THREE ROADS OUT
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ISBN: eBOOK > 978-1-7348280-3-0
ISBN: PAPERBACK > 978-1-7348280-2-3
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- Three Roads Out is a blend of historical fiction, women's fiction, modern fiction, southern history, Appalachian history, black history, Jewish historical fiction, biographical fiction, family saga, classic literary fiction, young adult fiction, mystery/thriller/crime fiction, and a bluegrassy touch of mainstream fiction.
- Three Roads Out and its prequel, Along the Red Dirt Road, share an atmosphere of love and thoughtfulness, but neither is a romance novel.
- Three Roads Out is extremely popular with baby boomer women, yet strikes a timely chord with socially conscious men and women of all ages, and young readers down to middle school age.
- This book is becoming increasingly popular in Canada, the U.K, and with the historical, language arts, and social science communities.
- Contains some colorful language and non-gratuitous violence, but no vulgarity, graphic violence, or sexual content.
- Three Roads Out has a distinctive pay-it-forward flavor and part of the story employs a collection of beautiful letters that connect readers to other times, places, and circumstances.
- Bridging the divisiveness: As with Along the Red Dirt Road, this book has a gentle way of cultivating common ground that exists on societal issues of our time - including those some would ban (see 'themes & topics' and 'cultural references' sections below). When people smile and feel less divided, I do too!
- Three Roads Out has deep roots in the past, yet the story unfolds in modern times, Therefore, the contemporary parts use contemporary language, while other parts are told in language that speaks to the time and circumstance.
- Unlike the prequel (Along the Red Dirt Road), Three Roads Out does not utilize a prologue or an epilogue. Additionally, the first chapters of Three Roads Out move more briskly than in the prequel, as much of the background has already been established.
- I never intended to write this sequel, yet upon release of Along the Red Dirt Road, my readers and book club audiences began pummeling me with questions. What happened after Annie left town so long ago? Did Hillview ever forgive what she had done? What followed that autumn afternoon by the old stone wall? What about Noah, Blink, Miss Mittie, KT, and the rest? Oh, my! Some answers were in my head, but another book was not my plan.
- Once underway, I set out to craft a story with serious societal value - authentic, uplifting, and, hopefully, entertaining. In the process, I developed a strong personal attachment to my characters - the old, the new, the vile, and the inspiring. While that bond slowed writing substantially, I think (hope) my obsessive attention to these characters serves to enrich the story.
- Three Roads Out was written over a thirty month period during the first outbreak of Covid. No pandemic is mentioned, yet there are signs of impending danger.
- The roots of this story run wide and deep - culturally and geographically (see themes and settings, below).
- Readers are drawn to the love, thoughtfulness, and authentic charm that drive this tale. It feels so unifying, so transformational.
- The tale begins the spring after Along the Red Dirt Road seems to conclude. Elements of the Civil War, Great Depression, the Holocaust, WW2, the Vietnam era, and current times are all crucial to this story. Twists, turns, fear, hate, friendship, and revelation take center stage as Dr. KT Winslow, Larry Finler, the Wesslers, Emmaline Conrad, and others are barraged by unanticipated revelations and excruciating choices.
- Annie's unmarried granddaughter, Dr. KT Winslow, is the main protagonist. It's been over eighty years since KT's enigmatic grandmother left town. Did Hillview ever forgive what she had done? What followed that autumn afternoon by the old stone wall? Annie is gone and now it's all on KT. Can she turn the page on Hillview and chart a new course as Annie had so long ago? The saga ends just before the Covid pandemic strikes Hillview - or does it? So much has happened. How much has really changed?
- As with Along the Red Dirt Road, expect an uplifting story packed with suspense, surprises, and fascinating characters - plus an abundance of hints and sub-plots for readers with hungry imaginations. Three Roads Out is timely, topical, and authentic (culturally, historically, geographically, linguistically) - with a distinctive pay-it-forward flavor.
AND CHANGING TIMES.
The Hill story (African American) is, in part, this family's patient, deliberate pursuit of the American dream - from Civil War days, through the Great Depression, Jim Crow, WW2, and on to current times.
The Wessler story (Jewish) is a long and winding one that begins in Europe and comes to rest in small town U.S.A. How did the 'old guard respond? How long would it take? Is Hilllview different, or are there places just like this one tucked away in other parts of the country? Ultimately, the Hills, the Wessler's (and all others touched by Annie) showed, with clarity, the rewards derived from courage, precious friendship, and human decency.
