contentedly with her fiery mother and her quiet, headstrong daughter. But the unexpected arrival of two men on Glory Road make her question if she’s really happy with the status quo. Handsome, wealthy Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter’s wedding, and Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. And Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school days who’s known her better than anyone and whom she hasn’t seen in years, moves back to the red dirt road. Jessie finds her heart being pulled in directions she never expected.
Meanwhile, Jessie’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and trying to navigate a new world of identity and emotions—particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who’s moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie’s mother, Gus, increasingly finds herself forgetful and faces a potentially frightening future.
In one summer, everything will change. But for these three strong Southern women, the roots they’ve planted on Glory Road will give life to the adventures waiting just around the curve.
Praise for Glory Road:
“Brims with family, second chances, and new horizons.” —Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
“Rich colorful characters capturing my heart, combined with a story that kept me up till the wee hours, Glory Road is a perfect read. Lauren Denton has done it again!” —Lisa Patton, bestselling author of Rush and Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter
“Once again Lauren Denton brings her lyrical writing and compelling characters to a story that will enthrall readers from page one.” —Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, author of Only Ever Her and co-founder of She Reads, for Glory Road
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
LAUREN K. DENTON is the author of USA TODAY bestselling novels The Hideaway and Hurricane Season. She was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, and now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. Though her husband tries valiantly to turn her into a mountain girl, she’d still rather be at the beach. Website: LaurenKDenton.com; Instagram: LaurenKDentonBooks; Facebook: LaurenKDentonAuthor; Twitter: @LaurenKDenton.
Read an Excerpt
Everyone knows the weather in lower Alabama can be fickle. Christmas with the AC pumping or an early June cool snap aren't the strangest things that happen down here. If you're not careful, quick changes like these can wreak havoc on your garden. A little advice: Research before you plant and plan ahead for potential problems. However, despite research and planning, a good gardener knows sometimes you have to rip it all out and try something new.
— Candace Gooch, Alabama Gardening for Beginners
I'd been on the porch steps shelling purple hull peas for less than an hour and my thumbnails had already turned purple. A bucket sat on the step between my knees and a plastic grocery sack full of empty hulls was perched next to my feet. Our red dirt road was always quiet in the early mornings, but today it seemed even more hushed than usual. With no sound other than the soft thuds of peas filling the bucket, a lone cricket chirping somewhere in the flower bed next to the house, and an occasional hawk cry in the treetops, the silence of Glory Road lulled me.
I'd gotten into such a rhythm — pinch the hull, pull the string, slide one thumbnail in, and flick the peas into the bucket — that my coffee had grown cold. When the front door opened behind me, I jumped, sending a handful of peas skittering down the steps to the grass below. I'd forgotten Evan was still inside sleeping.
I turned and smiled at my daughter as I leaned down to pick up the scattered peas.
"Morning," Evan mumbled. She rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands, reminding me of her at two or three wearing her Hello Kitty pajamas, holding her stuffed kitty by the tail and asking for a cup of milk. Today, instead of cartoon pj's and milk, it was a faded Fender guitars T-shirt with a stretched-out neck, a pair of my pajama pants, and a glass of orange juice. Her thick blonde hair — full of natural highlights some women would pay big money for — was gathered into a messy ponytail.
She sat on the swing at the end of the porch, tucked one leg underneath her, and pushed off the floor with the other. The chains squeaked a familiar tune. "Don't you need to open up the shop?"
"It's only eight. Mama's over there now waiting on the seed delivery. You know she likes to putter around when no one's there."
"That's so she can sneak succulents back to her house without you knowing."
"Oh, I know it. She only thinks she's being sneaky. When they disappear from the tables, I know exactly where they've gone."
My mother had obsessions, but at least they were harmless — potted succulents, Johnny Cash, and peach cobbler.
Evan sat up in the swing and fanned her shirt away from her skin. "It's so hot out here." She'd never been a fan of hot weather. She wasn't a fan of cold weather either, really. Evan liked everything to be balanced, under control, with nothing out of the ordinary. I worried about her starting high school in just a few short months. High school was a petri dish of weirdness, the exact opposite of ordinary.
"Why aren't you shelling those things inside? Only you would be sitting outside in the heat before you go off to work all day in the heat."
I crooked my head. "It's not that hot yet. But it's summer — it's like this every year. And anyway, I like the heat."
She stood and walked over to the top step, then plopped down next to me and sighed. I breathed in — not quite the same as the baby scent she once had, but still full of sleep and her own essence. I reached an arm around her, pulled her close, and kissed the top of her head. Thankfully, she didn't push me away.
"What do you have planned for today? Mama can take you up the road for a burger if you want. She told me last night she was at Jack & Mack's the other day and her onion burger wasn't up to snuff. I think she wants to talk to them about it." I elbowed Evan. She didn't like going anywhere with Mama alone. I knew how to rein in my mother when she got scrappy, but Evan, for all her unconventional ways, never wanted to be disrespectful. Not too much, anyway.
"Ruth's coming over later and we're going down to the Icebox to swim. If that's okay."
I nodded. I wanted to ask if anyone else was going with them — any boys, any older kids — but at fourteen, Evan was wiser than her years. An old soul. Her track record told me she wouldn't get into trouble, and I trusted her. It was the path I'd chosen — trust her until she did something to break the trust. We both knew that was the deal. Glory Road — all of Perry, really — was about as safe as a room full of cotton balls, but I still felt nervous anytime Evan left my sight. She and Mama were all I had.
