Literary First Love – Donna VanLiere

Today’s post by New York Times Bestselling author Donna VanLiere | @DonnaVanLiere

Donna VanLiere

My love for books started on our family bookshelf. That’s right…shelf. Just one. It was part of the fireplace mantle and it held two sets of books: The World Book Encyclopedia and the Childcraft series, copyright 1960.   All I’d have to do is take the “A ” World Book to the pink carpeting (it was the 70’s) in the family room, open it to animals and take a ride on an elephant! I never knew you could actually ride an elephant and who knew there were three types of them? I thought, as I have Henry say in The Good Dream, that there was “only one flavor of elephant “.   While in the A book I read about Africa and even Asia, where over thirty years later my husband and I would visit on two separate occasions bringing home our daughters. Long before household computers and the internet, those World Book Encyclopedias brought the world to me on that patch of pink carpet in northeast Ohio.

While I adored the pictures of places and animals that I’d likely never see in my lifetime, my favorite book on that shelf was the #3 Childcraft book: Folk and Fairy Tales. My father worked second shift at a steel factory over thirty miles away so I’d start my evening by climbing into his side of the bed while my mother read to me The Little Red Hen, or The Shoemaker and His Elves, or Jack and the Beanstalk. When she’d get tired I’d take over and read The Steadfast Tin Soldier or Rapunzel to her. I’d look over minutes later and she’d be fast asleep and I’d think, “Why are you so tired? ” I’d read The Three Billy Goats Gruff or The Real Princess to myself and somehow magically wake up in my own bed every morning!

I loved that #3 book so much that at some point I wrote in black marker on the inside flap: Donna. Underline, underline.   Do not destroy in any way!! Thank you! My parents must have trembled at the thought of what I might do if they gave the books to Goodwill or to a family with young children because the set remained on that shelf until a few years ago when my mother opened #3 and said, “Here. It’s time that you take them. ”   Time and again I reach for #3 and read The Emperor’s New Clothes or Goldilocks and the Three Bears or The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse to my three children.   Yes, they’ve heard them dozens of times but the door to childhood is open only for a brief time and I can’t imagine any childhood without the classic fairy tales.   Years later, maybe long after I’m gone, something will rise up out of the dimness of my children’s days, maybe a voice on the playground or a picture at the bottom of a shoebox or a video of a long-forgotten birthday party that will make their heart ache a little and their eyes to mist over and they’ll long to open that doorway once again.   No matter how old they get they’ll never outgrow the child within and they’ll remember, though briefly, our time together gathered on the bed each night, reading one story after another.

When I started writing novels I wanted to write books that I would want to read. When I had children I changed that motto to writing books that someday they would be proud to read. In the same way, I read books to them that I would have wanted read to me and that will always include Childcraft #3, a book that I carried with me through my own doorway.

Today we’re giving away a copy of Donna VanLiere’s latest novel THE GOOD DREAM. Just leave a comment on this post if you’d like to be entered to win.

From The New York Times bestselling author comes a poignant, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting novel about an unlikely path to motherhood, and of two lost souls healing each other

1950 Tennessee, a time and place that straddles the past and present. Ivorie Walker is considered an old maid by the town (though she’s only in her early thirties) and she takes that label with good humor and a grain of salt. Ever since her parents passed away, she has hidden her loneliness behind a fierce independence and a claim of not needing anyone. But her mother’s death hit her harder than anyone suspects and Ivorie wonders if she will be alone forever.

When she realizes that someone has been stealing vegetables from her garden—a feral, dirty-faced boy who disappears into the hills—something about him haunts Ivorie. She can’t imagine what would make him desperate enough to steal and eat from her garden. But what she truly can’t imagine is what the boy faces, each day and night, in the filthy lean-to hut miles up in the hills. Who is he? How did he come to live in the hills? Where did he come from? And, more importantly, can she save him? As Ivorie steps out of her comfort zone to uncover the answers, she unleashes a firestorm in the town—a community that would rather let secrets stay secret. The Good Dream  is  Donna VanLiere is at her absolute best.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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25 Responses to Literary First Love – Donna VanLiere

  1. Jayne D. October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a wonderful story. I would love to have the chance to read this book.
    Thanks

  2. marge michulsky October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Gosh, this sounds like another good one. I’d love to read it.

