Review of Gone To Texas

About this Book:

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Can beauty truly come from ashes?

 Gone to Texas cover by Caryl McAdoo, first in the Cross Timbers Romances Family Saga series.

Gone to Texas cover by Caryl McAdoo, first in the Cross Timbers Romances Family Saga series.

Deception drives seventeen souls to hard choices. Either stay on the land they thought they’d bought or heed the lure of free land in the faraway wilderness of a new Republic. Rife with peril and hardship, three families knit together by blood and friendship head out with a widowed man, daughter, and his slave, gambling everything they own on the prospect of land ownership and working it together. Does friendship pave a way to marriage? Can puppy-love survive through a harrowing journey to blossom into a forever lover? With duress at every turn, can the clan stay together all the way to Texas and accomplish their goals?

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About the Author

Top priority is God’s glory, and that’s exactly what Caryl McAdoo prays her stories will bring. To entertain and draw readers into a closer walk with Him is next. A quick check of stars and reviews attest to the success of this award-winning, best-selling author—all by the Father’s faithfulness. Besides writing, she loves singing praises, including the new songs He gives her! Visit her YouTube channel. Ron, her high school sweetheart husband won her heart fifty-two years ago, and they share four children and seventeen grandsugars. Ron and Caryl live on thirty-four acres ‘The Peaceable’ in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas and wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

Guest Post from Caryl

As much as I hated leaving the Buckmeyers, Baylors, and Nightingales and the Red River Valley, I loved starting this fresh Family Saga series with all new characters! GONE TO TEXAS is Book One of the Cross Timber Romances and features three families—the O’Neals, Van Zandts, and Worleys—joined by blood and friendship through Liberty O’Neal. Laud Worley is her little brother and Mallory Van Zandt, her best friend since school days.

Together, they’d traveled south to settle in Tennessee and were about to harvest their first cotton crop that fall in 1840 when they discovered the deed to their land—the land they’d spent all their pooled savings on—was forged and no-good.

The legal owner graciously allows them to stay through harvest, taking his portion of their labor and cottonseed. At the gin, Seve Van Zandt hears rumors of Texas, a new Republic out west, offering free land to pioneers willing to tame its wildlands. This first storybook one—is all about their journey to the new country filled with hope and dreams.

A hired widower who with his daughter and slave helped harvest the clan’s cotton asked to join them on their journey, and so, on that fateful September morn, seventeen souls set out after they hung a hand-painted sign on one of the cabins they left behind. “Gone to Texas”!

Another very special thing about this novel, one hundred twelve thousand words—about three hundred fifty pages, is that it is also Book One in a brand new collection! The Thanksgiving Books and Blessings Collection that includes stories from eight other authors besides me: Lena Nelson Dooly, Heather Blanton, Kristin Holt, Kit Morgan, Suzette Williams, Pauline Creeden, George McVey, and Lynette Sowell!

All nine books will have Thanksgiving Dinner with family around the table, giving thanks to God for all his blessings. I’ve noticed many series launched in December, but Thanksgiving is my favorite. I love giving thanks to the Lord!

And as always, I pray my story gives God glory, and that its readers will be drawn closer to Him through it. He blesses and highly favors me daily. I cannot thank or praise Him enough!

Thank you, too, for reading my stories, reviewing my stories, and participating in the most AWESOME CELEBRATE LIT‘s Blog Tour!!

Gone to Texas blog tour

Blog Stops:

Be sure to check out each stop for an extra entry into the awesome Giveaways below!

A Baker’s Perspective, September 11

Captive Dreams Window, September 12

proud to be an autism mom, September 12

Inklings and notions, September 13

Luv’N Lambert Life, September 13

cherylbbookblog, September 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15

Janices book reviews, September 16

Abba’s prayer warrior princess, September 17

Carpe Diem, September 17

Creating Romance, September 18

Madeline Clark, September 18

Margaret Kazmierczak, September 19

The Mimosa Blossom, September 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 20

Back Porch Reads, September 21

Bibliophile Reviews, September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 23

Godly Book Reviews, September 24

Bigreadersite, September 24

Giveaway:

To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away lots of awesome prizes!!

GRAND PRIZE: $50 Amazon Gift Card

1st Prize: THREE Choice-of-Caryl’s Titles (print–US only or eBook)

2nd-4th: ebook of JOHN DAVID’S CALLING

5th-7th: print copy VOW UNBROKEN

8th-10th: $5 Amazon gift cards!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops to earn nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d1a6/gone-to-texas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Lila's Opinions:

Setting:

The first chapter or two was confusing to me. I had trouble getting into the story at first, because the setting was not clear to me. The whole point is that the clan of three families heads to Texas after being cotton farmers in Tennessee cheated out of their land. It took me more than half the book to figure out that Charlotte (the closest town to their farm) was in Tennessee, not North Carolina. The time is 1840, before the Civil War, and apparently at this time, Texas was still its own Republic.

Characters:

However, I eventually came to care for several of these characters. And as you may know, characters are the most important aspect of a story for me.

Alicia is the main character, a 17-year-old girl in love with Flynn. The possible romance, how she keeps fantasizing about getting married, is what kept my interest at first. Then about halfway through the story, the main character changes to Liberty, Alicia's mother-in-law.

I had trouble keeping all the supporting characters straight, as there are a ton of family members both in Alicia's family and Flynn's family, plus another family in the clan, to get to know; and figuring out which person belonged to which family was confusing. I felt overwhelmed with names beginning at the very first chapter. Thankfully, the author included a list of characters and how they’re related at the beginning of the book. Unfortunately, it’s very inconvenient to flip back and forth to it in an ebook.

Quality of Writing:

It is written almost entirely in first-person perspective, which I love, but it doesn’t stay with Alicia’s perspective.

The perspective shifts to Liberty once she starts journaling about their wagon trip. The perspective continues to shift back and forth between Alicia and Liberty, with Flynn's and Corbin's perspectives thrown in from time to time. This was confusing, especially as it wasn’t confined to chapters but would switch mid-chapter.

There were a few confusing things, terms and phrases thrown in to sound authentic, but they weren’t clear. What in the world does “druthers” mean? Did they really use the word “awesome” back then? And did we really need to know what the treatment for hemorrhoids was?

I did enjoy the humor, especially in the banter between Alicia and Flynn near the beginning of the book. I enjoyed the Old West style of non-educated dialogue. I just didn't want that in the narration, too. Neither did I enjoy head-hopping. I was amazed at how long it took me to read this; it was much longer than I expected. I think this should have been shortened into two separate books, one from Alicia's perspective and one from Liberty's.

Spiritual Truths:

Obviously the main trip is the physical moving to Texas, but several characters also take spiritual journeys. Several secrets are also revealed, and several characters need to journey through the process of forgiveness or grief. There were many Bible verses and prayers and personal relationships with the Lord, which I greatly appreciated.

The strong faith thread was very enjoyable.

Slavery, purity, and alcohol are three big issues dealt with in this book. Though I was not pleased to hear how many of the main characters were guilty of sexual impurity, I was pleased with the sensitivity to the slavery issue.

Series Notes:

I thought that the decision to introduce the whole clan and from so many different perspectives was made because it was the start of a new series, the Thanksgiving Blessings series. But none of the descriptions for the other books at the back of this book contain any of these characters. They all introduce other characters.

I hope the Cross Timber series picks up from where this left off with these characters (not starting with future generations), or I will be very disappointed. That’s the mark of good characterization. ;)

(I received this book for free from CelebrateLit. The decision to write a review, as well as the opinions expressed in it, are all my own. I was not compensated for this review.)