Follow this link to an interesting review of The Dream Bucket: I enjoyed the book (dated March 30, 2016) You will need to scroll down to find this four-star review..
Here is my response:
Thank you for your excellent review. I don’t make a practice of responding to reviews, but your comments need to be noticed by other readers. I’d like to discuss the issues you have mentioned.
First, let me say I’m opposed to domestic violence. Readers will find depictions of various forms of domestic abuse in Abi of Cyrene and each book in the Covington Chronicles. In Abi of Cyrene, Abi’s father brutalizes her. In Secret Promise, Caroline is a pathetic victim of physical abuse from a parent figure, Loretta in The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson receives some physical abuse and horrible emotional abuse, Zoe in The Dream Bucket suffers in silence, and Manuela in Manuela Blayne receives the worst abuse of all.
Thank you for saying you were uncomfortable reading it. Writing it was painful. Women who have read Manuela Blayne scream in outrage. I try to address these abusive situations accurately as I show how the culture has accepted mistreatment of helpless victims. Without giving away any endings of my books, I’ll just say I want readers to feel the indignation that you expressed.
In the real world domestic abuse has been glossed over and often accepted. Until a few decades ago, many men well-respected in their communities claimed the right to spank or slap their wives as punishment. I recall comedies filmed in the fifties and sixties in which men spanked their women. These scenes infuriate me. My goal as a writer is to show how conditions have been. I try not to rewrite history but to depict it realistically.
As The Dream Bucket begins, Trudy is a spoiled girl with an unrealistic admiration for her father, who is a scoundrel. He remains a central character throughout most of the book. Billy Jack’s character develops further in Manuela Blayne. I’d love to hear your response to that book.