2019 Wisdom-Faulkner Award finalist
2020 Adult Fiction winner Texas Author Project
2020 Sarton Award Finalist
2020 Eric Hoffer Award Short List
A drunken mother makes childhood ugly. Jane runs away at sixteen, determined to leave her fraught upbringing in the rearview. Vowing never to return, she hitchhikes to California, right on time for the Summer of Love. Seventeen years later, she looks good on paper: married, grad school, sober, but her carefully constructed life is crumbling. When Mama dies, Jane returns for the funeral, leaving her husband in the dark about her history. Seeing her childhood home and significant people from her youth catapults Jane back to the events that made her the woman she is. She faces down her past and the ghosts that shaped her family. A stunning discovery helps Jane see her problems through a new lens.
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2020 Shelf Unbound 2021 Notable 100 Best Indie Books
2020 Recommended by US Review of Books
A saga spanning five decades, I’ll Be Seeing You, explores one woman’s life, with and without alcohol to numb the pain.
Young Lauren knows she doesn’t want to be a ranch wife in Palo Pinto County, Texas. After she’s discovered by a modeling scout at the 1940 Fort Worth Stock Show Parade, she moves to Manhattan to begin her glamourous career. A setback ends her dream, and she drifts into alcohol dependence and promiscuity. By twenty-four, she’s been widowed and divorced, and has developed a pattern of fleeing her problems with geographical cures. Lauren’s last escape lands her in Austin, where, after ten chaotic years, she achieves lasting sobriety and starts a successful business, but happiness eludes her.
Fast forward to 1985. With a history of burning bridges and never looking back, Lauren is stunned when Brett, her third husband, resurfaces, wanting to reconcile after thirty-three years. The losses and regrets of the past engulf her, and she seeks the counsel of Jane, a long-time friend from AA. In the end, the choice is Lauren’s. What will she decide?
The year is 1940, and a teenage girl is about to have her normal, unglamorous life toppled, but she wants it toppled as she knows the ranch life is not for her. All Ruby/Lauren wants is to be bigger than the small town and life she was born into. This story follows her through the trials and tribulations of finding her way. Toward the end of the story, it moves forward to 1985, when once again Lauren’s life is turned on its head and what may be the biggest challenge of all is facing her.
The advantage of age is the realization of the cause and effect of instances and events. Lauren does not have that advantage and while this reader kept saying – Stop and think – the character was barreling ahead on her own laborious course.
The story takes many turns but has a constant theme running through its central vein: Alcohol and the effects it has not just immediately but after years of self abuse. While a lot of the story could be thought of as predictable, it still was a tale told in full and rich detail. While I’d like to say enjoyed, that is not possible. Enjoyment tends to lend the idea of entertainment, and while I am glad I read this book, I was not entertained as much as I was joined in the experience of the main character. The frustrations, missteps, decisions made and regrets were all felt.
Several strong supportive characters lend much to this book as well as the many historical events that are shown to impact the characters. The history of a lot of familiar establishments in Texas gave weight to an already solid story.
A retired registered nurse with experience in both the cold, clinical operating room and the emotionally fraught world of psychiatric hospitals, Joanne lives on a small ranch in the Texas Hill Country, where she writes fiction about complicated, twentieth-century women.