This is my weekly feature in which I highlight a great self-published book. Below is my review of Jalopy by Wes Verde, set in 1928. As always, if you decide to read this very well-written book, be sure to leave a review. Reviews are so important to self-published authors.
Etta and her father are all that are left of their once large and thriving family, as illness and tragedy have visited them often. It is 1928, and they are struggling to meet a huge tax burden on their failing farm. Etta goes into town to sell eggs every day, and on the way back she often walks to a secret, hidden place she has found in the countryside. Resting in that place is an old, abandoned jalopy, and Etta often sits in the broken-down jalopy, opens a map she found in the car, and dreams of places she wants to go.
Art, even at over 6 feet, is in the smallest of all of his brothers, and they are all towered over by their strict, controlling father. Art’s father is a very successful and well-to-do salesman of refrigerator units. He spends his days on sales calls trying to convince business owners to switch from ice houses to electric refrigeration. Art’s mother is controlling in her own way and has arranged a marriage for Art. Art is not enthusiastic about any of this, but has learned not to rock the boat. He is going along with everything, and spends his days on uncomfortable sales calls with his father. In his his free time, he is avoiding his new fiancee. Then a night out with his brothers ends with Art sleeping it off in Etta’s barn.
This is a captivating novel that draws you into Etta’s world immediately, starting with the gorgeous book cover. The author does a good job of depicting the drudgery and fear involved in barely scraping by with the tax man looming. The class division in the town between the locals and the part-time, wealthy lakeside resort visitors is well portrayed. Etta is an endearing protagonist, and you will begin rooting for her immediately as she finds herself in more than one life-threatening circumstance. Art’s situation of being bullied in his own family is also well written, and I found myself wanting to knock some heads together on his behalf.
My only criticism is that the book ended rather abruptly, followed by an epilogue that was set five years later and basically explained how everything turned out. I would rather have been shown what happened than told in an epilogue. That being said, this is a beautiful, endearing novel that will transport you to a time when life was hard, loss was prevalent, and love, if you could find it, was cherished.
This book is available on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free. I highly recommend you check it out.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wes is an engineer by trade, a busybody by habit, and a lifelong Jersey boy.
Writing has been a hobby in one form or another since 2006 when he started drawing 3-panel comics. When he is not putting words down, he is picking them up; the “to-read” pile only seems to grow larger.
A fan of nature, he spends as much time outside as possible