Blog Tour/Book Review: Birdie & Jude by Phyllis H. Moore

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I’m delighted to be co-hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Birdie & Jude by Phyllis H. Moore.  Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author for my review copy.

Birdie & JudeAbout the Book

A moving novel of loss, regret, denial, and discovery on Galveston Island, from the author of Opal’s Story and The Ember Months.

Birdie has lived to regret many of her decisions, but she doesn’t regret offering a stranger, Jude, shelter from an approaching hurricane. Their serendipitous meeting will form a bond that will change their lives forever.

In a character driven story with memories of the protests and inequality plaguing the 1960’s, Birdie’s reached middle age and questions her life. Jude is striking out on her own, but has been derailed by a fatal accident claiming her only friend. Although their backgrounds and lives are vastly different, they recognize something in the other that forges a friendship.

As their relationship solidifies, they share glimpses of their pasts. Birdie is a product of the ’60’s, an aging hippie, with a series of resentments. She had a sheltered childhood in an upper class family. Her parents longed to see her make the Texas Dip at the Mardi Gras ball. Jude, however, entered foster care as an infant. Her parents, victims of a murder/suicide, left her and her siblings orphaned and separated.

There is something about their connection that strikes Birdie as familiar. Can souls know each other in different lives? Birdie struggles with the awareness that she has had regrets and hasn’t lived an authentic life, while Jude faces an uncomfortable truth about her own. It has all the feels.

Format: ebook, paperback (336 pp.)    Publisher:
Published: 20th March 2018          Genre: Contemporary Fiction

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My Review

The author certainly knows how to create believable characters both by giving readers access to their thoughts and feelings and through detailed scene setting. I found I could really picture Birdie in her colourful kitchen going through her morning routine or sitting on her porch. I liked the way the author explored the weaknesses, contradictions, foibles, and changes of mood that reside in all of us. For example, in the case of Birdie, the fact that she describes herself as a ‘spur-of-the-moment’ person yet clings in the main to a set routine, trying to persuade herself that it’s for the sake of Ollie, her dog. Or that she indulges in comments about a neighbour she’s known for years (that she herself admits are ‘shallow and mean, but so funny’ ) whilst on the other hand offering generous hospitality to Jude, a seemingly complete stranger.

The story is set in Galveston which I’d not known before reading this book is an island. The idea of a place that is set apart came to seem significant in a way, particularly from the point of view of Birdie’s instinct to be something of a loner. I also wondered if the storm that batters the community soon after Birdie and Jude meet was intended to be a metaphor for the emotional turmoil within both of them. The story unfolds through the alternating points of view of the two women, sometimes incorporating recollections of past events and people from their respective childhoods and young adult years.

It seemed to me I discovered a little more about Birdie – her thought processes, emotional baggage and internal conflicts – than I did about Jude, and that Birdie’s story had more interest, even though Jude’s story has a greater sense of mystery. However, that may be because, as an older woman, Birdie had more life experiences for the reader to learn about. Birdie’s convictions about the role of fate in our lives and the possibility of messages from beyond the grave are not ones I share. This element of the book wasn’t needed for me to believe in the genuine nature of the deep and mutually beneficial relationship that forms between Birdie and Jude.

At one point Jude muses, ‘Whatever shapes a person may never be known by anyone else.’ In Birdie & Jude, the author uses all her literary skill to give the reader just such an insight…as well as delivering a few surprises along the way.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author and Rachel’s Random Resources.

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In three words: Thoughtful, tender, heart-warming

Try something similar…The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer (read my review here)

Birdie & Jude Author PhotoAbout the Author

Phyllis H. Moore wants to live life experiences more than once: doing it, writing about it, and reading about it. The atmosphere of the south draws her in and repels her. The characters are rich with dysfunction and redemption, real. She’s had two careers and two retirements. Both careers gave her inspiration for her novels.

Phyllis is a retired social worker and former owner/operator of a small bed and breakfast. She’s lived in the rural areas and cities of south Texas. She currently lives on Galveston Island with her husband, Richard.

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