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Becoming Clementine: A Novel Paperback – September 25, 2012
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“Unforgettable and heartfelt.”
—Pam Jenoff, bestselling author of The Kommandant's Girl and The Diplomat's Wife
“A page-turner of a story.”
—James Earl Jones, Tony Award-winning and Emmy Award-winning actor
“An unforgettable tale of love, sacrifice, courage and compassion that will resonate with readers long after they finish the book.”
“A spell-binding spy saga.”
—Elizabeth P. McIntosh, OSS/CIA, and author of Sisterhood of Spies
“A heart-stopping tale of wartime intrigue, romance and high adventure.”
—Romantic Times (A Top Pick)
“It's all here—intrigue, romance, heroism. A terrifically absorbing read.”
—Will Irwin, author of The Jedburghs and Abundance of Valor
“Richly textured, historically evocative, emotionally mesmerizing, Becoming Clementine takes you on a journey so gripping you can smell the gun smoke.”
—Kerry Reichs, author of What You Wish For and Leaving Unknown
Praise for Velva Jean Learns to Fly
Featured on Los Angeles Magazine's "To Read" list for August 2011Named the September Read of the Month by the Southern Literary Review
“An endearing portrait of a young woman with a big heart—Velva Jean Learns to Fly illuminates the power of going after a dream and the courage it takes to never let go." —Beth Hoffman, bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
“Velva Jean Hart is a heroine with grit, grace, determination, and enough humanity to hook readers with ferocious tenderness, making them want to find and befriend her. Besides creating a gutsy heroine, who, despite the repressive times, never becomes bitter, Niven's writing shines overall. Cheers to Niven, Velva Jean, and the two further books of her remarkable story to come in 2012 and 2013.” —Booklist, starred review
“Velva Jean’s story delves into the contributions made by amazing women during World War II and tells a compassionate story about adventure, love, and war. This is a wonderful book—very hard to put down.” —Ann Howard Creel, author of The Magic of Ordinary Days
“Readers who enjoy Fannie Flagg and other down-home Southern writers will be entertained by this saucy adventure sprinkled with a gamut of human emotions.” —Library Journal“A tasteful blend of comedy, inspiration, and endurance…. filled with love, despair, and life-threatening adventures. Niven delivers another tale full of hope, heartbreak, and nostalgia in this sequel to Velva Jean Learns to Drive.” —Publishers Weekly
“I devoured Velva Jean Learns to Fly and immediately began spreading the word: This one is not to be missed!"—Cassandra King, author of The Same Sweet Girls
“For any who have ever chased a dream, for any who have ever risked it all, for any who have ever stumbled and risen and brushed the grit from their palms, for any who have ever grieved and mended, fallen in and out of love, wished to fly and then flown, there is Velva Jean, the fearless, wide-eyed, big-hearted heroine of Jennifer Niven’s second novel, a sweeping adventure that takes the reader from the streets of Nashville to the belly of a WWII bomber.” —Benjamin Percy, award-winning author of The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh
“A very special World War II novel…. Jennifer Niven’s ongoing portrayal of this totally engaging young woman set within a stunning vision of the American South during WWII is a major achievement. The explorations of the Nashville music industry and the WASP initiative are rich in evocative detail.” —Southern Literary Review
“In this fun, fast-paced, heartwarming sequel to Velva Jean Learns to Drive, we follow the beloved young heroine from her mountain home to Nashville. But soon after Pearl Harbor is attacked, Velva Jean begins singing a new song—one full of patriotism, courage, and feisty independence. The perfect read for any girl of any age who yearns to soar beyond her dreams." —Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove and Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen
“I loved Velva Jean Learns to Drive, but I love the sequel even more. Niven’s gift for place, space, and character made me feel the heat and dust in Texas and the fear Velva Jean felt at the North Carolina base and the determination she had to prove herself.” —Historical Novels Review
“God Bless Southern women, their dreams, energy, and courage. Jennifer Niven and her heroine Velva Jean have those in spades.” —Beth Grant, award-winning actress from Little Miss Sunshine and No Country for Old Men
“You don’t have to read the first to become completely engrossed with the second, but once you meet Velva Jean, you’re going to want to!” —American Library Association
“Who would have thought that a young woman’s adventures in World War II would capture my attention—and keep it? Velva Jean pulled me into her story and wouldn’t let me go, from her comical and sometimes humiliating trip to Nashville, the city of her dreams, to the first time she grabs the throttle of a plane and soars. We see her get her wings and fly through wartime danger, intrigue, suspense, and even sabotage. This gripping, heartwarming action-adventure tale stays with you long after you turn the last page.” —James Earl Jones, Tony Award–winning, Emmy Award–winning actor
“Funny [and] touching.” —Wilmington Star News
“Putting this one down is a near impossibility. The descriptions of the work, the prejudice, fear, and bittersweet success of becoming a female pilot seemed so real I felt as if I were sharing every step with Velva Jean.” —Nancy E. Turner, award-winning author of These Is My Words
“From the ballads of the Grand Ole Opry to the magnificent women of Avenger Field, Jennifer Niven spins a tall tale that is utterly heartfelt and rings true.” —Sherri L. Smith, author of Flygirl
Praise for Velva Jean Learns to Drive
“A touching read, funny and wise, like a crazy blend of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, a less morose Flannery O’Connor, and maybe a shot of Hank Williams . . . Niven makes some memorable moonspun magic in her rich fiction debut.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“In this story Jennifer Niven creates a world long gone, a mountain past where people suffer failure, loss, and betrayal, as well as the strength and joy of connection and deep love. Velva Jean Learns to Drive takes us far into this soaring, emotional country, the place where our best music comes from.” —Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek
“A fluid storyteller.” —Wall Street Journal
“Velva Jean learns to . . . not only drive, but to soar. This beautifully written coming-of-age story captivated me, and I recommend it to anyone who has ever longed to ‘live out there.’” —Ann B. Ross, author of the bestselling Miss Julia novels
About the Author
More About the Author
With the publication of her first book, The Ice Master, Jennifer became a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer. A nonfiction account of a deadly Arctic expedition, The Ice Master was released in November 2000 and named one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, and translated into multiple languages, including German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Danish, and Icelandic. Jennifer and The Ice Master appeared in Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Talk, Glamour, The New Yorker, Outside, The New York Times Book Review, The London Daily Mail, The London Times, and Writer's Digest, among others. Dateline BBC, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel featured The Ice Master an hour-long documentaries, and the book was the subject of numerous German, Canadian, and British television documentaries. The Ice Master has been nominated for awards by the American Library Association and Book Sense, and received Italy's esteemed Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Prize for 2002.
