Book Jacket

 

rank 1302
word count 61757
date submitted 21.11.2012
date updated 21.12.2013
genres: Fiction, Christian
classification: universal
complete

Tucker's Way

David Johnson

Can trust be forged from the ashes of betrayal?

 

After a childhood steeped in abuse and poverty, Tucker trusts no one. Having carefully crafted a life of isolation, she suddenly finds she needs help or risk losing the grandchildren she is raising.
Into Tucker's private life steps Ella, whose childhood was a life of privilege but her marriage was a private life of abuse. As Tucker's new neighbor, Ella's openness about her life crashes headlong into Tucker's closed-door attitude. Gradually, Tucker begins to rethink her view of the world.
It is Tucker's six-year-old, mute granddaughter, April, who becomes the fulcrum that pries open the vault on Tucker's heart and allows Ella to step inside.
Tucker's Way, a tale set in the rural south, is an inspirational story about overcoming incredible odds.

 
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tags

, child abuse, family, grace, grandmother, hope, murder mystery, overcoming your past, poverty, southern fiction

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54 comments

 

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Margaret Anthony wrote 385 days ago

You tell this story as if it were an axe with it's honed blade wrapped in felt! Does that make sense? Its gritty and raw theme is delivered in a way so that the impact of that blade is slightly cushioned, yet when you absorb what you have read the prose is both meaningful and pretty shocking - but then this sort story usually is. The lines are delivered in an almost matter of fact way and their content is all the more effective for it. This is clever writing and a book I would read to its end, never being quite sure what was coming next.
Your characters are very well crafted and in just a few words you deliver a perfect image of each. This is great cameo work as is the backdrop of rustic time and place. If I were to be super critical, I think some of Ella's back story would be better placed than in chpt.2, somehow it slightly dilutes the power of the opening to this book, but just my thoughts sent with respect. Starred and on my shelf. Margaret A Rush of Greed.

Jue Shaw wrote 396 days ago

David, this is just a wonderful look inside the lives of these two women and their lot. Tucker and Ella are great characters and you have brought them to life perfectly. I thought at first it was going to be a heartwarming tale of two very different womne and their unlikely friendship, but then I got to chapter three and realised there is so much more to it than that. I love some of your touches, such as the kids being named after months of the year, and then when Maisy first comes on scene you say 'even the sun rose to take a peek at her beauty' what fantastic imagery! I am on chapter 5 now and will read on. Even though this story is steeped in violence and abuse, I love that above all that it is about survival against the odds. I really am enjoying it and you should be very proud. 6 stars and will definitely back this at the month end.

ShirleyGrace wrote 478 days ago

David:
I just finished your book. I have been on this site for close to a year and it is one of the few I have read completely. It is a refreshing read, even with the blood and gore when Tucker has had enough of the abuse and cruelty. What a horrible life she has had yet she is finally able to trust and love another.( The children, Ella, and even Maisy) What a delightful character you have created in her. I was somewhat taken by surprise when she lit in so furiously on Judge Jack, yet it worked as the reader already knows she might be watching out for the only friend or one of three she has ever had in her life..I like your descriptions throughout the book and you never fail with them as the lamp, "causes the darkness to retreat and hide." What a hopeless struggle Tucker has had to even pull herself out of bed in the morning and yet she can love these children. It lets the reader believe there is still justice in a world where there seems at times to be none. The reader cheers for Ella and hopes for a good outcome with April. Ella is given another chance to be a parent. Your "country dialogue"is well done and a delight.
It is certainly a human interest story and beautifully told. This site has a lot of "end times" and "Vampire blood and gore." It is nice to read this and it is one of the best on the site. I wish you luck with it.
Sincerely
Shirley Grace
The Devil's Stepchild

Andrea Taylor wrote 476 days ago

This is such good characterization it took my breath away. Ons sentence at the start, about Tucker creating a world for herself because of being abused, seemed to appear as a throw-away remark yet it summed her up (and others who have been abused) with such accuracy it left me reeling.
This is seriously good. I will read more when time allows. For now I'd better clear a space on my WL and you'll be heading for my book shelf when I've fulfilled all my other obligations.
Andrea
The de Amerley Affair

Bill Carrigan wrote 451 days ago

David, after receiving your generous comments on "Call Home the Child" and realizing you had backed it as well, I read the first chapter of "Tucker's Way." And I was immensely impressed with your deft use of characterization to open the story. Tucker is complex--forceful, guarded, perceptive, compassionate, and fascinatingly regional. It all comes across in this brief opening sketch, and promises a thoughtful, intense psychological-social tale. I'll continue reading and get back to you soon. --Many thanks, Bill

katie78 wrote 63 days ago

your short pitch is a bit vague. the second sentence of your long pitch draws me in more.

"needs help or riskS losing"

overuse of the word "life"

pitches can be harder than writing the book. let me take a stab at it:

SHORT PITCH:
After a childhood steeped in abuse and poverty, Tucker trusts no one. Having carefully crafted a life of isolation, she suddenly finds she needs help or risk losing the grandchildren she is raising.

LONG PITCH:
Tucker's new neighbor CHALLENGES HER WORLD VIEW. Ella'S openness about her life crashes headlong into Tucker's closed-door attitude.
It is Tucker's six-year-old, mute granddaughter, April, who becomes the fulcrum that pries open the vault on Tucker's heart and allows Ella to step inside.
Tucker's Way, a tale set in the rural south, is an inspirational story about overcoming incredible odds.