Ninety years after Annie's arrival in the Shenandoah Valley, I think of all she left behind. I also think of us as we share space, time, and general circumstances. I worry about truth, about fairness, and about divisiveness by accident and by design. I also worry about the acceptance of human disunity. Are we living in a world of silos? Could there be alien forces at work? If so, who are they and what do they want?
With all their successes, failings, bonds, and differences, those who were touched by Annie managed to flourish from the seeds of understanding she left behind. Was it a clearer self-image, or a more reasoned way of seeing others, or perhaps a more informed way of viewing the world? Would they dare to believe we are "more alike, my friends, than we are unalike”? For Annie, KT, the Hills, the Wesslers, Larry, Emmaline, and numerous others in this tale, the resounding answer is 'yes'. With certainty, I can say that acting on this truth made all the difference.
Quotation above from 'Human Family', by Maya Angelou.
THEMES & TOPICS.
Alalia syllabaris (stammering). Anti-Semitism. Authenticity. Bullying. Bluegrass Music. Civil Rights. Civil War. Confederacy. Community. Corruption. Courage. D-Day. Decency. Diversity. Dust Bowl. Dutch Resistance. Elitism. Ethnicity. Fear. Feeblemindedness. Fraud. Friendship. Generosity. Genocide. Great Depression. Historical Preservation. Holocaust. Home Guard. Homicide. Honesty. Hope. Immunization. Inheritance. Interracial Friendship. Interracial Love Story. Jewish Immigration. Jim Crow. Joy. Justice. Isolation. Lost Cause. Materialism. Mortality. Mystery. Nazis. New South. Old Guard. Old South. Pearl Harbor. Peer Pressure. Perseverance. Personal Empowerment (especially women, teens, minorities). Political Corruption. POWs. Pregnancy. Public Health. Quakers. Race and Gender Equality. Rule of Law. Rural Medicine. Scandal. Secrecy. Segregation. Single Mothers. Slavery. Starvation. Social Empowerment. Sundown Town. Tragedy. Truth. Underground Railroad. Union Army. Upward Mobility. VE Day. Wellness. WW2.
MAIN SETTING: Shenandoah Valley Hillview (fictional town), historical society, public library, county courthouse, apple orchards, textile mills.
SECONDARY SETTINGS: Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical Institute for Negroes (Huntsville). Georgia Chickamauga, Spelman College. Hawaii Pearl Harbor. Kansas Medical Facility. Maine Medical School. Maryland Antietam, Gettysburg, Point Lookout Prison, Potomac River. North Carolina Asheville, Camp Lejeune, Chapel Hill (UNC), Raleigh (Briggs Hardware Company, Raleigh Times, The Sentinel), Rockingham County, Wilmington (Forest Hills, North Carolina Shipbuilding Company). Oklahoma Dust Bowl, Young family homeplace (fictional). Pennsylvania Gettysburg, Philadelphia. Tennessee Chickamauga, Shiloh. Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains, Cedar Creek (Belle Grove), Fisher's Ridge, New Market, Richmond, Rockfish Gap, Shenandoah National Park, Shenandoah Valley, Skyline Drive, Tom's Brook, Virginia Beach. Washington, DC Central Intelligence Agency, FBI. West Virginia Allegheny Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Potomac River, Shenandoah Valley, Schoolhouse Ridge. Asia Japan (Okinawa), Vietnam. Europe France, Germany (Adolph Hitler, Buchenwald, Gestapo), Netherlands (Amersfoort Concentration Camp, Amsterdam).
SELECTED GEOGRAPHIC, CULTURAL & HISTORICAL REFERENCES: African Violets, Automobiles (Honda Civic, Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes S-500 Sedan), Baptist Church, Bataan Death March, Bluegrass Music, Boot Camp, Boston, California, Canadian liberation, Civil Defense, Civile Rights, Colored People, Dutch Famine, East Village (NYC), England, FDR, Florida, Gentlemen's Club, German Blockade, Holocaust, Illinois, Invalid Corps, Ivy League, Kansas, Maine, Methodist Church, Mississippi, National Historical Register, Oil Royalties, Pro Basketball, Real Estate, Russia, Robert E. Lee, Scrap Metal Drive, Texas, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, U.S. Navy, War Widows, Whites Only, Wisconsin.
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Jane Yearout, author