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Velva Jean Learns to Drive: Book 1 in the Velva Jean Series (Paperback)
August 2009 Indie Next List
“A young girl born in the mountains of North Carolina has dreams of singing at the Grand Ole Opry and wearing a costume of satin and rhinestones. But Velva Jean marries Harley Bright, who turns from his bad boy days to become a revival preacher who tries to squash her spirit. You will love Velva Jean and enjoy watching her decide who she really is.”
— Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC
June 2010 Indie Next List
“Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven is lovely, coming-of-age story set in the mountains of North Carolina before World War II. Velva Jean dreams of becoming a singing star at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The only way to get there is to leave the her small world and her own people in the bright yellow truck, yet she doesn't know how. Through loss and adversity, Velva Jean's spirit and belief in herself gives her the courage to drive that yellow pick up 'over holler and hill and through the valleys and streams, to the tops of mountains and then through the clouds on a road forged from dreams.'”
— Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
From the author of the New York Times bestsellers Holding Up the Universe and All the Bright Places (soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning), a spellbinding debut about ill-fated love--and what it means to grow up. "A touching read, funny and wise, like a crazy blend of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, a less morose Flannery O'Connor, and maybe a shot of Hank Williams . . . Niven makes some memorable moon-spun magic in her rich fiction debut."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) Like All the Bright Places, hailed as a "charming love story about an] unlikely and endearing pair" (New York Times Book Review), Jennifer Niven's debut novel is a big-hearted story about the struggle to find happiness. Velva Jean's mother urged her to "live out there in the great wide world," and growing up in Appalachia in the years before World War II, Velva Jean dreams of becoming a big-time singer in Nashville. Then she falls in love with Harley Bright, a handsome juvenile delinquent turned revival preacher. As their tumultuous love story unfolds, Velva Jean must choose between keeping her hard-won home and pursuing her dream of singing in the Grand Ole Opry.
About the Author
JENNIFER NIVEN has written four novels for adults--Velva Jean Learns to Drive, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, Becoming Clementine, and American Blonde--and three non-fiction books--Ada Blackjack, The Aqua-Net Diaries, and The Ice Master, which was named a top non-fiction book by Entertainment Weekly. She has also written two books for young adults: Holding Up the Universe and the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places; the movie, starring Elle Fanning, will be released in 2017. Although she grew up in Indiana, she now lives with her fiance and literary cats in Los Angeles, which remains her favorite place to wander. For more information, visit JenniferNiven.com, GermMagazine.com, or find her on Facebook.
Praise for Velva Jean Learns to Drive:
“A touching read, funny and wise, like a crazy blend of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, a less morose Flannery O’Connor, and maybe a shot of Hank Williams . . . Niven makes some memorable moon-spun magic in her rich fiction debut.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“In this story Jennifer Niven creates a world long gone, a mountain past where people suffer failure, loss, and betrayal, as well as the strength and joy of connection and deep love. Velva Jean Learns to Drive takes us far into this soaring, emotional country, the place where our best music comes from.”
—Robert Morgan, bestselling author of The Road from Gap Creek and Gap Creek
“A fluid storyteller.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Velva Jean learns to . . . not only drive, but to soar. This beautifully written coming-of-age story captivated me, and I recommend it to anyone who has ever longed to ‘live out there.’”
—Ann B. Ross, author of the bestselling Miss Julia novels
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