juliaus wrote 111 days ago

WFCG Review of Tuckers Way by David Johnson
David,
Well done. You’ve done a heap of work and I was very impressed with the many improvements I noticed. Due to time pressures, I read it on my Kindle and didn’t comment on the document, and now with more time elapsed since I read it, my comments will be very general.
Short Pitch - I’ve decided that questions are fine in a short pitch, so I like this because it tells me it’s a story about learning to trust again.
Long Pitch - Overall, I think this is good, although the word ‘odds’ in the last line annoys me. In the first line, I’d place a full stop after poverty, then begin a new sentence with ‘She trusts…’ Removing the ‘therefore’ because it made me feel as if I was a kid who had to have her lack of trust explained to me.
Beginning - This didn’t pull me into the story like your earlier beginning did. In fact, I think it would have put me off reading further if I’d picked it up in a book shop. I looked at your earlier draft to check and realized that I don’t like this beginning because Tucker is immediately unlikeable, where as in the original draft, you give us the line about the buffer between her and the rest of the world which instantly pulled me in. It told me there had to be a reason she needed a buffer and so I was keen to read on to discover it.
Style - You have improved a lot of what I’ve read immensely. You are showing a lot more, and keeping the POV consistent most of the time in what I read, and I found it easy to understand what was going on.
However, you have a little overkill with the adjectives. Often one adjective is enough, but a few scattered double adjectives are fine as long as they add to the scene and don’t overburden the reader with irrelevant words. For example, in the first paragraph, I don’t need to know the hinges on Tucker’s screen door are spring-loaded. The excellent adjective there that takes us instantly into the picture, is ‘screaming’. To me, the sentence would have more impact if it was written as - The screaming hinges on Tucker's screen door announce to the world that she is coming outside. The same applies to her boots. I don’t know what ‘Red Wing’ workboots are, but heavy lace-up tells me heaps. I feel the same way about the Red Man chewing tobacco, plus that also puts two ‘Red’s in the first paragraph and I don’t think either of them add to the description. Are the boots and the tobacco actually red? I suspect not.
Also, metaphors are great when they work, but tend to pull you out of the story when they don’t. I don’t think her boots beating a steady bass drum works. In my mind I see animated workboots dancing around as we might in a Disney movie. Have her stomping, or tramping and it keeps us in the scene.
One other nitpick is your use of italics. If the POV is consistent, it follows that you are writing what is in that character’s head - her thoughts. So, why is there a need for italics? I often ask this question in my reviews, but never get an answer. Maybe there is a good one I need to know about.
Characters - You have an array of wonderful characters here, especially Tucker and Ella. In this version, I understand Ella’s isolation better, so you’ve obviously given us more background to explain that which is great, however, it still didn’t sit well with me when she accepted Tucker’s threat to ‘get Judge Jack with her axe handle. No matter how extreme Ella’s abuse was, I can’t imagine a woman raised in privilege would condone a threat as brutal as an axe attack, even if it was just with the handle. I think this scene would be improved if Ella recoiled or gasped in horror to begin with, then when Tucker responded in a confused way, Ella could appreciate the noble act.
I think you’ve also given the reader a better understanding of Maisy.
August is the sweet and caring big brother and April seems delightful, but I’m still not sure why March is such a problem child.
Dialogue - I have no trouble reading Tucker’s dialect.
Plot - It’s a character driven plot - my favourite. I want the underdog, Tucker to find some light in her life and befriend Ella, and I want April to talk. I want to read on and learn of their successes.
Strong Points - I think that if you remove a few of the excess adjectives, your scene setting is one of your strong points, but your characters also shine. I love the subtle way you show your characters, especially Ella - giving and then taking back and then giving the sack of turnips again, pulling her hand away - little things that tell the reader much. You also come up with some great metaphors and similes which make me green with envy! Overall, you have a compelling story that is well on the way to being polished. Keep it up.
Juli http://authonomy.com/books/52548/the-mother-in-me/

Su Dan wrote 116 days ago

good story, well written, and great cover...
HAPPY CHRISTMAS.
BACKED...
READ 'SEASONS'

Taylor Krumm wrote 160 days ago

David,
Hi. I promise to keep my comment short and sweet. I love this story. It's exciting and addicting. It's has to be one of the best books I have ever read. Keep up the good work!
Taylor Krumm

Cait wrote 306 days ago

TUCKER’S WAY: June 16, 2013

I enjoyed reading the first three chapters of this novel which has lots of potential. Tucker is quite rough around the edges and is a well drawn character. I don’t read pitches, so I didn’t expect what happened to her in chapter three.

Both Tucker and Elly are interesting characters and I want to know how things develop between them. You also have a good ear for dialogue and Tucker’s dialect rings true.

I’ve just had a chance to make a few suggestions on the first chapter, and on the beginning of chapter three, which you may, or may not agree with. For what they’re worth, here they are:

~ long vacant ~ needs a hyphen to make the sentence clearer. Wasn’t sure if it was a long house, as well as an empty one, or one which had been empty for a long time.

Opening her trunk, the lady~ Perhaps use ‘she’ instead as we know it’s the lady?

Marching to the door, boots thudding and her temperament bristling like a porcupine preparing for a confrontation, she jerks open the door. Not sure about the construction of this sentence. Seems to be a multi-tasker, as though she jerks the door open at the same time as she’s marching to it?

Try something like this: Boots thudding and her temperament bristling like a porcupine preparing for a confrontation, Tucker marches to the door and jerks it open?

The next morning... ~ Would Ella be so settled into the new place as to have the energy to bake a pie so soon? Maybe in a couple of days?

~Ella's face reddens. Balancing her pie in one hand, she reaches up and tugs at her wig. "I guess it's pretty obvious, isn't it? It's the one they gave me at the hospital while I was having chemotherapy."

Perhaps change one of these paragraphs so you don’t have two beginning so close with her name? Try:

Balancing her pie in one hand, Ella reaches up and tugs at her wig. "I guess it's pretty obvious, isn't it?” Her face reddens. “It's the one they gave me at the hospital while I was having chemotherapy."

~ Ella doesn’t shrink back like most people do when confronting Tucker for the first time. ~ I’m wondering if ‘confronting’ is the best word to use here? I don’t think it suits Ella’s personality. Maybe just, meeting/facing Tucker for the first time?

~ Her arm begins to fatigue…Not sure about the pov switch but if this is omniscient pov then I think it’s okay. Just jarred a bit when I first read it.

Tucker’s mongrel dog/ Tucker stares…

Again, two paras, one after the other, using the same name. How about: Jack, Tucker’s mongrel dog, ambles across, etc?

~ Soon the sound of her splitting wood at the wood pile can be heard. …'can be heard' sounds a bit weak. Also two ‘wood’ words close together.

- Soon, the sound of her splitting whole/cedar/fir logs at the wood pile fills the air? Or something similar?

Tucker (suddenly) comes in through the back door. “Keep yore hands off’n dat pie!”

“Keep yore hands off’n dat pie!” Tucker yells as she comes in through the back door.