"That's fine. Just don't forget your phone. I want you to be able to call me if you need me." Evan must have been the only teenager in the country — in the world, maybe — who was averse to smart- phones. She said they made kids stupid. It was hard to argue with that.
"You mean you want to be able to check up on me."
"I won't do that. I know you hate it. But you'll understand one day."
"I know, I know." She stood and reached her arms over her head in a big stretch and a yawn. "I'll understand when I'm a parent. A million years from now."
"It only feels that way." Evan was just ten years younger than I'd been when I had her. Ten years — a blink. Sometimes it felt like only yesterday that I sat on Mama and Daddy's porch, rocking on the swing, killing time before going to the Icebox with friends.
I raised my head when the sound of a car roaring down the road made it to the porch. In my peripheral vision I saw Evan look up too. We heard rocks spitting out from under the tires and the soft whoosh of red dust before we could actually see anything.
I knew every car that drove past our home and my garden shop, Twig, right next door. Anyone who drove on by, deeper into the tunnel of pines and oaks down Glory Road, belonged there and had likely lived there most of my life. This wasn't one of those cars, yet I still knew it. It was just an image, an intangible picture that occasionally floated back to me in soft threads of memory. Funny how a car can be familiar after nearly twenty years.
It was an old Jeep Grand Wagoneer, blue with brown paneling. The sensations came back in a rush — the softness of the leather seats, the Armor-All shine of the dash, and the scent: a mix of gasoline, fresh pine, and lemons. I closed my eyes and the years peeled back. I could smell, see, and feel it all. Ben used to work on the Jeep every weekend. It was old even back then. I used to joke with him that he was fighting a losing battle, but he was determined to keep it running smooth until it took its last breath.
The Jeep drove a little too fast and music spilled from the open windows. I couldn't name the band or the song, but the rhythm thumped in my chest, making it ache, but not from pain, exactly. A boy sat in the passenger seat, his arm out the window, his dark hair whipping in the breeze.
"That's him," Evan said behind me.
Her words registered, but I was still focused on the music and the memories. Eyes still closed, I didn't answer.
"Did you see the guy in the passenger seat? That was the guy from school."
"Mom? What are you doing?"
I opened my eyes and shook my head to clear the fog. "Nothing, nothing." I leaned out to catch a last glimpse of the Jeep, but it was gone. All that remained was a haze of dust in the road. "What guy from school?"
"I stood next to him in line yesterday when I went to pick up my registration packet." She shrugged. "His name's Nick. He's new — or at least he wasn't at the middle school. He's a little older, I think. And different."
I turned to Evan. Her big blue eyes held a faraway gaze. "What does that mean?"
"I don't know, he just stuck out a little. He wore a black T-shirt, for one, and he was listening to music on his phone the whole time we were in line."
I studied my daughter. "How do you know it was music?"
"His head was moving a little, like ... I don't know." She shrugged again. "It's just a guess. Anyway, he didn't look like he'd been mucking out a chicken house or drinking steroid shakes for breakfast."
"Farming or football," I murmured. Outside of school hours, most young men in Perry — our small, south Alabama blip on the map — were either in the fields or on the field. Either that or getting into trouble. It had always been that way. "I know someone else who likes to wear black T-shirts and listen to music."
"Very funny. But he was different. He didn't seem to care that he stuck out. That he didn't look like all the other guys around here."
Evan may not have recognized it, but I knew she was doing her thing — Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan, the Converse high-tops and Fender shirts — to make herself stick out. To separate herself from the crowd. She wasn't a girl from a country song — tight cutoffs, bouncy hair, pink lipstick — and she wanted everyone to know. I also knew that despite her difference from the other girls, actually being different — not blending in — was hard. I loved her so much for trying though.
"I'm going to make some breakfast. You want anything?" she asked.
"I'm fine. I'll be going over to the shop in a little bit. Let me know when you head out, okay?"
"Sure." She opened the screen door, then paused, halfway into the cool stillness of the house. I bit my tongue and waited. It was a new thing I was trying these days — instead of asking too many questions, I was trying to stay quiet and let Evan speak when she was ready. We were both still learning how to navigate her new teenage emotions and sensitivities.
"You're not really going to dinner with that cop, are you?"
I sighed and rested my elbows on the step behind me. Jimmy Kellan was the new police chief in Perry. He was also single and handsome, which naturally sent the ladies in town into a frenzy. The DIVAS — Divinely Inspired, Victorious And Serving — from Perry Baptist were all over him in an attempt to "welcome him to the community," which everyone knew was code for "If I can't date him, I'll be the one to set him up with someone who can."
Mama had used no such false front. Last Saturday night, enjoying a milkshake from Jack & Mack's with Evan and me, she'd marched up to Officer Kellan's patrol car on Center Street, tapped on his window, and asked him if he would mind accompanying her daughter to dinner.
I shook my head. "No, baby. I'm not."
"How'd you get out of it? Gus was pretty determined."
"I just told her I wasn't going. I said if she didn't call him and let him down easy, I'd make sure I was wearing my oldest pajamas when he came to pick me up."
Evan laughed. "I bet she hated that."
"She didn't talk to me for twelve whole hours."
"I'm glad you're not going."
I looked over my shoulder at her. Framed by the doorway with one hand on the jamb and one on her hip, she was one part sassy, one part vulnerable, and I would do anything to protect that vulnerable side, to keep it innocent and sweet. "Why are you glad?"
