Title: So Wonderful as Want
Author: Joyce DeBacco
This book was hard to review without including spoilers, so here it is, and no, there are no spoilers.
The story begins in 1911, in Caloosa, Florida, and takes place over 20 years.
Sitting on the pier with her cousin Virginia, watching the storm clouds gather, Dinah dreams of getting out. She wants to marry a gentleman and move into town. Anything is better than living out here in the back of beyond. The skies open up and they make a dash for shelter, joined by a young man who follows them out of the rain. Virginia is smitten with Zach, the handsome blue-eyed river rat, while Dinah gives him the cold shoulder.
I fell in love with Joyce’s writing. It is so descriptive. Here is a little taste.
The brief afternoon storm drifted out to the Gulf, and the sun returned to glorify the earth. Hissing and steaming, the thirsty soil drank greedily of the life-giving moisture, while the air, a heady combination of sun-baked earth and wildflowers, packed a one-two punch to anyone who dared take its lushness for granted.
Back to the story. Zach is just passing through but events occur that keep him in Caloosa. As he is heading out of town he hears shouting on the river and discovers two men and a young boy in danger of drowning. he manages to get all three to dry land, but only one survives. The two victims are Dinah’s father and younger brother,the survivor is her uncle.
Having lost her mother at an early age, Dinah is now alone. With nothing to keep her there, she decides to head out with Zach, but her Aunt Clara has other plans and convinces her to stay.
Zach decides to settle in Caloosa and moves into Dinah’s spare room in exchange for helping with repairs and such. He tries his hand at several jobs but nothing fits and he decides to look up an old aquaintance for help in getting into college. He is accepted into college and so begins his journey.
Meanwhile, back in Caloosa, a tinker comes calling on Dinah and he is selling more than his wares.
Months later Zach returns to discover Dinah is pregnant and her Aunt Clara believes he is the father. This is where the saga really takes off.
I felt many things for Dinah. She never holds back and gives as good as she gets. As Zach puts it, “That girl can flatten a man’s ego faster than a ton of bricks.” At times I wanted to hate her and other times I wanted to shake her and slap some sense into her.
Zach made me laugh. The back and forth between him and Dinah is hilarious. From Zach, “To tell the truth Dinah, my life would be rather dull without you to complicate it.” Growing up with three sisters, he knows how to get a rise out of her.
Joyce writes with such feeling and her knowledge of the south and the era is evident in her words. My emotions ranged from laughter, to sorrow, to frustration and even anger. I followed Dinah’s journey over the course of 20 years. There was never a dull moment and I would be happy to read more. I would like to know what happens to Dinah over the next 20 years. I feel she is just getting started.
Having really enjoyed this book, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a genuine taste of life and adventure. I gave it 4 STARS.
Here are a few excerpts that tugged at my heart.
The baby wrapped his chubby arms around her neck, wrinkled his button nose, and laughed, revealing six tiny teeth the size of seed pearls.
She wanted more of the world; all he wanted was her.
About Joyce Debacco
After reading women’s fiction for many years, Joyce knew she wanted to create stories of her own. As the mother of four grown daughters, she’s familiar with the problems women face finding love, raising children, and stepping back when necessary. All of her books place an emphasis on love and family dynamics. She is happiest when she’s secluded in her office creating new worlds and people to populate them. When she’s not taxing her brain with plot, structure, and grammar, she likes to sew, particularly quilts. When she really wants to rest her brain, she sprawls out in front of the TV and tries not to fall asleep. Please visit her website, http://www.joycedebacco.com for information about all of her books.