~Tucker slowly turns and points to the toesack by the door. “I brung ya’ some turnips.”

“I brung ya’ some turnips.” Tucker slowly turns and points to the toesack by the door.
~
The only thing I didn’t like about the opening of chapter three was when I came to ~ Tucker awakes with a jerk.~ I would have preferred to know from the beginning of the chapter that it was a dream. Consider something like:

Even after all these years, sleep does not come easy to Tucker. After much twisting and turning she manages to fall into a slumber, but the images come alive in her nocturnal world. Rain stings her face as she looks away from her father’s eyes and up into the dark night sky, etc.

Or put the dream sequence in italics, or in past tense, so the reader doesn’t feel tricked? I had thought we were going back in time. If no one else had a problem with it, then it’s just me, so ignore what I say. :-]

But my heart went out to Tucker when she, as a child, told her mother about it. Sad to say, the mother’s reaction is one many girls faced.

Based on the first three chapters, I give this high stars and will add it to my waiting list for backing.

All the best,

Cáit ~ Keedy ~

Kevin Bergeron wrote 383 days ago

I'm five chapters into this. Your portrayal of Tucker makes her an appealing character in spite of her difficult nature and sometimes abusive behavior. Based upon my reading of your pitch, it seems to have the makings of a terrific story, and the first five chapters certainly didn't disappoint.

I generally don't like the use of present tense unless there's a very good reason for it, and so I would have preferred that the story be told in past tense. It isn't a huge issue with me, and when the story is good, I can get uses to the present tense, but it's definitely not my preference.

In Ch 5, "she gave special emphasis to the word 'gave,'" nobody said "gave." I think maybe you don't mean "gave," but "was."

The characters are as near as I can tell authentic and realistic, and your tone and treatment is sympathetic without being condescending. You don't gloss over the harsher aspects, and I think you've struck just the right note there.

It's on my watchlist for further reading.

Lauren Grey wrote 383 days ago

David, my return read

Please note I am the last person on this site qualified to comment on grammar, and punctuation so will comment from a reader’s perspective only.

I must say this is a wonderful story and find your MC to be a strong multi-layered character that is interesting and leaves me wanting to follow her more. How she begrudgingly returns a favour to Ella at the end of chapter one, gave me reason to feel that under her unpleasant exterior was a deeply wounded woman, who really wanted more from life than what she conveys to others and only uses her callous exterior shield to protect herself from being additionally hurt, a ‘get them before they get me’ attitude.

Ella’s arrival and the fact that they do share a common background in a history of abuse which was mentioned in chapter one and Ella’s narrative of her past marriage seems to be a strong catalyst to bring these two women together forming a strong bond for a friendship in the future.

I will be keeping this on my WL as I am interested in seeing the progression of these two deeply damaged women and how their developing friendship might bring either or both of them some happiness in their current lives or find closure to their past lives.

High stars

MC Storm wrote 384 days ago

I'Ve just finished 3 chapters. Your characters come to life as I read the story. Tucker, a woman filled with disdain towards the world and Ella a kind soul despite her past. The writer has definately put in a great deal of thought and emotion into his story. It just flows! I'm really enjoying this and will definately come back to read on!
For now I've given this 6 stars and added it to my WL in hopes of finding place on my shelf soon.
Regards
Mc
Exposefd

Sheena Macleod wrote 384 days ago

David, I started reading Tuckers way a few days ago and must have forgotten to leave comments ( I can't see them). I work from notes taken as I read -so sorry about this
What an unusual insight into the developing relationship between two very different women.Tucker and Ella. Very well written and a great read.
ch 1-2
The backdrop to Ella and her narsacisstic husband is summed up in the statement 'unfortunately. the whirwind evolved into a hurricane'- I like this. Letting her go when her 'imperfection' sets in (all true to life for many unsespecting people).

Now read through Chapter. 3 = So much information revealed in an effortless way. Tucker is complex and I sense a lot more is yet to come.

Nothing stopped the flow for me. The dialogue moved well. The story unfolds for bothof the key characters.

A pull to the next chapter at the end, with the arrival of her daughter. Ok you got me= very skillfully done

I will read and comment on more
High stars

Sheena
The Popish Plot




Janet/Helen wrote 384 days ago

Tucker's Way. Ch 6 to 23.

A powerful and emotive story told in the simplest of ways. It's sad but funny, shocking but wonderful, with a good ending for a change.
I've only one comment to offer and it's about chapter 11. I felt whilst reading that this was a very clinical report of events. I would suggest you need to draw the reader in more by reference to what Tucker is feeling - not just describing the actions she is taking. Is she feeling anger, horror - guilt - or has she disassociated from events - does she feel as though someone else is doing this? What she has been through and what she is doing now is the ultimate trauma and her emotions at this point - or the reason for the lack of them - need bringing to life for the reader. Hope this makes sense.
I think this is an excellent book which deserves a place on the ED. 6 stars and onto watchlist for backing in the near future. Janet

Janet/Helen
The Stranger In My Life

Margaret Anthony wrote 385 days ago

You tell this story as if it were an axe with it's honed blade wrapped in felt! Does that make sense? Its gritty and raw theme is delivered in a way so that the impact of that blade is slightly cushioned, yet when you absorb what you have read the prose is both meaningful and pretty shocking - but then this sort story usually is. The lines are delivered in an almost matter of fact way and their content is all the more effective for it. This is clever writing and a book I would read to its end, never being quite sure what was coming next.
Your characters are very well crafted and in just a few words you deliver a perfect image of each. This is great cameo work as is the backdrop of rustic time and place. If I were to be super critical, I think some of Ella's back story would be better placed than in chpt.2, somehow it slightly dilutes the power of the opening to this book, but just my thoughts sent with respect. Starred and on my shelf. Margaret A Rush of Greed.

Janet/Helen wrote 386 days ago

Tucker's Way. Ch 1 to 5.

This is, imho, very well written. The story is, up to chapter 5, deceptively simple, but the characters come alive as you read and the emotions portrayed are very real. I found it very easy to identify with Tucker. One or two very minor points of detail:

Chapter 1. In the paragraph where Tucker meets Ella, there is reference to 'this woman', 'this woman's hair' and 'the woman'. I found this grated on me for some reason and, since you have already introduced Ella's name, I see no reason to avoid using it here.

