The only thing certain is change—even in a place as steady as Perry, Alabama, on a street as old as Glory Road.
Nearly a decade after her husband’s affair drove her back home to South Alabama, Jessie McBride has the stable life she wants—operating her garden shop, Twig, next door to her house on Glory Road, and keeping up with her teenage daughter and spunky mother. But the unexpected arrival of two men makes Jessie question whether she’s really happy with the status quo. When handsome, wealthy businessman Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter’s lavish wedding, Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. Then Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school, moves back to the red dirt road, and she feels her heart pulled in directions she never expected.
Meanwhile, Jessie’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and navigating a new world of emotions—particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who’s moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie’s mother, Gus, is suffering increasingly frequent memory lapses and faces a frightening, uncertain future. Once again, Jessie feels her protected and predictable life shifting.
In one summer, everything will change. But for these three strong Southern women, the roots they’ve planted on Glory Road will give life to the adventures waiting just around the curve.
Glory Road is the story of three women. Jessie has moved back to her hometown in South Alabama, and is back living on the road where she grew up. She has a small gardening business, and two unexpected men who intrigue her -- Ben, her high school sweetheart, and Sumner, who has hired her to do flowers for his daughter's wedding. Jessie's daughter, Evan, is 14 years old and has a new interest in Ben's son Nick. Meanwhile, Jessie's mother, Gus, is starting to show signs of forgetfulness. Everything is changing for these women - three generations of one family.
This is my third read by Lauren K. Denton. I loved her previous books, The Hideaway and Hurricane Summer. I am from the deep south, Georgia born and raised, and I cannot think of another current writer who captures small town southern life quite as perfectly as Ms. Denton. From the sound of peas being shelled into an aluminum tub, to a screen door closing, wisteria growing in profusion, and an old rocking chair with peeling paint on a front porch -- it is all here.
I really loved Glory Road. I loved the sense of place, the feeling of summer (the book takes place over the course of a summer), and especially the characters. Jessie is a warm, likable, relatable character. She wants something new in her life, but she's not quite sure what (or who!). She wants to protect her daughter and her mother but everything is changing.
The storytelling is just perfection. For instance, Gus is described succinctly: "My mother had obsessions, but at least they were harmless - potted succulents, Johnny Cash, and peach cobbler" (p. 2).
The book is told from the viewpoint of Jessie (most chapters), Evan, and Gus. The author does a fine job of developing and delineating characters. The sense of southern voice is strong in this novel; it would adapt well to a movie or short-run TV series.
I recommend Glory Road as a summer read. Fans of southern fiction will especially enjoy this book! Five stars from me.
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. Her debut novel, THE HIDEAWAY, was a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, HURRICANE SEASON, released in spring of 2018, is a USA Today bestseller. GLORY ROAD will release in March, 2019.