Jennifer's second book, Ada Blackjack -- an inspiring true story of the woman the press called "the female Robinson Crusoe" -- has been translated into Chinese, French, and Estonian, was a Book Sense Top Ten Pick, and was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the Top Five Arctic books.
Her memoir, The Aqua-Net Diaries: Big Hair, Big Dreams, Small Town, was published in February 2010 by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, and was optioned by Warner Bros. as a television series.
Her first novel, Velva Jean Learns to Drive (based on her Emmy Award-winning film of the same name), was released July 2009 by Penguin/Plume. It was an Indie Pick for the August 2009 Indie Next List and was also a Costco Book of the Month. The second book in the Velva Jean series, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, was released by Penguin/Plume in August 2011, and the third book in the series, Becoming Clementine, was published in September 2012. The fourth Velva Jean novel, American Blonde, hit shelves in 2014.
With her mother, author Penelope Niven, Jennifer has conducted numerous seminars in writing and addressed audiences around the world. She lives in Los Angeles.
Top Customer Reviews
But...if you're expecting lots of flying, you'll be disappointed. The story starts with her landing in England, then she crashes a plane and later steals a plane, but most of the book is her acting like a spy. I say "acting" cause really, she doesn't any real spying. I'll get to that.
She crashes in France, which in under the Germans so she's in enemy territory. Still searching for her brother, she insists on joining the resistance. She's mighty brave. I still love her. She ends up in Paris and has all these Resistance friends, even a French lover, but despite being surrounded by these people and making big plans, she does nothing.
She wears fancy lipstick, eats a map, PLANS to save a girl from prison, but gets arrested herself, wears knife bobby pins, but really, never once does she deliver pertinent information to anyone, just runs around with the Resistance. She can't even take credit for saving the girl in the end, because she didn't bomb the train and Eleanor is capable of escaping herself.
It's isn't until the very end of the book that Velva Jean aka Clementine does something worthwhile. Though I must give her credit for not caving under interrogation.
The beginning and ending was great, but the middle really dragged for me. As I said, she just runs around with these important people and spends time in prison.
So compared to Learns to Fly, it didn't wow me. But then again, that was more up my alley as I love aviation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was a teen ager during WWII and since have read extensively about it, particularly re the European front. I could not finish this book. It would seem, Ms. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Susan Morgan
A great perspective on WWII from a woman experiencing flying,as a WASP, the French Resistance and the end of the war. Well crafted and a real page turner!Published 14 months ago by Susan Hively
Be sure to read the 2 previous Velva Jean books before reading "Clemetine". In fact, it's been a while since I read Niven's 1st 2 and felt like I had forgotten much. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Ruth
Rich in historical research and a riveting story. Would not have missed Velva Jean Hart's journey to become Clementine Roux. A must read! Read morePublished 15 months ago by William and Helen Worthington
I'd heard plenty of great things about Becoming Clementine and really wanted to love it. Sadly I could never really get into it. I even lost my borrowed copy on a plane! Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mehndeke
I loved all of the Velva Jean novels. Can't wait fof the next one. Sure hope she does well at the Grand Old Opry!!!!Published 16 months ago by Sandra A. Prutzman
This is book number three in the series about Velva Jean and it would really help the reader to understand this book if the other two were read first; at least read Velva Jean... Read morePublished 17 months ago by J Davis
This book was quite different from "learns to drive" and "learns to fly". The story primarily takes place during the German occupation of Paris during WWII. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Mary E. Henson
Masterfully done from the crash landing of the B-17 in France to the harrowing escape in the He 70 and crash landing in England.
Your book is simply wonderful. Read more