Chapter 4. 'The affects of the alcohol.........' [effects]

Chapter 5.

In the scene where April has wet herself you say 'August shifts his position to be between himself and Tucker......' I think it should read '.......to be between April and Tucker......'

In Tucker and Ella's exchange - 'She gave special emphasis to the word 'gave'. ' I think this should read '....emphasis to the word 'was'. '

These are minute details in an otherwise error free five chapters. I particularly liked Tucker's opinion that Maisy is going to try and populate all 12 months! I also have a suspicion that Cade's fathering of children with an unknown woman is going to play a part in this story as it unfolds.

I am going to read all the remaining chapters over this weekend. In the meantime, 6 stars for what I've read so far. Janet

Janet/Helen
The Stranger In My Life

Jue Shaw wrote 396 days ago

David, this is just a wonderful look inside the lives of these two women and their lot. Tucker and Ella are great characters and you have brought them to life perfectly. I thought at first it was going to be a heartwarming tale of two very different womne and their unlikely friendship, but then I got to chapter three and realised there is so much more to it than that. I love some of your touches, such as the kids being named after months of the year, and then when Maisy first comes on scene you say 'even the sun rose to take a peek at her beauty' what fantastic imagery! I am on chapter 5 now and will read on. Even though this story is steeped in violence and abuse, I love that above all that it is about survival against the odds. I really am enjoying it and you should be very proud. 6 stars and will definitely back this at the month end.

Kaychristina wrote 398 days ago

David, I think you've got quite a story here - more a story of what kindness and understanding, even if begrudging at first, can come out of two strangers, of what people are capable of inside despite themselves.

I am only up to ch.4 at the moment, and it's drawing me along, getting stronger by the minute. I have to say, though, that I think Ella's backstory in ch.2 might serve you better if drawn in a little later. I felt kind of taken out of the immediacy with Tucker before I've gotten to know her better. BUT, the last half of ch.2, ah, now we have some intrigue that's strangely more powerful than all the abuse Jack used on Ella - and by that I mean for this point of the story. Yes, the abuse is powerful on its own, awful, but I think just a little of that here would draw the reader in more, make them curious. Have that backstory either later or in pieces -- I think, anyway.

Ch.3 is shocking, and here's a *backstory* well done. Then we learn in a goodly fashion about the grandchildren, and we have the daughter Maisy to relish, or confront, next.

Good writing style, David. I have to say I normally hate present-tense with a passion, but now there's you, and you do it so well! And with a slice of hard, good and clean back-country life that's still part of American pioneering grit.

High stars, and a turn on my shelf a.s.a.p. with further reading for me to savor.

Kay
(The Fortune of Annacara)

Charles Knightley wrote 398 days ago

Tucker's Way
David Johnson

Initially I read chapters 1 -5. This is a brilliant moving story. Of course I had to read the last chapter and was pleased, I love happy endings!

The pace of the story is just right. Your writing is good and clear with great descriptions. I can see this reaching the editors. High stars from me.

The editing is good. I only have a couple of things to mention:

In chapter 3 you use "t.v.", most people nowadays seem to use "TV" which I prefer.

In chapter 5 you wrote, 'Unsure of Tucker’s intent, ... , “Judge Jack was my husband.” She gave special emphasis to the word “gave,” ...'
Surely you mean "was" not "gave"!

Charles Knightley
The Secret of Netley Abbey


Fontaine wrote 400 days ago

This is a charming book and I wish I had time to read more than the seven chapters I've devoured. Tucker is a wonderful character, larger than life and full of surprises. I very much like the contrast between the two women and will return to see what happens later on. Very well written in a deceptively simple style. I think the present tense works well. Thanks for a good read. Highly starred and on my WL. Fontaine.

Laurence Howard wrote 406 days ago

I've read the first three chapters and will return when I can. I was captivated. Tucker's Way is packed with earthy atmosphere, intrigue and strong characterisation. Tucker's tough stand coping with life and all it has thrown at her by way of insest and sexual abuse and managing the farm with three granchidren to look after; her new neighbour Ella, recovering from cancer treatment, fearlessly reaching out to Tucker knowing how hard hitting that stalwart character could be. I suspect that beneath Tucker's crusty exterior beats a heart of gold. I am hooked!
We are in the middle of decorating and will be off to Spain in a few days. Time is always short but especially at present. If I can't read more before I leave I will pick it up in a library close by.
Backed with pleasure. All the stars!
Very best wishes,
Laurence (The Cross of Goa)

Seringapatam wrote 412 days ago

David, I agree with the comments below. This is a really good read and I can only see good things for this book. You have an ability to engage the reader with a good narrative that flows so well. You know how to use the characters to the full that also assists in the pace of the read. There is a lot of good writing here that I believe will attract a lot of readers as it is a readers book. Well done and I will score high.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

K E Shaw wrote 413 days ago

This opening is jam-packed with vivid imagery and character - and you do it with what looks like effortless style - it's truly lovely. From the first sentence I could already see and feel the atmosphere, and Tucker's place within her world. It's one of those reads where you end up thinking "I wish I had written this". You've had some high praise already, and I can only second all of it. Any crit I have is only in the way of perhaps making what is already gold shine even more. You know I really do wish I could write like this - I absolutely loved the little moment between Tucker and the dog, Jack - and "sounding like the bag of bones that he is"....brilliant!

I've just realised something else - you've written this in present tense. Now that's something that would normally have me heading for the hills - but I barely even noticed! I think it's one of the hardest ways to approach writing a narrative, but you have pulled it off superbly.

Smallest things : - I'd leave out the 'chemotherapy' - you paint the images so acutely that as soon as you mentioned wig, I was "I Knew it!" (in a good way) so I think other readers will jumpt to the same conclusion, and Ella tugging awkwardly on the wig and Tucker's 'burlesque-show-peeping' moment will be even more powerful - and they are already very powerful indeed :)

The word thin comes up several times in reference to Ella - in the porch scene, she's a thin woman with a thin voice - maybe think about slipping in another word for one of them?
There is a slight waver of PoV in the mid-section, with a small switch to Ella, then back to Tucker again - it's not a big problem, you could maybe even expand it a little (and with a clearer break) so that we get just a tiny extra peak into Ella's mind.

