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The Sound of Windmills Paperback – Large Print, April 6, 2011
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About the Author
Jackie Woolley’s articles have been published in numerous national publications. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in college literary publications. Word Books published her nonfiction book, All The Things You Aren’t…Yet, in l980, under the name Jackie Humphries. For her master’s thesis, she wrote an early version of her novel manuscript, What Death Can Touch, University of Houston, Clear Lake City. A earlier version of a fiction manuscript The Sound of Windmills won semi-finalist in the prestigious William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition in 2002. She worked as a language facilitator and educator in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and wrote feature stories about her experiences in a foreign land. At the University of Houston, Clear Lake City, she co-edited the university’s literary publication, Bayousphere. She taught literature and writing for community colleges in Oregon and Texas. For the next twenty years, as co-owner of Professional Engineering Inspections, she edited engineering reports on houses in the Houston area. Her story, “The Love of Her Life,” appears in The Noble Generation, Vol. II, Stories of the American Experience, Barnes & Noble, 2004, Georgetown, Texas. She regularly writes for Story Circle Network’s publications. She currently holds writing workshops and is a facilitator for various writer’s groups. Her life story based on her childhood farm in Texas, “My Belonging Place,” appeared in the collection, A Land Full of Stories, in the book, What Wildness is This, Women Write About The Southwest, University of Texas Press, Austin, 2007. Now in 2011, A Sound of Windmills ready for publication.
Top customer reviews
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All these memories and many more, came rushing back as I read Jackie Woolley's multigenerational saga of the Taylor family. Myra and Joel Taylor live with their daughters, Marilyn and Rugene on a working farm, much like my grandparents', near the fictional town of Langor, Texas. It's a hard life, and Woolley has an excellent eye and ear for it. I do not know exactly how much of this story is autobiographical; I suspect, quite a bit.
The difficulty of farm life is made even more challenging for the Taylor family because as the story opens, Joel, a polio victim, is dying. Myra, who has done most of the farming and managing for years, expects to carry on with the help of her daughters and a trusted hand, but within days of Joel's death, their long-time landlord (they are sharecroppers) mercilessly tosses them out. Stricken, Myra lands on her feet, and begins to form a new life for the three. This is the true beginning of the long story.
The focus is primarily on the younger daughter Rugene, a strong spirit and sometimes lonely bookworm. She is determined to go college and find a life for herself but not in Langor. At the same time she is determined that "I'll be back someday. I'm going back to buy the old farm." Rugene manages to live much of her dream. Meanwhile, Marilyn and Myra also struggle with their own lives and as well as with holding the three of them together as a family.
Because the novel spans several decades, it might have been confusing to a reader. What is happening to whom and when? Woolley handles this problem skillfully by working historic happenings into her story without being obtrusive. The book is no one-night read. It is a rather daunting 545 pages, and is full of twists and turns; however, the main story moves nicely along, holding the reader's interest. By the time it comes to a close most of its issues are resolved and three strong women are at peace with themselves and with each other.
by Trilla Pando
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women