Velva Jean Learns to Drive: Book 1 in the Velva Jean series (Paperback)
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The New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places—soon to be a Netflix film starring Elle Fanning—presents a coming-of-age debut about ill-fated love during the Great Depression—and what it means to be a woman with ambition.
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.
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.
About the Author
Jennifer Niven is the New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe, as well as the popular Velva Jean series. She is also the author of several non-fiction books, including Ada Blackjack, The Aqua-Net Diaries, and The Ice Master, which was named a top non-fiction book by Entertainment Weekly. Her New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places is soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning. Although she grew up in Indiana, she now lives with her fiancé and literary cats in Los Angeles, which remains her favorite place to wander.
Praise for Jennifer Niven and Her Novels
“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
“If [Niven] continues to create female characters as strong, as fallible and as appealing as Velva Jean, she has a grand career ahead of her.”—Wilmington Star News
“Velva Jean makes a charming, bright-eyed narrator (bringing to mind that other delightful young rural protagonist: Scout of To Kill a Mockingbird).”—The Christian Science Monitor
“The novel takes hold of your imagination and refuses to let go—even long after you've read the last page.”—Costco (Pennie’s Book Pick of the Month)
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