By the end of this chapter I was left with questions about Tucker's grandchildren - wondering why a woman like this is their de facto mother - but I guess all will be answered as the story progresses. I really look forward to reading more, the characters alone have me hooked - and this is writing one can only learn from while enjoying the ride. I'll be coming back for more reading and to support very soon!
all the best,
Kim
The Seventh Gate

Jennwith2ns wrote 414 days ago

This is brilliantly conceived and described. The characters are completely recognisable without being even the slightest bit cliche--and it all has to do with wordcraft. Really really well-done. I've starred it highly and will keep it on my watchlist so I remember to back it when I've got a space on my shelf.

Carrie Barrie wrote 429 days ago

A truly engaging and charming opening chapter. =D I was immediately drawn to the MC, even with all her roughness. I also felt a connection with ella. It's masterfully written and very endearing. I know we don't have time to read books in their entirety on this site, but oh how I wish I had the time! I know if I was just a normal reader, I would definitely want to keep reading this story.

As for the reality, it's going on my WL right now and as soon as I have a spot open, onto my book shelf! I should have a spot open up in March.

The only two suggestions I have. There was a minor POV shift, when Ella leaves the porch. We are in Tucker's head, so her motivation for leaving should not be given. You can easily fix it by adding "as if weary from trying to engage...."

And secondly, it's hard to imagine no one EVER giving Tucker anything. I mean, wouldn't her grand kids at least draw pictures for her, or make art projects for her in school? At the very least, my kids always did like, Christmas and valentine projects at school to bring home to me. And even the worst of parents, I think, occasionally give their kids some little old thing. It's going to be very hard for readers to believe no one ever gave her anything at ALL.

Anyway, both are minor, but they did stick in my mind. Excellent writing, though, six stars! =D

Carrie Lange
Letting Go

Lana Ann wrote 442 days ago

I loved reading every word of Tucker's Way. You brought the characters into my life and I can't wait to read future books of what happening next to these people. Your characterization of each person is real or as we say in the South - "right on the spot."

Alice Barron wrote 450 days ago

Hi. I'm back! I did say I would come back. Sorry about the tardiness. I just love Tucker. She should be elected to be the mama of mama's. I know what she did was gruesome to her father but by golly did he deserve it. What a cruel creature. You portrayed all of that very well. what a very apt Christmas present for Tucker. Work gloves. I reckon she wouldn't be happy with anything else.

An accomplished read. Loved it. Well done.

Alice:)

Bill Carrigan wrote 451 days ago

David, after receiving your generous comments on "Call Home the Child" and realizing you had backed it as well, I read the first chapter of "Tucker's Way." And I was immensely impressed with your deft use of characterization to open the story. Tucker is complex--forceful, guarded, perceptive, compassionate, and fascinatingly regional. It all comes across in this brief opening sketch, and promises a thoughtful, intense psychological-social tale. I'll continue reading and get back to you soon. --Many thanks, Bill

djchorus wrote 463 days ago

Thanks for your feed back Joanna. I hope you do read the sequel and then give me feedback on it. My idea was to write a series of short books on Tucker's life. I've just finished the third and will be launching it next month. And I have a good idea started on what a fourth book would be about.
But your feedback about the length adds to the pause I've been having lately about the entire concept. Even though each subsequent book has been longer (the last one at about 50,000), I'm wondering if the three need to be combined into one book with three parts.

Hi David,
I have accidently spent my morning reading Tucker's Way. I had a lot of things to do, but I just couldn't stop myself from clicking on the following chapter. I am finding myself in difficulty with what I want to say. Firstly, you really are a master story teller. Tucker and Ella are two incredible characters and you have created the tenderness that grows between them with skill, emotion and humour. I was drawn into the sadness and horror that their lives had brought them and into the hope that was being offered to them.
However, and this is why I find myself in difficulty, at a certain point, starting at around the time of the storm, it felt as you started skipping ahead. As if you had left the tight weaving of the story behind, creating holes and questions in the mind of the reader. One example is when Maisy asks Tucker about April going to live with Ella.
Tucker's Way is too long to be a short story and not long enough to be a novel - yet it has all the makings of a novel, and a brilliant one at that. The first few chapters promised so much and as much as I enjoyed and relished your writing, I was left disappointed with the outcome (not the ending itself - it was perfect. But for me, it should have been about 50,000 words later).
Having said all this, I know how difficult it is to reach the point when you say, 'That's it. For me, my book is finished'. Going back is hard, if not impossible. And maybe you chose to present the story in this way for a specific reason.
I hope you realise that everything I have said is a compliment. I wanted more, and despite the above, I will be buying the sequel!
High stars and on my bookshelf.

Best wishes

Joanna

Aspiring author wrote 463 days ago

Hi David,
I have accidently spent my morning reading Tucker's Way. I had a lot of things to do, but I just couldn't stop myself from clicking on the following chapter. I am finding myself in difficulty with what I want to say. Firstly, you really are a master story teller. Tucker and Ella are two incredible characters and you have created the tenderness that grows between them with skill, emotion and humour. I was drawn into the sadness and horror that their lives had brought them and into the hope that was being offered to them.
However, and this is why I find myself in difficulty, at a certain point, starting at around the time of the storm, it felt as you started skipping ahead. As if you had left the tight weaving of the story behind, creating holes and questions in the mind of the reader. One example is when Maisy asks Tucker about April going to live with Ella.
Tucker's Way is too long to be a short story and not long enough to be a novel - yet it has all the makings of a novel, and a brilliant one at that. The first few chapters promised so much and as much as I enjoyed and relished your writing, I was left disappointed with the outcome (not the ending itself - it was perfect. But for me, it should have been about 50,000 words later).
Having said all this, I know how difficult it is to reach the point when you say, 'That's it. For me, my book is finished'. Going back is hard, if not impossible. And maybe you chose to present the story in this way for a specific reason.
I hope you realise that everything I have said is a compliment. I wanted more, and despite the above, I will be buying the sequel!
High stars and on my bookshelf.

Best wishes

Joanna

RMAWriteNow wrote 473 days ago

Hi David; I have just read your first five chapters.

