Monday, July 13, 2015

Johnnie Come Lately by Kathleen M. Rodgers

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Johnnie Come Lately' A Novel by Kathleen M. Rodgers.

Kathleen M. Rodgers takes us into the life of a young woman with many demons in Johnnie Come Lately. Johnnie is raised by her grandparents after her mom has left her. Named after her Uncle Johnny, she has no idea who her father is. Having battled bulimia all her life she has gained a foothold over her insecurities and hurts. Now at 43 she is a wife and mother of three children, two of them already grown.

Never letting down her guard and keeping her bulimia in control, she has found that life seems to be passing her by. She wants more, and as secrets begin coming to the surface, and questions of her father come to life, she struggles to maintain her grip on the one thing that could take her back to the out of control young woman she was.  Her best friend and confident is her dog, aptly named Brother Dog. Second to him are her journals where she keeps even her most cherished secrets.

Her yearning though is to move forward, but she has secrets of her own that must be banished. She is ready to move on and pursue her own dreams but feels both lost and conflicted. As the darkness of her own background and that of her parents begins to unravel, she must find the strength to stand her ground against her own anxieties. But can finding the answers of her own past help her to move into the future she has always dreamed about?

Rodgers has given us a tale of hurt and anguish. Her characters are an eclectic mix with emotions and flaws that are the same you find in the people you meet every day. Yet some of the secrets and issues are things we only hear about, and with a steady hand she introduces us to the dangers of bulimia and its aftermath. She then gives us a reminder of why dogs are man’s best friend with the introduction of Brother Dog, and while he is not a main character he adds a more personal touch, a realism that creates a spark in the bits of darkness encountered.

If you enjoy mystery and strength, with a touch of empathy and humor you will find this a great read. Often life’s road is not what we expect , but it takes a great deal of energy and fortitude to move forward in some cases and Rodgers takes us there with this work.

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Kathleen M. RodgersBio: 

Award-winning author Kathleen M. Rodgers is a former frequent contributor to Family Circle magazine and Military Times. Her work has also appeared in anthologies published by McGraw-Hill, University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books, Health Communications, Inc., AMG Publishers, and Press 53. She is the author of the award-winning novel, The Final Salute, featured in USA Today, The Associated Press, and Military Times. Deer Hawk Publications reissued the novel in e-book and paperback September of 2014.

Her second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, released from Camel Press February 1, 2015. Barnes & Noble in Southlake, TX hosted the official launch on February 7, and Kathleen signed copies of both novels for three hours straight. In 2014, she was named a Distinguished Alumna from Tarrant County College/NE Campus.

She is the mother of two grown sons, Thomas, a graduate of University of North Texas and a working artist in Denton, TX, and J.P., a graduate of Texas Tech University and a former Army officer who earned a Bronze Star in 2014 in Afghanistan. Kathleen’s husband, Tom, is a retired fighter pilot/commercial airline pilot, and they reside in Colleyville, TX with their rescue dog, Denton. Kathleen is working on a new novel titled Seven Wings to Glory and is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.

Johnnie Come Lately Book Summary:
Would life have been different for Johnnie if she'd been named after a woman rather than her dead uncle? Or if her mama hadn't been quite so beautiful or flighty? The grandparents who raised her were loving, but they didn't understand the turmoil roiling within her. And they had so many, many secrets.

Why did her mama leave? Would she ever return? How did her Uncle Johnny really die? Who was her father? Now Johnnie Kitchen is a 43-year-old woman with three beautiful children, two of them grown. She has a handsome, hardworking husband who adores her, and they live in the historic North Texas town of Portion in a charming bungalow. But she never finished college and her only creative outlet is a journal of letters addressed to both the living and the dead. Although she has conquered the bulimia that almost killed her, Johnnie can never let down her guard, lest the old demons return. Or perhaps they never went away to begin with. For Johnnie has secrets of her own, and her worst fear is that the life she's always wanted--the one where she gets to pursue her own dreams--will never begin.

Not until her ghosts reveal themselves.
Price/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $9.75 paperback
Military Family, Women's Fiction, Literary Fiction
Camel Press
February 1, 2015

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This would be a great work for a reading group or book club, giving a variety of discussion opportunities.


Tribute Books said...

Leslie, I'm glad you mentioned Brother Dog and how he plays such an important part in the story. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for the review!

Kathleen M. Rodgers said...

Dear Leslie,

I agree with Tribute Books. Thank you for inviting Brother Dog into your outstanding review of Johnnie. Some of my favorite lines from your review: "She then gives us a reminder of why dogs are man’s best friend with the introduction of Brother Dog, and while he is not a main character he adds a more personal touch, a realism that creates a spark in the bits of darkness encountered."

Thanks for investing your time and emotion into my story,