31 October 2019

Eastbound From Flagstaff by Annette Valentine Book Review! #EastboundFromFlagstaff

“Eastbound from Flagstaff”
Annette Valentine | September 17, 2019 | Morgan James
Paperback ISBN: 9781642793345  | Price: $18.95
Historical Fiction / Inspirational Fiction

1920s Southern historical fiction novel addresses the mystery 
of tragedy and the possibility of redemption
Nashville, TN
Annette Valentine’s debut novel opens with the spotlight on a young man in transition at a time in history when men longed for adventure and aspired for something greater than themselves. This multidimensional story confronts bold theological concerns and existential worries, all while providing a compelling narrative about waywardness, grace, and returning home.

A novel blending Southern historical fiction with a classic bildungsroman foundation, “Eastbound From Flagstaff” portrays an individual who comes to recognize the significance of family, loyalty, and the richness of heritage. Simon Hagan is running from a lie, intent on believing his own efforts and perseverance can overcome anything. He abandons roots that offer him strength and hides behind his charm, living every moment as if life’s daring him to fail―again. He’s reckoning with his father’s God who could have delivered better outcomes for him in his youth but didn’t.

The first installment in an epic trilogy that begins in the 1920s, “Eastbound from Flagstaff” follows Simon’s return to the notion of forgiveness. This proves to be the catalyst for a new beginning as Simon reconnects with the place he once thought was an impossible dream.

“A wonderful read, a well-fought redemption story.”
Darrell Waltrip, author, American motorsports analyst, and former racing driver
The Author

Annette Valentine: Annette is an inspirational storyteller with a flair for the unexpected. By age eleven, she knew that writing was an integral part of her creative nature. Annette graduated with distinction from Purdue and founded an interior design firm which spanned a 34-year career in Lafayette, Indiana and Brentwood, Tennessee. Annette has used her 18-year affiliation with Toastmasters International to prepare her for her position with the Speakers’ Bureau for End Slavery Tennessee and is an advocate for victims and survivors of human trafficking and is the volunteer group leader for Brentwood, Tennessee. Annette writes through the varied lens of colorful personal experience and the absorbing reality of humanity’s search for meaning. Mother to one son and daughter, and a grandparent of six amazing kids, Annette now lives in Brentwood, a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and their 5-year-old Boxer. To learn more about Annette’s life and work, please visit https://annettehvalentine.com

My Review

"A love story based on the author’s father,

Eastbound From Flagstaff, is a fresh testament to the resiliency of the human spirit with one stouthearted man’s quest to improve life’s offering."

The first chapter had Simon Hagen waiting in a train station for his wife Celeste and their baby daughter. This was the first that Simon will have met his new daughter.

The next chapter takes up back to Simon's beginning. He is 17 years old when he witnesses the death of his mother. A horrible thing that affected his father and siblings terribly. 

Simon then decides to leave the farm and strike out on his own. He goes to Detroit where he gets a job at the Ford factory, not liking factory work, even though he desperately wants to own a Model T. 

After he leaves the Ford factory, he becomes a cop and stays in the job for over 5 years. During the time he was at the Ford factory he meets Virginia Mallory and her family, husband Charlie, daughters Rachel and Celeste. 

 Simon is staying at a boarding house, the owner Mrs. Butcher and fellow boarder Mr.Begbie. These two are definitely characters, Mrs. Butcher coming across as a mean old lady and Mr.Begbie is a scrappy character.

This story also has a lot of reference to God, Simon's father is a man of God and after Simon's mother's death, he has given up on God. So this story is one of forgiveness and one of going back to your roots. It takes Simon from the farm with dreams of his future to Detroit, from Prohibition and the mob to wanting to be an actor to getting tuberculosis and having to spend time in a sanitorium in New Mexico.

What did I think of the book? At first, I did not think I would like the book. As I got into it further, I had a hard time putting it down and as I got to the end of the book, I did not want it to end. Since it is a trilogy, I am looking forward to reading the next two books to find out what more there is in Simon's life back at the farm and what will happen in his future. Can he forgive God? I highly recommend this book!

I  received a copy of this book for review purposes only.

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