This is a thought provoking read. We have two very different women, reacting to life in very different ways but both equally valid. Tucker is the physically strong one, dominant and imposing. Ella is more thoughtful and feminine.
There are some lovely moments of interaction between the two women. Also, a lot of well observed moments of life in general. One such was the passage regarding Ella's son, Cade. I think there are very few older readers on the site who will not know of such a character in the real world. His shaping through life by the hand of his father but ultimate breakdown at his mother's hospital bedside is particularly well done.
I thought the tie-in between Tucker and Ella's husband was well worked, too.

You have a very easy on the eye style of writing which I'm sure will appeal to all.

One spot for you. Chap 5, para beginning 'unsure of' I think it is 'was' not 'gave' that she emphasised. (hope I'm right and it helps.

High stars and thoroughly recommended
RMA
The Snow Lily

Cathy Hardy wrote 475 days ago

I love your pitch and will be putting your book on my watch list.

Cathy

Andrea Taylor wrote 476 days ago

This is such good characterization it took my breath away. Ons sentence at the start, about Tucker creating a world for herself because of being abused, seemed to appear as a throw-away remark yet it summed her up (and others who have been abused) with such accuracy it left me reeling.
This is seriously good. I will read more when time allows. For now I'd better clear a space on my WL and you'll be heading for my book shelf when I've fulfilled all my other obligations.
Andrea
The de Amerley Affair

ShirleyGrace wrote 478 days ago

David:
I just finished your book. I have been on this site for close to a year and it is one of the few I have read completely. It is a refreshing read, even with the blood and gore when Tucker has had enough of the abuse and cruelty. What a horrible life she has had yet she is finally able to trust and love another.( The children, Ella, and even Maisy) What a delightful character you have created in her. I was somewhat taken by surprise when she lit in so furiously on Judge Jack, yet it worked as the reader already knows she might be watching out for the only friend or one of three she has ever had in her life..I like your descriptions throughout the book and you never fail with them as the lamp, "causes the darkness to retreat and hide." What a hopeless struggle Tucker has had to even pull herself out of bed in the morning and yet she can love these children. It lets the reader believe there is still justice in a world where there seems at times to be none. The reader cheers for Ella and hopes for a good outcome with April. Ella is given another chance to be a parent. Your "country dialogue"is well done and a delight.
It is certainly a human interest story and beautifully told. This site has a lot of "end times" and "Vampire blood and gore." It is nice to read this and it is one of the best on the site. I wish you luck with it.
Sincerely
Shirley Grace
The Devil's Stepchild

ShirleyGrace wrote 478 days ago

David:
What a lovely story this is. I am in the process of reading it and it is my kind of read. Yes, I think it is a lovely story even with the abuse, poverty and deprivation. It restores faith in humanity so far and I am enjoying the read. High stars from me. I continue the read and on my W/L
Shirley grace
The Devil's Stepchild

TobyC wrote 479 days ago

Tucker's Way by David Johnson

The book cover is professionally done, correct? The pitch draws me into the book.

Ch. 1
Tucker sounds like a cantankerous antagonist, but what a loveable character. She comes to life the moment she spits tobacco juice. We can even hear her – a rarely used piece of character development. Bravo!

Tucker and Ella’s roles are clearly defined, both physically and emotionally. Ella’s strength of character matches Tucker’s body strength – skillfully crafted.

Things to consider before you reach the Ed’s Desk:
When describing Tucker, there are 5 sentences that begin with ‘Her’ in a row.

She has no need to ask for help from anyone, and she ‘sure as hell’ isn’t going to do anything for anyone else -> consider striking this sentence as you show us, effectively, as she watches her neighbor stumble. Then, extend this scene to nail Tucker’s indifference.

Tucker is suddenly embarrassed that she’s been caught staring -> consider ending this sentence here as the reader can assume the rest.
Ch. 2
While this chapter was a lot of telling, it was done with a voice that made it work. We get inside of Ella's head, which endears us to her. Ella's marriage lasted longer than anticipated, given the lack of anything real in their life, but it makes for a better story.

Ch. 3
The grandchildren don't seem to fit into the story as smoothly as Ella and Tucker. Maisy adds spice to this recipe. Naming her children after months, then coming home drunk. . .

The headlights zigzag across the road like the cane of a blind person -> effective and creative simile

Overall, this is a good story. Tucker and Ella are strong women, in their own right, but troubled by abusive men in their past. The two must reconcile their differences in order for this to work, but the gulf between them makes this ideal for plot twists and turns.

Best of luck with your novel.

Kenneth Edward Lim wrote 479 days ago

David,
As I got totally immersed in your book, I came to the realization that its powertful story was something that could not be contained for long, it simply had to be shared with others. Your use of the present tense helped with the realism, putting your reader in the here and now. Certainly the clear characterizations bringing to life Tucker, August, March, April, Maisy and Ella, were genius. The shocking revelations threatening to tear apart the fragile relationship holding this motley group together in desolate surroundings, were heart-rending. The dialogue encrusted with local vernacular, was true. Thank you so much for the captivating read.

Kenneth Edward Lim
The North Korean

Scott Butcher wrote 490 days ago

Hi David,

Had a read of the first couple of chapters of Tucker's way. I can see this is being built into a fairly potent story. Ella has certainly had a hard trot. Tucker too, but in other ways. One woman, who has been through a lot and come out with a fairly strong facade, but she still hides from the world. Another woman who is finding her strength as she battles cancer and finds her way past her marriage to a - oh, how would you describe him - well, basically, a jerk.

A few minor things:

CHp 1

"Probably never did a single day o' hard work in 'er life." I have to picture the person and the accent for this. I think she would say "Prob'ly ne'er done a single day o' hard work in er' 'ole life."

"Do it and die." might be "Do it, n die."

Chp 2

"Gripping the bag of turnups she pulls hard to lift it." You've changed tense from the previous paragraph, yet they're both set at the same moment. If you want to remain in the past tense then "Gripping the bag of turnups she pulled hard to lift it." Otherwise "Ella shakes her head..."

"...engaged in the past 10 months begins." could be "...engaged in for the past 10 months begins."

"From a place inside her that has become familiar..." awkward sentence. Needs help.