She shrugged, and for a moment I thought she might actually let me in on something deep in her heart, some truth she needed to unload. Instead, she let the door close a couple more inches before tossing out, "You're too old to date anyway."
I grabbed a small handful of peas and threw them at the door, but she'd already let it slam closed. She disappeared down the hall to the kitchen, her soft laughter winding its way back to the porch.
I reached down and tied the handles of the grocery sack together. A few of the empty hulls edged out of the top and fell to the step by my feet. I grabbed the escaped hulls and poked them back in.
Too old. Of course, in the eyes of a fourteen-year-old, thirty-eight seemed ancient, but I didn't feel ancient. Sometimes I didn't feel a day over eighteen. An age when everything felt ripe with promise and possibility. When it felt like everything would work out perfectly, because why not?
Behind me in the house, the phone rang. Evan answered it, paused, then groaned. "Gus, it's too early for your singing."
I smiled. It wasn't perfect, but it was good.CHAPTER 2
Tomatoes need consistency over all. Establish a regular watering pattern and stick to it. If you water them too little, then you overcorrect and water too much, your tomatoes can explode — or at least crack. Not a preferable situation for anyone, not least for the tomatoes. They can do quite well with little interference if given the proper growing conditions.
— Edwin Nickerbocker, 1916 Treatise on Tomatoes
It had felt so strange yesterday to walk down the wide center hallway of the high school during the summer when it was quiet and mostly empty. I imagined how it would be in a couple months when I sailed through the doors as a ninth grader. Probably weird and awkward, but that was nothing new — middle school had felt like that most of the time.
I hadn't realized until I opened the front doors of the school that I had no idea how to get through the maze of hallways. Mom, having been a student here eons ago, would have been able to tell me exactly where to go, but I'd made her stay out in the car while I ran in to pick up the packet of information the incoming students were supposed to collect. I wanted to do it all on my own, but I ended up feeling kind of lonely. Every time a door opened, I hoped to see Ruth's face.
Ruth Simms was just about the happiest, perkiest girl I'd ever met. Even her hair was perky — her dark curls were often out of control, bouncing and springing everywhere. Looking at us, no one would think we'd be friends, but somehow we meshed. Probably because we were both outsiders. Ruth came from strict fundamentalist Christian parents who didn't approve of rock music, shorts, or tank tops. They probably didn't approve of me either, but my obsessions — Eat a Peach, The Sky Is Crying, my vintage concert tees — weren't the worst they'd seen from kids in Perry, so I guess that made me okay.
Ruth and I hung out a lot during school and after, although we rarely talked about anything deeper than homework, music (she had a secret love of Joni Mitchell), and our dreams for after college. But I was thankful for her friendship, especially since we were both about to enter this strange new world of high school.
I finally made it to the gym. Still no Ruth. Two lines of students zagged across the basketball court and led to two long tables set up in front of the bleachers. A handful of bored teachers sat behind the tables in folding chairs, handing out thick white envelopes and directing the students where to sign their names. I took my place in the shortest line and kept my head down but lifted my eyes to scan the kids in front of me. Who would be annoying me come September? Who would maybe, just maybe, be a new friend?
As the lines crept forward toward the desks, I heard his voice before I saw who the voice belonged to.
"Nick," the voice said. "Nick Bradley."
His voice was deep — deeper than the guys in eighth grade for sure. I lifted my head. The voice had come from a guy standing a few feet away at the head of the other line. He must have been at least a junior. His phone was tucked into his back pocket and red earbuds snaked up to his ears. He moved his head to a beat only he could hear. I so wanted to ask him what he was listening to, where he came from, something.
My line shifted then, passing me to the front. When the teacher behind the table asked for my name, I said it quietly. She squinted up from her clipboard. "Name?" she repeated. Loudly.
A few feet to my right, Nick glanced at me. The look plainly said, "Poor kid."
The woman said it yet again, and I muttered my name, my cheeks roasting.
"Say it one more time, dear. It sounded like you said Evan."
"I did. My name is Evan Ashby." I enunciated so she wouldn't ask again. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Nick grab his packet and head for the glass doors at the back of the gym. I turned and watched him go. Just before he pushed the metal bar on the door, he looked back over his shoulder.
Later on, when I met Ruth at the Gas-N-Go for slushies, I wanted to ask her if she'd seen the guy at school or around town, but talking about boys was something we rarely did. Ruth wasn't allowed to — I wouldn't have been surprised if her parents had a secret tape recorder in her backpack to make sure she didn't talk about anything sinful — and I didn't often see anyone worth getting worked up over.
But there was something about this guy.
As I'd sat on the front porch with Mom this morning, watching her shell those slippery peas, part of me wanted to tell her how Nick had made me feel — all loosey-goosey inside, as Gus would say. Like my stomach and intestines and whatever else was sliding around, bumping into each other. But my mom wasn't the right person to ask about love.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Glory Road"
Copyright © 2019 Lauren K. Denton.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the third book I have read by this new author and I have truly enjoyed them all. Will be looking forward to her next book. Such a blessing to read these books that make you feel good.
