Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Kathleen M. Rodgers - Johnnie Come Lately - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

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.

My Review

Why does a woman cheat on her husband?

There are so many reasons, you can probably write a book about it.

And Kathleen M. Rodgers did.

Johnnie Kitchen is good at keeping secrets until…

The following conversation happens with her seventeen-year-old son, Cade, who just put his baseball scholarship at risk by getting caught underage drinking.

He moans:

"I wish I were dead."

And she replies:

"I had an affair." 

She puts things sharply in perspective by basically admitting to her son that she's not perfect either.

And just like that, years and years of suppressed guilt come tumbling out.

However, Johnnie's revelation results in upending her entire family. Her husband, Dale, moves out. Her teenage daughter, Callie Ann, can't even look at her. Her eldest son, D.J., asks:

"Is Dad my real father?" 

But Johnnie's been frustrated for a long time. She's sick of doing housework. She wants to be useful for a change. She wants to a have a purpose. She realizes she never pushed her husband about pursuing the things she really wanted in life. She should have never dropped out of college. She should have never let him view her as one of his fixer-up projects.

Because Johnnie has some skeletons in her closet. She's a recovering bulimic and the tragic circumstances surrounding her birth—from her father's death to her mother's disappearance—all lead her to act out in ways that are destructive to her happiness. She admits:

"There's been a lot of information withheld from me all my life. Then I went and did the same thing to Dale."

Dale was the only one who cared about getting her better, putting her into therapy for her bulimia once they got married.

"She watched the life getting sucked out of the only person who had tried to save her." 

She cheated on him with his arch rival, Jeral Cagle, the son of his former employer. When Dale left and went off to start his own construction company, Jeral tried to put him out of business, but that didn't stop Johnnie from sleeping with him.

Johnnie says she only strayed because Dale was never home, he was always working, building her a beautiful life with his own two hands. He even asks her flat out:

"Where would you be without me?" 

In her defense, Johnnie responds:

"I wanted to be with someone who didn't know I was broken, who wouldn't try to fix me. I stashed [you] behind a closed door, same place I stashed God when I was retching."

She feels unworthy of her husband's goodness. He's an attractive man who women tend to notice, yet he was never unfaithful to her. He even gets out of his truck in the rain to help a senior citizen cross the street. He's that good.

"He'd been the strong sturdy trunk rooted to the spot. She'd been the swaying leaves, changing colors to fit her moods."

How they go about fixing their marriage is as real as it is honest. For months, Dale doesn't want to talk about it, and when he does, things get pretty intense. But they make the commitment to each other to work it out, trying to salvage what they have together. Their love has endured a lot, but can it endure the repercussions of her betrayal?


Johnnie Come Lately can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble

Special $2.99 ebook sale!
now through July 31, 2015

Formats/Prices: $4.95 ebook, $9.75 paperback
Genres: Military Family, Women's Fiction, Literary Fiction
Pages: 292
Release: February 1, 2015
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603812153
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

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 and 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.

Links to connect with Kathleen:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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  1. Dear Carol,

    Thank you for giving Johnnie such a close read. I'm honored by your thoughtful review on your beautiful blog.