Tense change again for "...Ella grabs the sack with two hands...", might also better as "both hands".

In your long promo there's a typo at the end. "neglec" should be "neglect". There's also a stray space before a comma in the third line.

The end of chapter two made me laugh. Tucker hitting the husband seems like a good device to allow the two women to find mutual ground. Sounds like he deserved it too. High stars for now, I'll try and come back and have another read some time soon.

Best Regards Scott Butcher (The Merlin Falcon)

djchorus wrote 495 days ago

Alison -
Thank you for taking the time to read my book. Your suggestion is a good one. I don't know if other writers feel the same as me but I dread the "rewrite." After so many corrections and rewrites and sleeping (or not being able to sleep) with your book, it sometimes feels like "familiarity breeds contempt," if that makes any sense. But I'm becoming convinced that you are right about your suggestions as they've been made a couple of times. It could be that's why I've not yet found an editor who is interested in my book.
- David

I enjoyed this very much. Tucker is an incredibly strong character and you have described her well. Ella is another very strong charcter with a very interesting background. Just a couple of suggestions:
You tell the reader early on thet Tucker is abused by her father. Then later you actually describe the abuse as it happened. based on that well known edict 'show not tell', would it be better to cut the first mention of the abuse and let the reader see it for him/herself?
The same for Ella - her background is so dramatic that it deserves showing. Or perhaps this information about her could come out during conversations with others. It just slows the flow sightly when you have all the background info all together.
On the whole though, I think this has real potential. I will definitely read more.
Best
Alison

AlisonW wrote 495 days ago

I enjoyed this very much. Tucker is an incredibly strong character and you have described her well. Ella is another very strong charcter with a very interesting background. Just a couple of suggestions:
You tell the reader early on thet Tucker is abused by her father. Then later you actually describe the abuse as it happened. based on that well known edict 'show not tell', would it be better to cut the first mention of the abuse and let the reader see it for him/herself?
The same for Ella - her background is so dramatic that it deserves showing. Or perhaps this information about her could come out during conversations with others. It just slows the flow sightly when you have all the background info all together.
On the whole though, I think this has real potential. I will definitely read more.
Best
Alison

djchorus wrote 498 days ago

Thank you so much Kathleen for your encouraging review of my book. It's exciting to know that someone is enjoying something that I enjoy doing so much - writing stories!
One of my hopes with this book is that it will cause people to rethink their view of the poor among us.
The ending of the book? I already had that ending planned almost from the start of my writing the book. The challenge was to take my readers on a journey that would make the ending most meaningful. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

David this is a well written story. I found myself sad, happy, shocked and rejoicing. It's not easy to portray the horrific situations in which some unfortunate people are trapped. Your writing portrayed the pain and it will, bring people to a realization of some people's inner pain. My favorite part, I must say was the end when April sang the song at the Christmas celebration - a wonderful ending!
God bless you!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 499 days ago

David this is a well written story. I found myself sad, happy, shocked and rejoicing. It's not easy to portray the horrific situations in which some unfortunate people are trapped. Your writing portrayed the pain and it will, bring people to a realization of some people's inner pain. My favorite part, I must say was the end when April sang the song at the Christmas celebration - a wonderful ending!
God bless you!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"

djchorus wrote 499 days ago

It's very rewarding when someone finds that your words are able to take them on a journey with you through your book. The story is always very clear in my mind. I understand it perfectly. But when you have to find the proper words to convey the story to others, well, that's where the real work begins.
I'm thankful for your comments and the ranking of my book.
- David Johnson

Hello David,
I have read the first three chapters so far, It is very well written and easy to read. The story holds you through and the characters make you believe in them. Because i want to know what happens next, i'll be coming to ready some more later. High stars and on my W/L.
All the very best
Himani
She Was

himani rawat nayal wrote 499 days ago

Hello David,
I have read the first three chapters so far, It is very well written and easy to read. The story holds you through and the characters make you believe in them. Because i want to know what happens next, i'll be coming to ready some more later. High stars and on my W/L.
All the very best
Himani
She Was

djchorus wrote 500 days ago

Thank you so much, Melanie! I appreciate your positive comments on my book and I would be more than pleased for you to give further critique of the book.
One of my concerns was the ability of readers who are not from the South to be able to read with any fluidity the speech of Tucker herself. I think her language is very important, but I don't want it to slow the reader down so much that it discourages them from purchasing the book. Let me know what you think about that aspect.
I look forward to hearing from you.
- David

David.
I've just read the first four chapters. Great imagery. Your characterisation (of Tucker in particular) is first class. I'll go back and read more in the next few days and give you a more thorough critique then (if you would like?). In the meantime, I've put you on my bookshelf, well done.

Melanie Hudson wrote 500 days ago

David.
I've just read the first four chapters. Great imagery. Your characterisation (of Tucker in particular) is first class. I'll go back and read more in the next few days and give you a more thorough critique then (if you would like?). In the meantime, I've put you on my bookshelf, well done.

Patty Apostolides wrote 505 days ago

Tucker's Way -

I read the first two chapters and loved it! Two different characters coming from two different worlds meet. I loved the way Tucker reacted to the pie and how she showed up with the turnips. Very well done. The characters are believable and I felt slightly sorry for both of them as they try and survive a harsh world. I did not see anything to change or suggest since it was very well written.

I have placed on my WL to return later, and highly marked!

Best,
Patty
The Greek Maiden and the English Lord

Patty Apostolides wrote 505 days ago

Tucker's Way -

I read the first two chapters and loved it! Two different characters coming from two different worlds meet. I loved the way Tucker reacted to the pie and how she showed up with the turnips. Very well done. The characters are believable and I felt slightly sorry for both of them as they try and survive a harsh world. I did not see anything to change or suggest since it was very well written.

I have placed on my WL to return later, and highly marked!

Best,
Patty
The Greek Maiden and the English Lord

Alice Barron wrote 507 days ago

Hi David. I had come across Tucker's way previously and kept note to read it. The picture of the woman, Tucker, is exquisite. She looks strong and determined. Tucker and Ella, although poles apart do share a past where abusive behaviour dominated their lives. I haven't done your book justice yet David because I have only read two chapters for now. I have yet to find out why Tucker is raising her grandchildren.
The exchange of the apple pie and the turnips was done with skill.
The introduction alone is enough to tell me that I would buy this particular book.

