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True Stories at the Smoky View: A Novel Paperback – April 5, 2016
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“With intricate story lines involving murder, library research, road trips, and [a] quest for justice, and motifs including motherhood, love, marriage, betrayal, and true friendship, there is something for everyone in this light/dark Southern novel by a writer to watch.”
“True Stories at the Smoky View is a riveting literary mystery you won’t soon forget. Jill McCroskey Coupe handles this complex tale of troubled romance, broken families, redeeming friendship, and inexplicable evil with intelligence, grace, and grit. This exhilarating debut novel brims with honesty, charm, heart, and good humor.”
—John Dufresne, author of I Don't Like Where This is Going
“Intrigue abounds in True Stories at the Smoky View, but this wonderful first novel is above all testament to Eudora Welty’s observation that “all serious daring starts from within.” With an abundance of wit and accuracy of feeling, Jill Coupe beautifully charts both the complexities of loyalty and the internal growth of Vrai Lynde, her central character, and she does so in clear, precise prose.”
—Jane Brox, author of Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light
“Skillfully written, with careful attention to detail and a liberal sprinkling of humor, this novel by a librarian and with a librarian protagonist combines mystery and suspense with a woman’s journey toward fulfillment in middle age.”
—Teddy Jones, author of Jackson’s Pond, Texas
“This is a thoroughly absorbing book that I found difficult to put down. The personalities Coupe conjured stayed with me long after I finished reading. The writing is beautiful: spare and funny. A most enjoyable read.”
—Maureen Beck, former Director of Library Services, Stevenson University
"True Stories at the Smoky View examines the mysteries and complexities of family, friendship, love and romance, and evil both grandiose and petty. In Vrai Lynde, in particular, Coupe has given us a vivid portrait of a complicated woman torn in many directions by her loves and her loyalties."
—Smoky Mountain News
About the Author
- Publisher : She Writes Press (April 5, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 324 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1631520512
- ISBN-13 : 978-1631520518
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,209,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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After the service, a light snow is falling when she discovers an abandoned (and shoeless) ten-year-old boy, shivering outside the funeral home. His name is Jonathan, and he quickly becomes Vrai's improbable companion, as together they hit the road, heading not only into a ferocious snowstorm, but onto a quest to find answers surrounding Skip's mysterious death. Separately, each is also in search of answers involving the heartbreak of death, loss and broken relationships.
Jill Coupe's talents are on full display as she imbues all her characters with rich, believable voices, from the highly likeable Vrai, to the precocious Jonathan. And one dastardly character was so skillfully drawn, I wanted to strangle him myself! Ms. Coupe's storytelling is not only assured and heartfelt, but is also laced with generous dollops of wry humor, as well as historical tidbits which entertain, as well as inform.
I was thoroughly charmed by True Stories at the Smoky View, and I agree with a previous reviewer who stated that she is hoping for a sequel. I second the motion! Here's to more Vrai and Jonathan - and to more delightful stories from Jill McCroskey Coupe.
Coupe's writing is fluid with a touch of the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. However, the story line is grounded and relies less on unexplained forces and more on honestly rendered characters and the consequences of their actions. It has a depth that can't be fully appreciated on a first read. Read it, let it sit, and then have a second go.
I ordered my copy and eagerly awaited it's arrival. I was hooked after the first few pages and stayed glued to it to the puzzling end.
Her characters are fleshy: Vrai, Jonathan and Skip quite endearing; Jonathan's uncle and aunt not so much; and the head librarian positively an evil man. The dialog of the characters is skillfully crafted ringing true to their personalities
Jill paints places in vivid detail: the quirkiness of Smoky View, Uncle Bud bringing coffee: the labyrinthine library with the “guillotine in the cloakroom,” the immensity and elusiveness of Mauna Kea, the snowy top hidden with clouds.
I am impressed with Jill's comfortable handling of hot pop S topics: sex, sports, space, Spanish and singleness. I love the librarian humor, particularly the pets' names. Plus Vrai’s full name, Vraiment means “really” or “truly,” a comment my high school French teacher would use for a sarcastic putdown when a student was not prepared!
The unsolved mysteries and book title hint at a sequel with more intrigue and fun with the Dewey Decimal System. I am anticipating another good read by Jill Coupe.