A Texas Piney Woods Story

Rural East Texas, 1931. Preacher’s son Emory Joe Logan and a fiddler from Shreveport, Glory Lands, meet and form a tender bond. When they are caught and arrested for homosexual acts by Sheriff Elihu Bishop, the lawman’s sanctimonious bigotry threatens to rip the young men from their families.

Emory Joe’s father, Pastor Charles Logan, is brought to his knees in terror, confusion, and anger. He still regrets not standing up against Bishop when the lawman murdered a youth in cold blood nine years ago.

Now there’s no longer a choice for the preacher to stand up to the lawman. Cold-blooded justice, bigotry-disguised-as-religion, and hatred take on a whole new meaning when they’re standing on his doorstep, ready to take the son he loves.

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)All Romance

Vastine is a new to me author. I read historical fiction and I probably tend to go to authors I know like SA Meade, or Jordan L Hawk. But taking a chance on a new author is something I love to do and when I was asked if I wanted to take part in this blog tour I jumped at the chance! Then I was sent this book to read in exchange for an honest review, something I do on the odd occasion. First off, I was sucked in on page one. Simple as that I was drawn in to an incredibly emotional scene and from there on I couldn't put this book down. This isn't a long book which works well, the story flows from scene to scene and I was choked up on several occasions. This is what I immediately sent to Vastine as soon as I finished. I found her on Facebook and I wrote in a PM :
I just read glory lands
In one sitting
I'm in tears
I think you broke me
Jesus… This is one of the most powerful pieces of writing I have ever read

And that is the review I am posting, it is simple and absolutely perfect. I want to add that this is simply a stunning story that is horrific and sad and hopeful and romantic and tragic and a million other things all wrapped in one. There is mention of an awful attack, a rape and beating as punishment, but this happens off page and is referenced in a few sentences. Yes it could be a trigger, but it is not detailed and graphic.

Beautiful. This is a highly recommended book from me.

Excerpt below…


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East Texas, 1922

Emory Joe
Wearing a giant smile—just as clear, bright, and happy as that very October morning—Othello “Ted” Jenkins stepped from Jousan’s Mercantile and out onto the crowded sidewalk. Against his shoulder rested a brand-new Winchester rifle, its shiny black barrel pointing to the sky.

A cluster of townsfolk, my Daddy and me included, who’d been milling in front of the store window stepped up to Ted to see his purchase, and he beamed like a proud mother with a new baby while they admired it.

Elihu Bishop moved slowly through the flock of people.

Even if Bishop hadn’t sported a stiff white Stetson or toted two—not one, but two—Colt .45s on his hips, his stride, with its perfect mix of statue-straightness and catlike grace, shouted City Marshal’s Deputy.

Just the sight of Bishop—silk and ice, all six-foot-four of him—scattered folks like kids, who, although they hadn’t done anything wrong, reckoned they’d best make themselves scarce just in case.

Nobody strayed far, though; they just sort of spilled away from Ted like a bunch of leaves flittering across the road on the breath of a soft wind.

Which left Ted alone in his own little spotlight as Bishop sauntered nearer.

Daddy grabbed my wrist, his fingers awful tight. I resented like hell his taking hold of me, right there in front of everyone, as though I was a squirmy toddler.

But right then, riled as I was, I sensed it. Something dark slithered through the crowd and settled tight as a fist of ice in my own chest—fear. Oh, at the time, I was too young to really grasp why this silent, invisible angel of darkness terrified me so. Maybe nothing more than me channeling my father’s tension.

Once he reached Ted’s side. Bishop blew a quiet, admiring whistle. “What you got here, Ted?”

Poor Ted’s Adam’s apple bobbed in his long skinny neck. His dark fingers toyed nervously on the butt of the rifle. “It’s a rifle.”

Bishop shot up an eyebrow and took his good time pulling a cigarette from his lips.

Ted gulped and amended his reply. “It’s a rifle, Deputy Bishop.”

“Isn’t that a beaut, Ted, isn’t that just a beaut.” A sneer pretending to be an interested smile turned up the corners of Bishop’s thin lips. He squinted and tossed the cigarette onto the pavement. Tucking his chin, he stretched out a khaki-sleeved arm to now-trembling Ted. “Mind if I take a look, boy?”

An acquiescent grin tried to reach Ted’s mouth, and he nodded, the rifle wobbling in his grip when he handed the firearm to the lawman. “Sure, sir. Sure.”

“Now would you just look at this nice piece of weaponry.” Nodding, his lips pursed, Bishop studied the Winchester. It didn’t shake in his hands as it had in Ted’s. “What’re you aiming to do with this fine thing, boy?” The deputy’s steely blue gaze shot to Ted from under the shade of the Stetson’s brim.

“I figured to do some huntin’, sir.” Ted shifted from one scuffed-booted foot to the other, and his glance danced around the crowd.

I recognized that familiar frenzy in his brown eyes. A desperate search for a place to run. I figured I’d donned that same expression many times in the classroom when I was about to be on the receiving end of the teacher’s yardstick.

“I see.” Bishop’s severe gaze narrowed. “Hunting what, boy?”

Ted shrugged. “Squirrels and rabbits, I reckon, sir.”

While being pinned under that stony scrutiny, Ted’s body went rigid, except for his shaking hands.

“Squirrels and rabbits,” Bishop murmured.

“Yes, sir.”

There went Daddy’s fingers again, squeezing me even harder.

Through the years, even when I’d grown old enough to recognize the face of hatred and its always-hovering dark cold cloud, I still wondered how I didn’t sense what was going to happen next.

With no warning, just offering a gentle “I see,” Bishop grasped the barrel of the Winchester and, with one fast-as-lightning movement, brought the butt of the piece down on the back of Ted’s neck.

The impact split the air and echoed off the buildings like a clap of thunder.

I cringed, the sickening thud jarring my innards.

Ted crumpled to the pavement, boneless as an empty potato sack.

With a deep sigh and a slow stare around the circle of spectators, Bishop stood for a moment, the rifle in his big fist

Then, like throwing a bit of stick into the garbage, he tossed the gun onto Ted’s still frame.

The Winchester bounced off Ted and clattered to the sidewalk.

The deputy shot one last glance at the stunned audience, sauntered to the wrought-iron bench at the end of the sidewalk, and commenced lighting a cigarette.

Daddy shuddered to life. Murmuring “Jesus, sweet Jesus” over and over under his breath, he started down the sidewalk, dragging me toward our truck.

Over my shoulder, I kept my gaze on Bishop while being hauled away from the scene by Daddy. I’d been mesmerized, terrifyingly so, by the image of the deputy lounging on that bench as though nothing had happened.

At one point, Bishop’s eyes met mine. He must have enjoyed the terror in my own eyes because, after a long drag on the cigarette, he exhaled and winked at me through the spiral of smoke.