Lovely to see your book doing well in the rank. I have also noted that you have another book on here. Well done. I would love to read that also.

Highly starred.
Alice.

Kate LaRue wrote 509 days ago

David,
You have a well-written start here. Tucker is an interesting character, as is Ella. They both have abusive histories to overcome, and these first two chapters give a glimpse of both of their pasts, while suggesting that maybe they can help each other come to terms with the hands they've been dealt. Surely as the book moves forward, these women will exchange more than just pie and turnips. High stars and best wishes.
Kate

djchorus wrote 510 days ago

Hi Karen,
Thank you for reading and commenting on "Tucker's Way." I look forward to making time to read some of your writing, too.
- David Johnson

Hi David, welcome to Authonomy! Tucker's Way was recommended to my by Kara (KMac23), and I'm very grateful to her -
I've read the first 2 chapters and will definitely be back for more. I love the introduction to Tucker and how you paint such a full picture of her so early on. I was trying to review, but could find no suggestions at all bar a typo in the pitch (a 't' missing off neglect) - very minor but all I could find!
Description - great.
Dialogue - great.
Pace - great
Characterisation - great
Emotive, poignant, shocking, interesting, excellent.

High stars from me, and I'm sure you will do very well with Tucker's Way,
Good luck!
Karen
An Ill Wind

djchorus wrote 510 days ago

Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough attention to my book. I will look into the items you mentioned.

Read through Chapter 3 and I like very much the concept of the story and the characters seem real, although their characterizations do not. I think that your writing is good but at times it sounds stiff. Perhaps try reading it out loud. I had a problem with plausibility in a couple of places.

You write that Tucker stood on her porch and watched Ella unpack and that Ella can see Tucker's house from her kitchen window, yet when Tucker left Ella's house, Ella waited until Tucker disappeared around "the turn in the road." If she lives around a turn how do they see each other from their houses? If someone bled "a small saucer" sized pool of blood from a hand wound, that would be pretty serious. Why is Ella taking a pie to Tucker's "neighborly" and Tucker bringing a bag of turnips a "hand-out?" Seems contradictory and quite uppity of Ella even though she has been treated quite badly.

I think that the whole chapter on Ella is too much. It really could be edited out and the things that you tell the reader could come out as she makes friends with Ella, maybe in conversation. You don't tell of Tucker in such detail and she is the main character of the book. And no judge would allow Ella to get a divorce without a lawyer. A judge would make her get a lawyer and she could have gotten a lawyer from another city or Legal Aid, they give lawyers for divorces for free. How does a father get a son to hate their mother enough that he doesn't tend to her when she's sick. That is something that needs to be explained. More plausible that the son helped her move out, got the house for her.

Tucker's "cat-like reflexes" where did that come from. If she had those kinds of reflexes she should have been able to get away from her father. Tucker tried to figure out what child was woke, seems to me, there are no clues to "figure out" that she would just "wonder" which child. The kids seemed to be afraid of Tucker, but it doesn't seem reasonable that they would fear eating the pie "checking to make sure the coast was clear" when there were three glasses of milk, three pieces of pie sat out. It must be for them. TV should be capitalized. "Jack was obsessed with the fact that she was carrying . . ." is it a "fact" that she was pregnant by someone else or was it "the idea" that she was. Fact means true.

I think that some editing is needed. But I also think that this could be a very good story. Put in more descriptions, and watch the adjectives you use - the car made her "snap" back.

Good start.

Abby

K A Perkins wrote 510 days ago

Hi David, welcome to Authonomy! Tucker's Way was recommended to my by Kara (KMac23), and I'm very grateful to her -
I've read the first 2 chapters and will definitely be back for more. I love the introduction to Tucker and how you paint such a full picture of her so early on. I was trying to review, but could find no suggestions at all bar a typo in the pitch (a 't' missing off neglect) - very minor but all I could find!
Description - great.
Dialogue - great.
Pace - great
Characterisation - great
Emotive, poignant, shocking, interesting, excellent.

High stars from me, and I'm sure you will do very well with Tucker's Way,
Good luck!
Karen
An Ill Wind

Abby Vandiver wrote 510 days ago

Read through Chapter 3 and I like very much the concept of the story and the characters seem real, although their characterizations do not. I think that your writing is good but at times it sounds stiff. Perhaps try reading it out loud. I had a problem with plausibility in a couple of places.

You write that Tucker stood on her porch and watched Ella unpack and that Ella can see Tucker's house from her kitchen window, yet when Tucker left Ella's house, Ella waited until Tucker disappeared around "the turn in the road." If she lives around a turn how do they see each other from their houses? If someone bled "a small saucer" sized pool of blood from a hand wound, that would be pretty serious. Why is Ella taking a pie to Tucker's "neighborly" and Tucker bringing a bag of turnips a "hand-out?" Seems contradictory and quite uppity of Ella even though she has been treated quite badly.

I think that the whole chapter on Ella is too much. It really could be edited out and the things that you tell the reader could come out as she makes friends with Ella, maybe in conversation. You don't tell of Tucker in such detail and she is the main character of the book. And no judge would allow Ella to get a divorce without a lawyer. A judge would make her get a lawyer and she could have gotten a lawyer from another city or Legal Aid, they give lawyers for divorces for free. How does a father get a son to hate their mother enough that he doesn't tend to her when she's sick. That is something that needs to be explained. More plausible that the son helped her move out, got the house for her.

Tucker's "cat-like reflexes" where did that come from. If she had those kinds of reflexes she should have been able to get away from her father. Tucker tried to figure out what child was woke, seems to me, there are no clues to "figure out" that she would just "wonder" which child. The kids seemed to be afraid of Tucker, but it doesn't seem reasonable that they would fear eating the pie "checking to make sure the coast was clear" when there were three glasses of milk, three pieces of pie sat out. It must be for them. TV should be capitalized. "Jack was obsessed with the fact that she was carrying . . ." is it a "fact" that she was pregnant by someone else or was it "the idea" that she was. Fact means true.

I think that some editing is needed. But I also think that this could be a very good story. Put in more descriptions, and watch the adjectives you use - the car made her "snap" back.

Good start.

Abby

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