  3. Gwyn October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I enjoy reading her books and it sounds like this is another great one. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

  4. Gean October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I was the first one to read this book from our library – would love to win my own copy!

  5. lisa evola October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    It sounds like a wonderful read. I too was mesmerized by books as a child and can totally relate to the world that they send you to. I would love to win this book!! Thank you for the opportunity! Lisa

  6. Verla Powers October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    It sounds as though Donna’s parents cared a lot about literacy. A big investment, but worth every penny!

  7. Susan C. October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    My BFF lives in Tennessee and I have been visiting there since 1963. Her mom had the most astonishing garden and would tend it with loving care. This book sounds like it’s for me!

  8. Carol Wong October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Because the person was stealing from the garden, I think he must be desparate for food. It would be a strange experience to meet a wild child. I am very interested in this book. Thank you for this giveaway.

  9. Polly Schneider October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Yes this does sound like a must read. I have not read any of her books so this would be a great opportunity to read my first one. Thanks for sharing this book.

  10. Cindy J October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Wow, just reading about her describing the World Books and reading the stories from them is bringing back memories for me. My sister and I used to look up the different states and read out loud each different motto, flower, bird, etc., for each state. Then we would quiz each other – what nerds! Great memories, though. I can’t wait to read this book!

  11. Norma Beishir October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I remember some of those–I loved The Little Red Hen. But my all-time favorite is Charlotte’s Web!

  12. Carl October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Great post. So many of us have similar stories, it’s nice to be reminded of them. Thanks for the giveaway of this intriguing sounding story, and what a great cover too. Please enter my name in the draw.

  13. Paula Dolin October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds great and I love the cover!

  14. rhonda October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    sounds like a wonderful book.

  15. Katherine Jones October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Haven’t read any of Donna Vanliere’s work, would love to start with this one.

  16. Linda October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Oh, I remember our Childcraft books that went with our World Books!!!. Ours were dog eared and well read. I would love to read your book!

  17. catkay October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    A book about stepping out of a comfort zone resonates with my life right now. I would very much like to read this story.

  18. Susan G. October 8, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Another great read I am sure of it! What I also liked about Donna is her statement, that she wanted to write books that she would like to read…but more importantly that her children would be ‘proud’ to read. That is so important in this ‘day and age’. I just finished a book last night, from my favorite author, of which, I have bought and read all his books. Only one thing…this book shouldn’t have been written…at least not in the way he wrote it, with all the ‘stuff’, that left me feeling, not so good inside….He’s not my favorite author anymore…

  19. Amy Bromberg October 8, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like a beautiful story and I really enjoyed her post here.

  20. Belle October 9, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This sounds like just my kind of read.

  21. karenk October 9, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    thanks for the chance to read this fabulous story

  22. Pam October 9, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I did the same thing as a kid with my Childcraft books. I also love the one with all the crafts!

  23. Anita October 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Before Google and all the other search engines, our first place to find and answer was the World Book Encyclopedia, and we had a lovely set on our shelves at home. Great memories, thank you. I’d love to win a copy of your book!!

  24. cammih October 10, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Loved reliving the 70’s with you! :) Sometimes wish it were that way again .. slower pace.. less choices .. But better hair now. :) Would love to win the book! Thanks!!

  25. Robin October 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I still have the Childcraft Books….bindings a bit rough on some of them but I too loved to read all the fairytales in those books. Sadly, I had the same World Books but donated them to a library a number of years ago. I don’t think kids today realize what their missing in actually having to research and utilize the printed word as we did. Everything seems to be based on a Google search these days. Not only is my passion in reading and writing – but I love the smell of books; I know it sounds weird…but it would be even more weird if I tried to sniff a computer, Kindle or Nook screen!!!

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