3.5 Stars This is a slow-burn style story, so if you're one for wild action and fast plot, you may need to sit this one out. Presented in chapters with rotating POVs between Jessie, Evan, and Gus, Glory Road is all about relationships --- whether it be the familial, friendship, or romantic-based variety --- all wrapped up in the cozy Southern setting of summer thunderstorms, porch swings, peach cobbler, and long night talks outside. Author Lauren Denton also makes the cute choice to start each chapter with a little snippet from various gardening manuals. The gardening tips are presented in a philosophical way, meant to subtly foreshadow the events of that chapter. Just out of curiosity, I looked up some of the titles to see if they were from actual manuals, but having no hits on those titles, I can only assume the manual excerpts were purely a figment of Denton's imagination --- I'm impressed! The tone sounded legit! The story itself sometimes went on a little long for me. It often felt like I was reading the same conversations multiple times over, just worded differently. The romance elements were also a little flat. I didn't find myself all that invested in the outcome of Jessie's love life either way. Sweet guys in general, but it was pretty clear where this story was headed from the very beginning, so the journey in that regard almost felt pointless. And Sumner got on my nerves a little bit. Sure, he was outwardly charming, but I didn't love how he seemed to like to lowkey flex his wealth around Jessie. The way he spoke to her also felt a little like he saw her as a novelty in a way, almost like he was getting a kick out of "slumming" it with someone beneath his tax bracket. That said, I loved seeing the growing relationship between Harvis and Gus --- now THAT got my heartstrings! Be ready to be at least a little frustrated with the story, as it ends up being one of those ones where a good majority of the problems could have been easily avoided if the main characters would've just been brave enough to say what they mean early on, and be clear about what they want. On one hand, it's a lesson in how fear can sometimes paralyze a person in the midst of their life path... but in the case of Jessie and Ben, they both end up having children with other people, and while the relationships don't work out, they both admit the choices they made were worth it to end up with their children. So, in a way, the story poses the question, is it really a life mistake just because the end result got messy, or merely an instance of unintentionally taking the long way 'round to where you were meant to be anyway? For interested book groups, this paperback edition does include a discussion question guide at the back. FTC DISCLAIMER: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
This is the first book I have ready by Lauren and I couldn’t put it down. I loved everything about it, the characters, the plot, the setting. She did something I have recently been reading about: good vs. good. Both men in Jessie’s life are good guys but I was nervous about who she could choose and I had to peek at the end because I was so concerned about how it would work out. I enjoyed the POV of Evan and Gus as well. These three looking for love, or not, but finding gifts along the way. Gus pulled at my heart strings. The things she is dealing with all too real for many people. My only, petty, complaint was the fact that it said Evan was in precal as a freshman. This might have been believable if it mentioned she was gifted in math but that never happened. Usually, even the smart kids don’t take precal until they are juniors. This is the teacher in me who works in a school coming out. That pulled me out of the story just a tiny bit but then I moved on. Also, worth noting, this is a clean romance, but the characters don’t really have any faith in God, He isn’t really talked about except for Evan’s best friend whose parents come across as very strict. Just a side note in case that matters to you. A copy of this book was given to me. All opinions are my own.
I enjoyed this book. It was well written. Wonderful characters and the setting was one I truly love as I am from AL. I love when the characters are likable and well developed. I love when I feel like I am right there in a book. This one has both and more. A must read for all. I recommend this book to all of my reading friends. I received an ARC via #NetGalley and #Thomas Nelson publishers. Thank you. I give this story a big 4 stars and will read more by this author. I also loved her book HURRICANE SEASON. Another big winner.
Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton – Wonderful, lovely, I didn’t want the story to end! Can I say that an author is one of my favorites after reading only one of her books, Hurricane Season? Maybe not, but I was excited at the opportunity to read Lauren K. Denton’s newest book Glory Road. I absolutely loved this book! Lauren has a way of writing and helping you to see the beauty in the everyday ordinary life. From the people to the places and the beauty of creation. Glory Road takes place in Alabama and tells the story of Jessie who is a single mom, her 14-year-old daughter Evan and her Mom Gus. Following her divorce, Jessie moved back home to Perry where she grew up. Her home is next door to her Mother’s house and right next door to her garden shop the Twig on an old dirt road. It’s summertime and Evan will be starting in high school come September. Gus seems to be having some episodes of confusion and forgetfulness and Jessie is worried that it may be something serious. Jessie is content with her life the way it is and she’s not looking to make changes or room for romance. But sometimes God brings people and changes into our lives when we don’t feel ready. What did I love about Glory Road? I loved the characters, especially Jessie and her relationship with her daughter Evan and Mom Gus and their love, kindness and caring for one another. I loved the relationships between Jessie and Ben and Jessie and Sumner. I loved the relationship between Evan and Nick who takes after his father Ben. Lauren has a way of writing that is almost poetic or lyrical. She captures the character’s thoughts and feelings in a thought-provoking way that caused me to reflect on my own life. She also paints lovely word pictures of the places, indoors and outdoors, that helps the reader to imagine what it looks like. She does that without being too wordy or letting words get in the way of the reader’s imagination. I really enjoyed the quotes on gardening at the beginning of each chapter. On a more serious note, as someone whose parent had Alzheimer’s I appreciated the way Gus’ life and experiences were handled. It helped me to see how scary it must be for the person experiencing forgetfulness and for the family who sees it and are unsure on how to handle it. That part of the story rang a little too close to home. There’s only one mention of God in the book, other than two phrases that use the name of God. Even though God, Christianity, and faith were not specifically mentioned I had the feeling that faith undergirded the character’s lives. I would like to have seen elements of faith as part of the storyline but greatly appreciated a clean novel. I absolutely loved Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton. It’s a wonderful, lovely book that leaves you wanting the story to continue on. Lauren is on my short list of writers that when they write a new book, I want to be sure to read it. I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers and BookLook for the opportunity the read Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.
