Allison's Book Bag

Posts Tagged ‘Beverly Stowe McClure

Eden’s mom has never had a good word to say about Eden, but Eden’s zero self-esteem is about to change thanks to three guys who enter her life. Under a Purple Moon by Beverly Stowe McClure is an entertaining clean romance. The novel also tackles the social issue of abuse in both forms: physical and emotional. Despite some flaws, Under a Purple Moon is a sweet summer read.

The plot has some original and intriguing aspects. Having four troubled teens all drawn to a house that seems lonely makes for an appealing setting. In addition, I appreciated how each of the teens teach each other something about friendship and then all in turn draw on their newfound strength to stand up to their parents. Unfortunately, the plot also had several predictable moments. As soon as Eden’s heart began to flutter for Tyler, I knew that the faithful Murphy would lose out to the athletic stud. I also immediately knew that when Tyler acted jealous of Josh, a love triangle would form. I might be in the minority, but I still prefer that romances about the average girl and the average guy who stumble about trying to find their way through the sometimes awkward road of romance.

What helps bolster the plot are the sympathetic and endearing main characters. The first two to start hanging out together are Eden and Murphy. Murphy seems to have a found a good home with his grandparents, but his parents have long been out of the picture. At the start of a new school year, Murphy invites Tyler to The Old House. Tyler is a handsome and talented football player who should on all accounts be living the American dream, but the problem is his parents are attempting to mold him into the image of the son whom they lost in an accident. Because of his dysfunctional family life, Tyler is searching for a girl who is kind or in other words a girl like Eden. Finally, there’s Josh, who just shows up one day at The Old House. Of the four troubled teens, he’s the one who sports the physical bruises.

I enjoyed reading about the bond between the four, which develops as they practice together at The Old House for a school play. Having Murphy help initially Tyler to know what to say around Eden added some humor and poignancy. However, I found some of the minor characters stereotyped. It should surprise no one that the popular girls at Eden’s school are your cliché blondes who naturally belittle Eden whenever opportunity rises. In addition, Eden’s dad is the typical father who can’t handle his wife’s mood swings and so deserts the family.

The character portrayal that most frustrated me is the mom. Eden is continually encouraged to give her mom a chance; she’s had a rough life. But we’re never really told what that rough life is. When her mom’s behavior becomes more erratic, one day painting rainbows on the house walls and another day slapping Eden for turning off the television, I keep expecting to learn she has a mental illness. Instead it’s eventually revealed she’s been cheating on her husband. The mom doesn’t make any sense to me.

Spring is here. The sun is out. It’s a perfect time for curling up with a light read. Novels are enriched when a little social commentary is sprinkled in. Under a Purple Moon by Beverly Stowe McClure should satisfactorily entertain females of all ages who are looking for an innocent summer romance.

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

BeverlyMcClureThe biography of Beverly Stowe McClure isn’t the typical one for an author. When she was a kid, she didn’t like to read or to read. Instead she loved music. She played clarinet in the junior high and high school bands. She was a majorette. To this day, she still plays the piano to relax.

After high school, McClure married and had children. She also attended Midwestern State University, where she graduated with a teaching certificate. For twenty-two years, she taught young people to read and write.

Somewhere during that time, McClure started to enjoy being a reader and a writer. Maybe it was all that reading to her students. Or perhaps it was introducing Dr. Seuss to her sons that turned her world around. At any rate, she sent an article on fire safety into a magazine, it got published, and the rest is history. Now she reads and writes constantly and loves it.

Today McClure lives in the country with her family, which includes two cats, and a variety of wild critters that stop by for a handout. She also likes to research her family roots, go for walks and snap pictures, and teach a women’s Sunday school class.

I asked McClure some questions about her passions, as well as inquired about her latest novel, in my below interview. Tomorrow I’ll review Under a Purple Moon. Save the date: May 19!

ALLISON: You could have picked so many passions to pursue: animals, music, or photography. Why did you become a writer?

BEVERLY: Actually, I’m surprised I became a writer. I love animals, music and photography. I read very little and my writing consisted mostly of letters to friends. Becoming a writer sort of snuck up on me. The great thing about writing stories is I can write about animals, music, and photography, and satisfy those desires. Why? At a certain point in my life, I discovered what I’d been missing, in a place where I least expected it: the classroom where I taught fifth grade.

ALLISON: How much were animals part of your childhood?

BEVERLY: When I was a child we always had a dog. The first one I remember, but not too well, was a black cocker spaniel named Shadow. There were other dogs along the way that I don’t recall. A dog, mixed breed, not sure of what, named Teddy was my sister’s and my pet when I got married. He was a wanderer, but always came home.

Then there were the cats. Wild ones that just showed up in the yard. We fed them scraps and they lived outside. My parents did not take the cats to the vet, the way I do today. I don’t think they realized the animals needed shots and/or sometimes were sick. Or maybe in those days people didn’t take their pets to the vet. My sister was more into the pets than I was. Now, I’m a pet lover too.

ALLISON: What is your most memorable experience with music?

BEVERLY: Ha, ha, a couple of experiences came right to my mind.  We’ll go with the serious one. My mother played the piano when she was a child, and she wanted me to play too. So, for five or six years, I took piano lessons, performed at recitals and practiced a lot. I also played a clarinet in the band. In high school, we participated in UIL contests with other school districts. The students played their instruments, and I accompanied many of them on the piano. I enjoyed the competition and even won a medal or two.

ALLISON: Share a favorite photograph. Tell how it came about.

BeverlyMcClure_TigerBEVERLY: This is Tiger, one of my cats. He loves my son and one time he was outside when Scott was mowing. The minute the mower was left vacant, Tiger climbed onto the seat and looked at me, as if to say, “Okay, take my picture.” So I did.

ALLISON: What is the most intriguing part of your family history that you’ve discovered and can share?

BEVERLY: My mother was an Orphan Train Rider. When her mother died, Leona was around 7 or 8, and her father surrendered my mother and one sister to the Children’s Aid Society in 1921. In 1922, she rode the train from New York to Texas to begin her new life with a foster family. My historical fiction book about her journey is due out any day now. A Family for Leona.

ALLISON: What advice or support would you provide to a young person who experiences neglect and/or abuse?

BEVERLY: I would advise them to get help. School counselors can point them in the right direction. Friends and organizations that deal with child abuse can help. Chances are it will just get worse, if they don’t find a way out.

ALLISON: Under a Purple Moon is about finding real love. When did you understand what love really is?

BEVERLY: I’d always said, “I love you,” to family, friends, and students. The word “love” is used in many ways. I began to understand what love really is, when my first baby passed away. The love I had for my firstborn, even before I saw him, went beyond the casual use of the word. Love is an emotion that I can’t really explain. I just felt complete and knew I’d do anything for that precious baby. I loved each of my children. Love, to me, means giving, without expecting anything in return. Doing for someone, regardless of the results. For God so loved the world…. Thank you for a great interview and for your time.

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