I’m thrilled to share with you the book review I received from Kirkus Reviews just last week. Kirkus Reviews are the gold standard for anonymous, fair, unbiased book reviews. Many librarians use their reviews to determine which books they will purchase and shelve. See a partial review of Song of Herself, my debut novel.
… Wiley-Jones packs her narrative with a plethora of captivating themes and images that expose Fiona and readers to India’s cultures, religions, and styles (Women “wrapped their silhouettes with sarees in every color from ruby red to sapphire blue, and marigold to lemon yellow”) as well as the building Indian resentment toward British imperialism. Then there is the chaos of Calcutta, which the author describes in vivid detail, capturing the city’s history, topography, sounds, smells, and foods. Fiona is a complex character who repeatedly turns to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass for inspiration and guidance in her search for her own center. …
… An engaging period drama overflowing with historical tidbits.
Consider buying a copy for a Christmas gift of the book, Song of Herself!
Thomas Wolfe claimed a truism that is the title of the book which many of us might agree with, “You can’t go home again.” I agree I could not go home to live there again, but I can go back for a visit. I’m always thrilled and happy to see my mom, Gaye Wiley in Piggott, Arkansas. It’s fall and it was a colorful time to travel through the Ozarks and then follow the road home to the delta cotton fields of my hometown. I grew up in Piggott, Arkansas, just like Pauline Pfeiffer, second wife of Ernest Hemingway.
Hometown Newspaper Announces my Debut Novel
I was honored when my hometown newspaper announced my debut novel publication and therefore supported my artistic work by letting locals know of my new book.
Turns out my small rural hometown because famous after I left when some people in high places determined to celebrate Hemingway having spent time writing in Piggott, Arkansas, at his in-laws’ house.
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum & Educational Center, also known as the Pfeiffer House and Carriage House, is the historic home of Pauline Pfeiffer, wife to novelist Ernest Hemingway.
The house itself is well maintained and contains some of the original furniture and artifacts. The barn at the back of the house that was used as the Hemingway’s writing studio also has a lot of historic value.
The guided tours are informative and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable. A sister to a classmate of mine gave me a tour this trip to Piggott. I recommend making a trip to Piggott when you can to tour the house and carriage house where Hemingway wrote part of Farewell to Arms.
Covid-delayed Class Reunion
We were saddened to learn about classmates who had died since the last time we were together and that some could not join us due to health problems.
If you haven’t already ordered my book, Song of Herself, see below
“I just finished your book and loved it. It was a page turner! I loved the character development and learned so much. All your hard work paid off! Thank you for the adventure. I loved the ending!!”
If you read the book, please leave a short review of two or three sentences on Amazon. Tell potential readers what you liked, found intriguing, learned about another culture, or what you discovered about yourself in reading the book.
If you read the book, I would appreciate a quick review of 2-3 sentences on Amazon as a verified reader, or on Book Bub, Goodreads, or any other book app you use. Tell what you liked about the book and why others readers might be interested in it, too. Thanks a million!
The novel’s protagonist, Fiona Weston, an Iowa horsewoman in work boots and trousers, sails to India in 1906 from San Francisco to discover her journey is not the quest for which she had yearned, nor the escape from those at home who ridiculed her unconventional ways. Fiona’s journey is fraught with obstacles that create a sturdy sense of self.
If you read historical fiction, you’ll experience the 1906 San Francisco earthquake through Fiona’s frightened eyes as she leaves her brother’s body behind to sell her uncle’s quarter horses to the British Indian cavalry.
If you prefer travel adventure fiction, you’ll experience sailing the Pacific and Indian Oceans, while an attraction between Fiona and the shipping agent smolders.
If you enjoy absorbing other cultures, you’ll be riveted as Fiona navigates Calcutta (Kolkata) ruled by the British Raj, its history, the Hindu religion and caste system.
If you need a little romance, Fiona will choose between two men, the engaging, free spirited shipping agent, or the intellectually intriguing Quaker missionary who needs a wife. More importantly, she will choose herself above all others.
If you want conflict, she encounters similar men who deny her place in the world, as she did at home. From the shipmaster to the crew to the military purchasing agent.
If you lean toward women’s fiction, you will find Fiona’s journey fraught with hurdles where she learns to accept irreconcilable differences and still sing her song of self.
The book title from my historical novel, Song of Herself, is a take-off from Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of Myself” from his book, Leaves of Grass.
Here are three short paragraphs from early in the book that introduces Fiona, her brother Will, her Uncle Louis, and the shipping agent Jacob, as well as her use of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
~~~SAMPLE 3 paragraphs from the BOOK~~~
“Her Uncle Louis had read from Leaves of Grass to her since she was little and gave Fiona her own copy when she turned thirteen. Turning to the comfort of Walt Whitman’s book, her burning eyes scanned the pages. Tonight the bard’s words spoke directly.
And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present, and can be none in the future, And I will show that whatever happens to anybody it may be turn’d to beautiful results, …And that all things of the universe are perfect miracle, each as profound as any.
Fiona argued with Whitman’s optimism. Will’s death had no beautiful results, nor was it a perfect miracle, as Whitman suggested. The only marvel at work she knew of was Jacob’s care and tenderness, not only to the mares, but also and especially toward her.”
Thanks for stopping to read today
I hope this whets your appetite for reading Song of Herself, when it’s available. Watch for information about my book coming out soon. Please join my newsletter by signing on with your email on this webpage. Thanks for stopping by today!