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The Steel Canyon Legacy: Book II of the Legacy Trilogy (Volume 2) Paperback – September 16, 2016
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[Following is an excerpt from an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Steel Canyon Legacy" by Wanda Dehaven Pyle. For the complete review, visit forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=42309]
Not every new beginning happens willingly. Sometimes, a new beginning is one you're forced into. You can whine about it. You can cry about it. You could even think that it's all a bad dream and keep pinching yourself until you wake up from it.Maybe you'll be like Tessa Kingsley and put your "big person underwear" on,take a deep breath and walk the road to see where the new beginning will take you. In Wanda Dehaven Pyle's The Steel Canyon Legacy, we witness the struggles and successes of a recently widowed mother working hard to take care of her family. With the past threatening to destroy her and the future uncertain, Tessa must do whatever she can to protect her family. Even if the world she lives in, seems hell bent on working against her.
Set in the Midwest,during the 1970s, the author not only gives background history that is so rich in detail, but describes landscapes and scenery that are so magnificent,readers will feel like they're actually there! Every scene, every moment in the book, played an important part and had a significant impact on the end of the story. Trust me, the plot is so well written and thought out that you'll find yourself completely invested in the story...Speaking of characters, even more than the plot, these fictional individuals will win you over completely.
The details were rich, the plot was well structured, the characters were well developed and I was completely invested...I simply enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more of what this author has to offer.
From the Author
A new social movement took center stage in the 1970s. It followed the lead of the civil rights movement, as well as the mounting protests against the Vietnam War. In this volatile era, the women of the nation were determined that their voices be heard above the din of discontent.
The women's movement of the '70s was in part a reaction against the type of happy homemaker that was often portrayed in television sitcoms of previous decades. Like it or not, girls growing up in the '50s would have been exposed to role models such as the housewives in Leave It to Beaver, The Donna Reed Show and Father Knows Best, women whose career goals were getting the kids off to school and serving dinner on time. A working woman as role model didn't come along until the late 1960s and early 1970s when shows such as Julia--where Diahann Carroll starred in the first nonstereotypical network TV role for an African-American woman as Julia Baker, a single mom who worked full time as a nurse--and The Mary Tyler Moore Show in which Moore portrayed Mary Richards, a career-oriented single woman who is a news producer for a TV station in Minneapolis.
For many women, this change in viewpoints created a conundrum regarding long-held beliefs about a woman's role in both the home and workplace. They were caught between their desire to nurture and create a safe haven for their families and the desire to move beyond the confines of a life centered only on home and family. As they stepped forward into this new role, many were hindered by their own naivete regarding the politics and difficulties of surviving in a world that had previously been restricted to "men only." This is the feeling I have tried to capture in The Steel Canyon Legacy.
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Top customer reviews
I was sad to discover that her husband, Simon, had died and that Tessa Kingsley found herself in a challenging situation. She was a woman who had lived a rather sheltered existence as a pastor's wife, even though she had stood beside him as he fought for Civil Rights and shared the frightening backlash from members of the community and the church he served when they took umbrage with his stance on social rights. Her employment skills are minimal because she has been out of the workforce for so long, and she faces the financial repercussions of Simon’s dreams, and the responsibility of providing for her two young sons, her aging mother and a stepbrother who attracts trouble like a magnet.
But Tessa Kinsley draws on her inner strength and does what needs to be done. She finds employment and works hard. Eventually, she discovers that the job she needs so badly comes with strings attached. When she refuses to fall in line, she quickly finds herself unemployed, and once again she has to dig deep and be resourceful.
Tessa is an attractive woman, and she catches the attention of a man who is truly smitten with her. His charming ways draw her, and she enjoys the comfort that he offers her. But he is involved with activities that eventually destroy her trust. To protect her family, she has to make painful decisions. She is forced to draw on her inner strength again.
Once again Pyle does a masterful job of weaving history into a unique fictional plot. I look forward to reading the next book in the Legacy Series. I want to know where life takes this strong, resilient woman and her family.
I have become a fan of Wanda Pyle’s work. I see she has another book that is not part of this series but weaves history into a generational tale of strong women who put aside their personal dreams to support and nurture others. It is titled, Wind Borne and I have purchased it and look forward to reading it when it makes its way to the top of my Kindle TBR list.
Silverton and the limping man are back from the first book, and it is actually Silverton who I find the most intriguing this time out. His manipulation of events around Tessa, especially his playing puppeteer master with Ted, a junkie starting his slow slide into oblivion, is interesting. He’s amoral and unlikable, but there is a certain fascination in how he goes about exacting revenge. It is this and a never-boring story which keeps the reader interested. This is women’s fiction, so as a reviewer I feel in fairness I have to look at it through that lens — though I will make a few male reaction detours.
About three-quarters of the way through Steel Canyon, I actually got a bit of Phyllis A. Whitney feel, who wrote women’s fiction of modern intrigue and growth. She was a wonderful writer who kept it very clean, yet had just enough grit — or at least the hint of unpleasantness — to keep it interesting. Only a tawdry scene showing Ted begin his final descent into the gutter prevents this from being like that. It is one of the rare instances where I would have preferred being told — there is quite a bit of that here — rather than shown.
And to that point, I felt since the writer went there on that occasion, why not give me some of Tessa’s feelings and emotions, even her physical reactions, in a beautifully rendered sensual scene with the man she decides to marry, despite all the warning signs — he likes to gamble, drink, has a cavalier attitude. This is a good writer and an excellent storyteller, so I thought it was a shame the latter unseemly scene with Ted was shown, while Tessa’s initial dive into the waters of the 70s was only described in sort of an after-it-happened overall reaction. It might have helped me understand what she saw in this weak and flawed man in the first place. Was it the sex? The lifestyle?
From a male perspective, Tessa’s all-over-the-map views on propriety were maddening. One minute she’s making a son turn off Charlie’s Angels because it isn’t appropriate, the next she’s heading off with her boss to Miami to lounge in sexy beachwear by the pool to help him close the deal with a client. People have told her what her boss is like, and he’s done everything but draw her pictures in crayon of them together in bed to indicate why he brought her to Miami, yet she is still surprised when he makes the play. There is nice, and then there is just incredibly slow on the uptake. It was eye-rolling for me, but I’m not the audience at which the work is aimed. I suspect enough women have been-there-done-that — and felt foolish afterward — to identify with Tessa.
In many ways, Wanda DeHaven Pyle’s The Steel Canyon Legacy is a much more accomplished work than the first book in the series, at least for me. I still found it a bit narrative heavy — too much telling, not enough showing — but thought the author’s excellent storytelling ability smoothed over it much better than in the first book. Silverton comes off the strongest character in this one for me. Woven into the story is the changing 70s, Chicago and its history, and a nice drive Silverton takes along Route 66 as he blows town. Windborne continues to be my favorite so far from this author, but those who enjoy women’s fiction with a good story will probably like this one a great deal.
While I purchased the first two efforts by this author, she was kind enough to send an ARC of this one, which doesn’t factor in to my review. I do attempt to keep in mind the audience the book is aimed at when I review something in this vein, which is why I give this one four very solid stars. The writing is excellent, the author is a good storyteller, and I believe the audience at which the book is aimed will find it to be a great read. I liked it.
POSITIVES: Interesting in parts
Lots of different emotions throughout book
Shows the rising of women in the workplace
NEGATIVES: Can be quite confusing as shows through a few characters perspectives
Loses flow in some places which made reading difficult at points
KEY WORDS: Suspense, Loss, Drugs, Gambling, Love, Family, Betrayal, murder
RECOMMEND TO FANS OF: Books set in Chicago and fans of suspense