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Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles

Stormy Weather (edition 2007)

by Paulette Jiles

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2851039,557 (3.55)7
Title:Stormy Weather
Authors:Paulette Jiles
Info:William Morrow & Co, Inc. (2007), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:Great Depression, the 30s dust storms, resilient women, horse racing

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Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles

  1. 00
    Plain Language: A Novel by Barbara Wright (amelielyle)
    amelielyle: Each book narrates the story of families struggling against the suffocating grip of the Dust Bowl era in the West and Southwest. Very descriptive sense of place and beautifully developed characters about whom the reader continues to ponder long after the last page is read.… (more)
  2. 01
    The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss (amelielyle)
    amelielyle: Both novels concern independent young women who have rapport with horses--there is a secondary romantic theme to both stories.

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Paulette Jiles is a one of a kind talent, and in honor of her soon to be released title News of the World, (William Morrow, October 4, 2016, pre-order it now) I decided to revisit and review some of her older titles.

Stormy Weather is the evocative tale of a girl growing up during the dustbowl years in Texas surrounded by poverty and strife. The story is heartfelt and populated with individual and deeply drawn characters. Life is rough for the Stoddard family, but especially Jeanine, a young daughter who finds herself learning certain questionable skills as she is drug from oilfield to oilfield by a father always looking for a quick fortune through gambling and high risk propositions. Her life is continuously disrupted by loss even after her father’s death, yet she manages to remain hopeful. As a young woman, her resilience and stubbornness might be the only thing capable of saving the land she has come to love and keeping her family from starvation. Will she have to choose to let go of all she has hard-won to have love?

Jiles is a master at sinking the reader immediately into a deep cool current of imagery to drift, suspended in wonder, helpless, as one shadow-filled scene passes after another until the end.
She wrote one of my all-time favorite books, Lighthouse Island, which is really somewhat of a science or speculative fiction novel, and several other novels in the historical genre that are also very well written and enjoyable. I hope she writes many more! I read every one, and so should you.

Read it to be transported into Jeanine’s bit of history-- Texas oil strikes, horse betting, silk stockings, dust-choked train cars, peach orchards, blacksmith alley poker games, and all the rest.

This review and more at annevolmering.com. ( )
  avolm | Mar 6, 2016 |
It was okay, didn't really obtain much information about the dustbowl years, nor the depression. Didn't get much of a feel for the characters, as well. I wouldn't really recommend this book. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
It was okay, didn't really obtain much information about the dustbowl years, nor the depression. Didn't get much of a feel for the characters, as well. I wouldn't really recommend this book. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
3 1/2 ★

Jeanine Stoddard grows up the favourite daughter of a gambling, womanizing father who travels with their family from job to job in East Texas during the depression. When he dies while in jail, it is her determination that gives her sisters an mother the push they need to restore their mother's deserted family home and get it the farm up and running again. In the meantime, her mother, who has never been good with money, starts investing in a wildcat oil well as they need to pay years of back taxes. Jeanine is also trying to figure out what to do with Smoky Joe, an unshod racing horse she inherited from her father.

Jeanine has always considered herself someone who would never get married after a comment she heard about herself as a young child. her older sister, Mayme, goes through a couple of romances, while her younger sister, Bea, still a child, aspires to be a writer. When Bea has a serious accident falling down a well, their lives are invaded by a the county welfare nurse who not only constantly finds fault, but continually asks Bea to move to a state home.

Ross Everett, a man who once aided Jeanine who was trying to take her dead drunk father home, has been in and out of her life ever since. In an attempt to earn more money, she sells the majority of Smoky Joe to him so he can race him and she can get a share of his winnings. This, along with Mayme's job and some work Jeanine picks up as a seamstress, are their only sources of income as they struggle through the end of the depression.

While I liked this book overall, it's not as good as Enemy Women, and had I read this first, I might not have read any more novels by Jiles.

( )
  Karin7 | Jan 20, 2016 |
As usual Jiles gives us an easy to swallow history lesson, this time with a strong resilient family of women at its center. Our heroine is Jeanine, one of three sisters, and the favorite of their father Jack, a gambler, lover of horses, and chaser of the Texas oil fields during the dark years of the Depression. Jack Stoddard's wife Elizabeth is forced to provide for her family in one shack after another as they move from town to town. Gradually, hopes for anything better dwindle to nothing, and Jack dies as a result of his own folly. The women head back to Elizabeth's family's abandoned farm where they set out to repair the house and make it livable. Jeanine's goal is to restore the farm as well, but this becomes complicated by her on-again, off-again love affair with Ross Everett, a well-to-do gambler and horse owner she'd met as a child when she followed her father around to the bars and horse races. The characters of the Stoddard women are all different; their interactions with each other are some of the best parts of the story. The descriptions of life in the terrible times of the American drought and the dust bowl, the Texas oil fields, and the world of horse racing in those days are well done. Jiles always provides a romance with a touch of the bittersweet. I would recommend this book, although it is not the author's best. ( )
  suztales | Dec 30, 2012 |
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For Mayme and Maxie; who were there when I came into this world and have been there ever since
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When her father was young, he was known to be a hand with horses.
In 1918, the year Jeanine was born, the oil strikes in north-central Texas, at Ranger and Tarrant and Cisco, were places of astonishing chaos. … A young man named Conrad Hilton borrowed money to buy a hotel in Cisco and packed in cots so tightly you could step from one to another. He said the place was a cross between a flophouse and a gold mine.
She understood that her father slid from addiction to addiction, a shape changer, and nothing would hold him in one place for long, and she knew this with a childlike combination of disillusion and forgiveness.
… brought back memories of the good times of match racing and the awful times of moving and misery, and also the time when he had been the handsome father who had loved her. Her throat hurt it was so tight.
Whatever kind of life they had been able to cobble together despite the Depression and the oil fields and their father’s love of good times and gambling was collapsing all around them.
So they began to make their lives there, throughout the fall and winter of 1937. They tried to piece their lives together the way people draw maps of remembered places; they get things wrong and out of proportion, they erase and redraw again.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060537329, Hardcover)

From Paulette Jiles comes a poignant and unforgettable story of hardship, sacrifice, and strength in a tragic time—and a desperate dream born of an undying faith in the arrival of a better day.

Oil is king of East Texas during the darkest years of the Great Depression. The Stoddard girls know no life but an itinerant one, trailing their father from town to town as he searches for work on the pipelines and derricks. And in every small town, mother Elizabeth does her level best to make each sparse, temporary house they inhabit a home.

But the fall of 1937 ushers in a year of devastating drought and dust storms, and the family's fortunes sink further when a questionable "accident" leaves Elizabeth and her girls alone to confront the cruelest hardships of these hardest of times. With no choice left to them, they return to the abandoned family farm.

It is Jeanine Stoddard who devotes herself to rebuilding the farm and their lives. But hard work and good intentions won't make ends meet. In desperation, the Stoddard women place their last hopes for salvation in a wildcat oil well and on the back of late patriarch Jack's one true legacy, a dangerous racehorse named Smoky Joe. And Jeanine must decide if she will gamble it all . . . on love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:22 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Four Texas women struggle against nature and opportunists on their Brazos River ranch during the Great Depression.

(summary from another edition)

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