Glory Road is a three generational story of a family who sticks together through the good and the bad. Jessie McBride and her fourteen year old daughter, Evan, have been living for ten years back on Glory Road, Jessie’s childhood street. Gus, Jessie’s mother also lives very near them and the three of them are living a dream, or so they want to believe that. Gus is a widow and Jessie is divorced and Jessie is the owner of a little hometown garden shop that her mother and daughter help her run. There are some complications that arise when Gus starts not acting like herself and seems to not be remembering well. On Gus’s character, she was a hoot. I really liked her creative advice giving and how she just had a sense about her daughter and what just might make her happy. She was also aware that she was not quite doing well either. Jessie just seemed stuck in life. Her marriage failed and her daughter is growing into a woman and her mother is off. Jessie seemed to have boxed herself into her little corner of her world and didn’t really look for anything special like love coming around for the second time. Evan was a smart, very loving teenager who is finding herself crushing on the boy next door, whose father happens to be someone from her mother’s past. As the story progresses, we do get snippets of the past and what brought everyone back to Glory Road. Jessie sees her past as a mature woman now and maybe even with clearer eyes as she now has a teenage daughter. Gus sees Jessie as she once was and she is very proud of her girl and wants her to embrace a bigger picture of life and happiness. This was a sweet southern story with a strong family bond between these women and what happens when life and love comes knocking on the door. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
This was my first Lauren K. Denton book, and it took me a few chapters to settle in. I had to get used to the slower pace of the story, but it was worth settling into. This book is a slow, easy read that sort of ambles along. It reminds me of the play Our Town — nothing really extraordinary happens throughout the book. In fact, it’s really pretty predictable. It is, however, an enjoyable book (though I wanted to slap Jessie at the end for acting like an 18-year-old when she should have known better). It’s appropriate that so much of the story takes places on the porch, because that’s really how I would describe this book — it’s about as exciting as an evening on the front porch (and I mean that in the good, watching-the-world-go-by kind of way). I honestly don’t usually read these types of books, but it was a nice read. I would have liked to see more happen between the characters (a little less introspection), but it fit together well.
A Summer of Growth for Three Women Jessie McBride is glad to be back on Glory Road where she grew up. After her marriage failed due to her husband’s infidelities, she moved back with his daughter, Evan, and bought a house next door to her mother, Gus. Included with Jessie’s house was a shop. She’s turned it into Twigs, a garden shop that she runs with the help of her mother. It’s summer and while Jessie is thrilled with her home and her shop, she knows she needs to make more money. When Sumner Tate, a wealthy man asks her to do the flowers for his daughter’s wedding, she thinks this may be the start of a new venture. It’s not only the flower arranging that attracts Jessie, she also enjoys the attention from Sumner. Sumner is not the only man in Jessie’s life. She’s ambivalent when her high school boyfriend, Ben Bradley, moves to Glory Road. Evan, too, is having growing pains. She’ll be in high school in the fall. There’s a cute guy down the road, but she’s not sure how she feels about boys. Gus, Jessie’s mother, is a pistol. She bakes delicious goodies and says what she thinks, but she’s also having a transitional summer. She’s starting to forget things and Jessie’s worried. This book pulls you into summertime in the South. The author has done an excellent job with descriptions of the climate and surrounding area particularly the flowers and trees. I loved the quotes from gardening books at the start of each chapter. The characters are realistic. I could sympathize with Jessie trying to deal with her mother’s and daughters’ changes and feeling pulled in new directions herself. This book is different from Hurricane, another book by the author, but it’s equally worth reading. I received this book from BookLook Blogggers for this review.
GLORY ROAD by Lauren K. Denton is one of those stories I pick up because it intrigues me, but I'm never sure what to expect. Thankfully, this one does not disappoint. Denton does a wonderful job of pulling the reader in to her story about life, family, and the love that binds them together. Every family is different, and they each travel their own path in this world, searching for love along the way. That is this story. And it's positively delightful.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys stories of Southern women—a clean, sweet romance—on several levels. We meet 3 generations of women—Gus, Jessie & Evan—who are each struggling with life and how to address the trials they are facing. The hero, to me, was the sweet neighbor who loves Gus and wants to marry her even though she is facing a future where she may not remember who he is. A beautifully written story of love and sacrifice.
Enjoyed the book. Absolutely loved Hurricane Season and couldn’t wait to read this book. Loved all the descriptions of the flowers. Who wouldn’t buy a flower for a free piece of Gus’s cobbler? I would love to have Gus in my kitchen cooking dinner every night. The book is all about mother and daughter relationships. It centers around Gus, Jessie and Evan. All three are dealing with their own problems and also navigating love. Jessie is a single mom, who owns her own nursery. She’s finally giving dating a chance and needs to decide about falling in love with someone new in her life or someone from her past. I’m not sure how Jessie is able to make any money since her mom is constantly giving plants away to her friends for free. Jessie made designing wedding flowers seem so easy. Evan is just starting high school and a new boy in town has caught her eye. Gus has been widowed for years. She’s been hiding a secret from her family and doesn’t want to acknowledge what is really happening to her. After all these years she might be ready to love again. I enjoyed the story, characters and writing style. I loved getting to know Jessie and her family. All around it was a feel good story about family, relationships and love. Definitely recommend the book and look forward to reading more books by the author. The cover of the book was beautiful and was perfect for the story. Thanks to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson--FICTION and the author, Lauren K. Denton, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.
