Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: Marva Cope (Jackson's Pond, Texas Series #4) by Teddy Jones

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for Marva Cope by Teddy Jones. This blog tour was organized by Lone Star Book Blog Tours. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and books. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Marva Cope
Series: Jackson's Pond, Texas Series #4
Author: Teddy Jones
Publication Date: February 5th 2023
Print Length: 281 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
A stranger comes to Jackson’s Pond and everything changes.

Marva Cope, the fourth novel in the Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series, brings new elements to the story of the small town in the Texas Panhandle.

Marva arrives as the new postmaster in 2017. She brings with her a lifetime of hesitancy to open herself to others. It is here, while living with her elder Aunt Violet, that she comes to appreciate the value of true friendships. With new relationships, long walks, and conversations with herself, she comes to terms with her difficult past…the loss of a beloved teenaged brother in a tragic farm accident, her father’s death from a broken heart, and a distant mother who had no love for the young teenager.

Troubled teenage years followed as a flawed young man lures her to New Mexico, then left her alone with their newborn daughter. With her newfound courage of trusting others as friends, she reconnects with her daughter and a college dorm-mate she had deserted in years past. In Jackson’s Pond, she finds the ability to consider what to do with the rest of her life.

There is so much to admire in this wise and luminous novel. Marva Cope is written with abiding tenderness and compassion. -- John Dufresne, author of Storyville

The novel Marva Cope is a rarity— an artfully told “coming of age” story that morphs into a “getting on with life” saga that, in the end, celebrates the simple joys of human connection. -- Martha Burns, author of Blind Eye

She ended up moving in at Violet’s house because in a rare conversation with her mother a couple of months back, Marva mentioned she’d be moving to Jackson’s Pond. That brought an immediate suggestion that Violet, her mother’s only sister, likely needed help, that she was becoming frail. Later, Marva deduced that Violet let people believe whatever they wanted to, but she was far from frail.

At seventy-nine, Aunt Violet lived alone in a three-bedroom house on a large lot in Jackson’s Pond. The house was in good repair, and the furnishings were a combination of antiques and some obviously new items in the den. She had a group of friends who gathered for card games each week, and she had a computer that she used mainly for email and record keeping. She had no pets, but enjoyed watching birds at feeders situated in some of the backyard trees. On Sunday, she attended the Methodist Church. When Marva declined going, Violet smiled and said, “I understand.” Clearly, her aunt managed quite well alone.

She’d inherited the place from her parents who’d built it, along with several others, in the town’s better days. According to Mother, Granddad had come from Tennessee with money in his pockets, and had owned a ranch, but lived in Jackson’s Pond and dedicated himself to helping make the town grow. He’d been into lots of things—housing development, Electric Coop, School Board, you name it, he was in on it. Marva’s primary source of information about the family background was her mother, and only in the recent years when they’d begun speaking civilly to each other, and only rarely. So, she took it all with a grain of salt. Her mother’s version was likely shaded in a lovely pink. Although with her mother, little in life was truly rosy.

Marva’s two new letters, a and t, let her form spate onto the s in nauseate. Six points. Big deal.

Violet said, “How’s it looking to you now, Sheriff?”

“I remember your being a really nice, understanding person,” Marva said. “What happened to change you?”

“Memory is often unreliable,” her aunt said.

In short order she filled the board with double digit plays against Marva’s measly eights and threes and a single twenty-two. And then the game was over with Violet scoring 301 to her 102.

Violet said, “I haven’t played in a while; my score is usually higher than that.” She picked up a thin, folded newspaper, unfolded it. “Looks like we’ll have local news for a change. Jackson’s Pond Leader; not a bad name. Arrived in today’s mail. I will subscribe. Obituaries are always good reading. And it could be the women I play cards with are less than objective in the news they report.” She folded the paper and scooped the tiles off the board into their bag.

It was only 8:10 p.m.; Marva expected she’d be forced to play again. But her aunt surprised her.

Violet said, “About that penalty. While you were searching for a way to play your last n, I decided. You will tell me your story now, all that you remember. No need in my having to wait for bits and pieces to dribble out. And maybe one day, when you beat me, I’ll fill you in on some of my tale, too. Living together, we need to know one another.”

That would have been good advice a long time ago, Marva thought. She said, “Now?”

Violet peered over her bifocals and said, “Yes, penalties must be paid promptly. It’s a rule.”

She said, “I could use a glass of wine. How about you?”

“I’ll pour,” Violet said as she stood. “Red or white?”

“White.” Then, after closing her eyes and thinking where to begin, Marva started with the worst year of her life, 1975.
Teddy Jones is the author of five published novels, as well as a collection of short stories. Her short fiction received the Gold Medal First Prize in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2015. Jackson’s Pond, Texas was a finalist for the 2014 Willa Award in contemporary fiction from Women Writing the West. Her novel, Making It Home, was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in 2017 and A Good Family (not yet unpublished) was named finalist in that contest in 2018.

Although her fiction tends to be set in West Texas, her characters’ lives embody issues not bounded by geography of any particular region. Families and loners; communities in flux; people struggling, others successful; some folks satisfied in solitude and others yearning for connection populate her work. And they all have in common that they are more human than otherwise.

Jones grew up in a small Texas town, Iowa Park. Earlier she worked as a nurse, a nurse educator, a nursing college administrator, and as a nurse practitioner in Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. For the past twenty years, she and her husband have lived in the rural West Texas Panhandle where he farms and she writes.

Win a $25 Amazon gift card; a set of all 4 Jackson’s Pond, Texas Series books by Teddy Jones; and a copy of Nowhere Near by Teddy Jones - US only!
(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. The author, Teddy Jones, assumes all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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  1. Reading chapter one and the great reviews has me hooked. Thanks for sharing!