This book stole my heart. I was so engaged with the characters that it was like I was there. What a beautiful story that grabbed me from the get go and is still hanging on. I wish there was a sequel so I could revisit. The pace and timing of this book is so spot on. I want to go live on Glory Road. Southern women that are strong and navigating the storms of life together in perfect southern style. Ben was a wonderful hero and every woman’s dream. This story is like a beautiful puzzle being put together and you can’t get the full effect until it is complete. Put this one on your must read list. I won a copy of this book. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
This novel is a satisfying one of southern life. The narrative weaves around the lives of three generations of women. Middle aged Jessie runs a garden store. Her elderly mother is a widow and lives next door. She's known for her amazing cobblers, pies and other baked goods. Evan is Jessie's fourteen year old daughter, making her way as she will soon enter high school. This is a touching story of family and friendships and love. We get to know these women well as Denton has done a good job of developing their characters. The story is told in three points of view so we are privy to the opinions and dreams of each of the women. There is potential romance but many pitfalls along the way. The bonds of family love are strong. This is a good novel for readers who like women's fiction. It would be best if one has an interest in plants and gardening as there is much of it in the story. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
I truly loved this sweet story! I must say it came as a surprise that it didn't receive more five star reviews. Jessie McBride married her dentist and thought she'd have happily ever after, but it was not to be. She says he grew tired of her and found someone else. Since high school, she had tried to fit in and be someone she wasn't, which carried over into her adulthood. Once her baby came, (Evan) she grew tired of pretending. Jessie, with Evan, returned to her hometown and moved in with Mama on Glory Road. Eventually, she purchased a place next to Momma' s and opened a plant nursery, which she named Twig. Adorable name! After almost ten years there, two men come into her life. One, a wealthy man wanting her to do the flowers for his daughter's wedding. Another, Ben from her childhood. Ben had loved Jessie back then. Jessie, unfortunately, discovered much later that she, also loved Ben. Jessie's daughter, Evan, is a young teenager who helps her mom at the garden shop. She's a great kid! Wouldn't we all like to have teenager who truly care for their momma like Evan does? Evan meets the new boy on Glory Road--none other than Ben's high school son. Wow! Then, there's Gus. Gus is Jessie's mother who is becoming quite confuse and forgetful. Sad, this horrible disease is. Gus is a wonderful character. All of the characters are, in fact. I felt like I knew each of them. The story is told from each Jessie, Evan and Gus's perspectives. Love the way the author did that. The story is told over the course of one summer. Wonderful story! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Thank you to Just Read Tours for selecting me to be part of the tour; and to the publisher Thomas Nelson for sending this book. This is a Southern Style Women’s Fiction/Romance novel about three generations of women living on Glory Road: Gus (Augusta), her daughter Jessie, and Jessie’s 14-year old daughter Evan. It’s been nearly a decade since Jessie returned to Perry following her husband’s affair that ended their marriage. A lot has changed – some things haven’t. Over the summer, two men enter her life – Ben Bradley, from her past, and a wealthy business man (Sumner Tate) who shows more of an interest in her than the work she’s doing for his daughter’s wedding. And, Evan is even finding herself navigating not only high school, but her emotions when she meets Ben’s son Nick. The two women are also concerned about Gus whose memory lapses are getting worse. Together they all face an uncertain and unfamiliar future – but one they will face together because the only thing that is certain … is change, even in small towns. This book was a delightful read, charming, light, and realistic. For those looking for a clean, and “family” driven romance – this book is a winner! It teaches us about the choices we make in our lives and at different points in our lives: young, middle, and old age – and as we go through them our needs change, but love never does. It’s about second chances and no regrets about where we are in life – because where we are is where we need to be to make our lives work. “Glory Road” is a beautiful story with charming and realistic characters – people that we know or would know anywhere we live, especially a small town. They’re so realistic that this book could’ve easily have been written about myself, my mom, and my grandma. From the time I was about 4 to 14, it was just the three of us in that dynamic. Also, some of the issues going on with Gus are quite similar in my own family which felt personal but reassuring. Her struggles make us realize there is no shame in needing help and admitting we have problems. The only problem I had was the repeated mention of the title “Glory Road” in almost every chapter, averaging about 2-3 times. Other than that – the book was a clean, entertaining read. I wanted to rush through it, but savor it all at the same time. I will definitely be looking for this author’s other novels.
"Written in Lauren Denton's signature Southern style, Glory Road tells the story of three generations of women navigating the uncertain pathways of their hearts during a summer that promises to bring change--whether they're ready for it or not." -- from the book jacket This novel is told from the perspective of three generations of women in turns: Jessie, a divorced mom running a garden shop; her daughter Evan, who is poised to begin her first year of High School; and Jessie's mom, Gus, who is suffering increasingly frequent memory lapses. The reader follows these three women, living and working together on Glory Road, through a summer that brings new people and new opportunities, as well as the chance to face fears and move beyond past hurts. This sweet story drew me in and captivated me until the last page. In fact, it captivated me beyond the last page--I would love to catch up with these characters again sometime. In turns, I found myself feeling wistful and yearning, hopeful and inspired. The settings and characters are beautifully described and relatable. I want to live on Glory Road and be friends with these people. "In one summer, everything will change. But for these three strong Southern women, the roots they've planed on Glory Road will give life to the adventures waiting just around the curve." -- from the book jacket I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Glory Road By Lauren K. Denton This story follows three generations of southern women as they navigate through life together. They discover who they are meant to be and who they are meant to be with. Every chapter of this book follows a different character’s perspective on the current events of their life. Although each of the women are experiencing different milestones, together Gus, Jessie, and Evan manage to support and encourage each other. This was a slow going beginning for me but its beginnings helped the characters take root to be more genuine and authentic. I enjoyed reading as each character developed and grew. I particularly agreed with their idea of love in their romantic lives. “I think you marry the one who, when everything else is stripped away—money, job, arguments, disagreements- he’s still the one you’d want to sit with on the porch and… just… do nothing. Or do anything.” “Pick the one that matters more than all the stuff of life.”
My Review of Glory Road This book is a great fiction or romance novel. No real mystery going on and definitely no murders. A feel good keep you reading type book. One that you can read at night while your husband is away. Not saying it might not make you cry, but you're not gonna wake up thinking a murderer is on the loose. Three generations of women. All with male names. This struck me within the first few chapters. Grandma goes by Gus, mom goes by Jessie, and daughter is Evan. Interesting. Both Jessie and Evan have an obsession with men driving a jeep. This jeep goes back years on this road and holds so many memories. But is Jessie willing to go back to the memories and through the hurt of the past? Or maybe she'd like to venture down another road. Evan is a teenage girl about to start high school. Her character is well developed and everything a southern teenage girl shouldn't be. There's no light pink lip gloss and floppy ponytails for her. She's not out to fit in and is comfortable with her weird music loving taste. There is something about this new boy that draws her in. He's older, mature, and his voice! Now, to find out more about him and figure out how to get him to notice her. Jessie isn't sure yet what she wants. Her business is not going well. She's divorced and living back home now. Her mother lives down the road(her neighbor in fact) and is forever giving away her stock in the store plus forgetting things. She's worried about her mom, she's worried about her daughter, she's worried about her business, and now she has to be worried about her heart as well. Can't she catch a break? And then the question that plagued me from almost chapter one. What happens if both mom and daughter fall for father and son? Wouldn't that just be weird? I mean how would you even describe that? I really have enjoyed this book and finding a new author to follow. While this isn't the murder mystery I normally enjoy I really did like the slow pace of small town southern here. I've had personal encounters with Alzheimer's and forgetfulness as such in both my personal and professional life and love that it gets showcased among books. People need to know. Something I didn't like is that my oldest is fourteen and now I read a book about a fourteen year old and boys. Heaven help me. I'm not ready for this! I received an ebook copy of this book to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced in anyway. I love to share the good and the bad of the book world with you.
EVOCATIVE! GLORY ROAD by Lauren K. Denton is Southern Fiction at its best! Denton will take you on an emotional journey over one summer with one family’s three generations of strong women. Her evocative storytelling will leave you mesmerized. At the beginning of each Chapter, Denton has cleverly included a Garden Tip that’s also an illustration for what’s going to happen in the coming Chapter. Glory Road is the dirt road where the three women live and work and where much of the actual book takes place. As you read, you will quickly discover that Glory Road itself serves as a character. So much growing and living have taken place on that old, dirt road and it holds many secrets - both old and new. Each of the three women plays an integral part in this story. Gus, at age 69, is still strong-willed and opinionated. Jessie, 39, is a single mom and an entrepreneur who owns a small plant and flower shop called Twig and Evan, 14, is starting the 9th Grade and moving up to High School. Each of these women will face significant challenges over the summer. Challenges that will shake them to their core and prove what they are made of. Challenges that will rally their friends to stand by them. There is an old friend that becomes a cherished loved one, an old friend who proves why he was so treasured in the first place and a friend who becomes like a big brother as he protects and teaches. It is a beautiful story of how a family learns from each other, learns to trust each other and for the first time in a long time, can face the future expectantly instead of fearfully. Glory Road will stay in your heart and soul long after you’ve read the last word. You will want to savor it. I was provided an ARC of this book by Thomas Nelson and NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the advanced copy of Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton. I have read both The Hideaway and Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton and she's quickly become one of my favorite authors when it comes to women's southern fiction. I absolutely adored both previous books and had a hunch Glory Road would become a favorite of mine as well. This book felt a little different from The Hideaway and Hurricane Season, but in very good ways. Glory Road follows Jessie, Evan (Jessie's fourteen year old daughter), and Gus (Jessie's mother). Jessie and Evan had moved back to her hometown of Perry, Alabama, several years ago after her marriage crumbled. Jessie opened her gardening shop, Twig, and finally feels like herself after years of struggling to be someone she was not. She's closed off her heart to love after her divorce, but this summer might prove to be one that will open her heart back up. A close high school friend, Ben, reenters her life and then she meets Sumner when he casually walks into her gardening shop one day. Evan is entering into the summer before her freshman year in high school begins and helps in her Mom's shop frequently. She is determined to hold onto her unique personality and not to be changed by the world around her. This summer opens up a world of possibility for Evan, and she's determined to make the most of it. Gus is a stubborn, witty homemaker, always cooking up something in the kitchen. She's a widow, living next door to her daughter and granddaughter. She is not afraid to share her opinion and is always trying to steer Jessie towards love again. This book is sweet, full of summertime nostalgia and glimpses of the south. I enjoyed the way the book was narrated - it was so well-written and magical. I loved seeing both the similarities and differences in three generations of women throughout the story. The characters were so raw and intentional - Jessie's struggle as she worked through her emotions from her past and the love that she could experience now, Evan's discovery of who she is and how she always turns back to family. I really connected with her and saw pieces of my fourteen-year-old self in her. And then there's Gus. Oh, Gus. She had to be my favorite character. Her stubbornness and humor had me laughing out loud! She is determined and reminded me so much of my own grandmother. Glory Road was such a beautiful story. The descriptions were spot on and had me visualizing everything from that red dirt road, to the rain drops falling during Jessie's evening runs. The small details were incredible as well - before each chapter began, there were quotes from gardening books. This was such a lovely addition and some quotes were so fascinating! I learned a lot about gardening from this book and it made me want to start planting one. Sumner's and Ben's interactions with Jessie were believable and well-written - the struggle in Jessie's emotions and how her backstory is revealed throughout the story and not simply spelled out in the beginning was such a great writing choice. The way Lauren draws out her characters in such a personal way makes all of them seem so real. Gus had me laughing, Evan had me reminiscing, and Jessie had me feeling: peace, sadness, heartbreak, fear, love. This is such a heartfelt read and definitely worth picking up this spring!
In this latest novel by Ms. Denton, you will fall in love with her characters! This novel takes place in Perry, Alabama, on Glory Road. Glory Road is an idyllic place to grow up. Jessica is a divorced mom who has moved back and made her way on her own. You will meet her mom, Gus, who is a character (but one you can learn a lot from) and her daughter, Evan. Ms. Denton weaves a tale that is so charming. Jessica has several things she has to work through. Their life is not perfect by any means, but Ms. Denton does a splendid job of penning a story that is charming and well-written. The story grabs a hold of you and you will not want to quit reading. There are several secondary characters that you will meet throughout the book as well. I highly recommend this book and know you will not be disappointed! Ms. Denton’s writing just keeps getting better and better! ***I was given a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher. This is my honest opinion. Even though I received this copy free, this is my own opinion.
Summary: Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton is a Southern fiction novel set in Perry, Alabama. The story is centered around Gus (the grandmother), Jessie (Gus’s daughter), and Evan (Jessie’s daughter). Jessie came home a decade before when her husband’s affair caused her and her daughter to seek refuge on Glory Road. Gus’s recent memory lapses have Jessie worried that things aren’t right with her Mom and Evan is coming into her own as she starts high school. The arrival of Jessie’s best friend from high school and his son start to change things on Glory Road for all three women. My Review: There are books that touch you and then there are books that reach right to your soul. Glory Road is one of those books for me. I see parts of Gus, Jessie, and Evan in myself and the women in my family. I connected so deeply with where they lived on Glory Road. Both sides of my family are from south Alabama and the descriptions of Glory Road take me right back to my great great aunt’s house on a red dirt road. I can practically smell her rose bushes, feel the dirt between my toes, and taste her apple tarts. While I loved the story itself it really was the little things in this book such as the gardening tips beginning each chapter that made me love the book more and more as I read it. Scenes made me laugh, caused my heart to ache for the characters, and reminded me of the power of love. I highly recommend this to anyone that loves Southern fiction and to the daughters, mothers, & grandmothers of all ages! I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
What a great story! This book really did different narrations right, never losing the rhythm of of the plot and allowing equal justice to each of the three narrative points of view. This novel surpassed all my expectations and just gave me the warm and fuzzies inside. The romance storyline still played second fiddle to the overall feeling that family reigns supreme and I enjoyed the depth the author went into with each of the 3 main characters. My only wish was that they gave a bit more development to the character of Ben as I felt he didn't have as much dimension as I really wanted or expected but, nonetheless, this was a great, easy read that was a breath of fresh air overall, not trying too hard and just providing a positive, happy story for readers to enjoy.
Sit a spell in Perry, Alabama - what a delightful novel! I first fell in love with the cover of this book, and then the characters of the strong Southern women who are the protagonists in this lovely novel. Three generations of women, Gus (Augusta) the grandmother, Jessie, her unmarried grown daughter, and Evan, Jessie’s teen daughter. Each with their strengths, loyalties, insecurities and wit. Like people you may already know. I was not familiar at all with this author but glad l took the chance to get acquainted with her writing. With characters that are richly developed and making the reader just want to sit down on that porch with them and have a glass of sweet tea as you get acquainted. I just loved Gus, the grandmother, what with her wise opinions and sense of southern humor. I was happy to sit a spell in Perry, Alabama. This novel touches on a lot of things. Early signs of Alzheimers, widowhood, gardening, women in small business, all written believably, drawing the reader in and having you care about the characters. You can’t wait to pick it back up again, that’s definitely a sign of good writing. Jessie runs a shop on their farm/property they call Twig, where they sell flowers, plants, trees, and edible items. Evan her daughter, is a big help in running Twig. Jessie’s mother Gus is known for her baking and the descriptions of her treats will have your mouth watering. There are little gems of wisdom throughout the novel. Each chapter is prefaced by a quote of factual information regarding a flower or plant, which I found enlightening. Jessie’s love life is a big part of the plot line as there are two men vying for her affection, both with a lot to offer. One, wealthy suave client, and two, her old high school flame for which her heart still races whenever he is around. Jessie’s indecisiveness regarding her love life tried my patience a time or two. When she finally decides which man she will spend the rest of her life with, I would have liked to hear more coming from her, instead of it all coming from the man she chose. Just a few more words from Jessie, would have tied it up in a big bow for me. Even so, I loved it and recommend it to fans of contemporary southern fiction, and domestic fiction, My thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers and NetGalley for the review copy of this lovely novel. On sale March 19, 2019. Go buy it! https://www.goodreads.com/review/edit/40590410