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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

LSBBT BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: When the Men Were Gone by Marjorie Herrera Lewis (Historical Fiction)


WHEN THE MEN WERE GONE
by
MARJORIE HERRERA LEWIS
  
Genre: Historical / Biographical / Sports Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow 
Date of Publication: October 2, 2018
Number of Pages: 240

Scroll down for giveaway!





A cross between Friday Night Lights and The Atomic City Girls, When The Men Were Gone is a debut historical novel based on the true story of Tylene Wilson, a woman in 1940s Texas who, in spite of extreme opposition, became a female football coach in order to keep her students from heading off to war. Football is the heartbeat of Brownwood, Texas. Every Friday night for as long as assistant principal Tylene Wilson can remember, the entire town has gathered in the stands, cheering their boys on. Each September brings with it the hope of a good season and a sense of unity and optimism. Now, the war has changed everything. Most of the Brownwood men over eighteen and under forty-five are off fighting, and in a small town the possibilities are limited. Could this mean a season without football? But no one counted on Tylene, who learned the game at her daddy’s knee. She knows more about it than most men, so she does the unthinkable, convincing the school to let her take on the job of coach. Faced with extreme opposition by the press, the community, rival coaches, and referees -- and even the players themselves -- Tylene remains resolute. And when her boys rally around her, she leads the team -- and the town -- to a Friday night and a subsequent season they will never forget.

Based on a true story, When the Men Were Gone is a powerful and vibrant novel of perseverance and personal courage.





PRAISE FOR WHEN THE MEN WERE GONE:

"Sublimely ties together the drama of high school football, gender politics, and the impact of war on a small town in Texas.” – Best of Books, 2018, Sports Illustrated

“A beautiful story that stays in your heart long after you finish reading.” - Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling author

“Based on a true story that most people probably don’t know, readers will find plenty to love in Herrera Lewis’ debut.” -- Kirkus Review








I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.


As someone not immediately drawn to stories featuring sports, the synopsis drew me in with its hints at Tylene's tenacity and the sacrifices of a small town during a world conflict. Ultimately, this timeless story is about so much more than football with its heartfelt and inspiring message of perseverance in the face of extreme adversity.

"There's something special about Texas football. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a Texas sunset only to see a goalpost cut through the yellow and red splashed across the sky. Can't say that I figured I'd coach it someday, but I promise you boys, I'll give you all I've got."

Tylene's character was brought to life in such powerful way that spoke volumes on how much ahead of her time she truly was, exhibiting the heroic qualities of bravery, strength, vulnerability, and selflessness. Sharing a love of football with a town whose identity is deeply rooted in the game, Tylene is devastated by the possibility that the season may be cancelled because there isn't an able-bodied man available to assume the coaching position. Tylene volunteers to become the leader the boys need; however, the community's obsession isn't strong enough to rally behind the idea of a female coach no matter how capable, dedicated, and qualified she may be. Her commitment to the town as a lifelong citizen, the respect she has garnered through her life's work as an educational professional, as well as her love of the game is not enough to shield her from the divisiveness and outrage that arises even as she attempts to shield the boys from the unfortunate fate of war, something that everyone in Brownwood has become all too familiar with. This spirited account of one woman's determination to see the boys play football is a captivating way of connecting personal loss with the grave losses felt within the community. You don't have to know anything about football to appreciate the story's ability to make connections across themes on family, history, and legacy.

"You have to do things when you have the chance, Jimmy, and not everyone gets a chance. When you do, you can't throw it away. You just can't."

At a little over 200 pages, this book packs an incredible punch for such a small package! The author's journalism background shines, cutting through the filler and making each word count. The straightforward and simplistic prose deftly expresses exactly what the reader needs to know, making this an excellent selection for a one sitting read or sharing with those reluctant readers of any age in our lives. 

Sports have a way of bringing us all together to bridge social dynamics in ways that create lasting impressions, and this book is a profound exploration of this ideal. This slice of life moment is emotionally compelling and riveting from its sentimental opening through its gripping conclusion. Tylene sets a powerful and graceful example of what it takes to combat prejudice and sexism to shatter those glass ceilings, and we all benefit greatly when stories like hers are recognized.







Marjorie Herrera Lewis is an award-winning sportswriter, named the first female Dallas Cowboys beat writer when she was with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She later joined the SportsDay staff of The Dallas Morning News, where she continued to cover the NFL and professional tennis. She is currently a contributing sportswriter for PressBoxDFW.com. 

While writing When the Men Were Gone, she became inspired to try her hand at coaching football herself and was added to the Texas Wesleyan University football coaching staff in December 2016. Marjorie has degrees from Arizona State University, The University of Texas in Arlington, Southern New Hampshire University, and certificates from Southern Methodist University, and Cornell University. She is married and has two grown daughters and one son-in-law.
WEBSITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER  |  INSTAGRAM  |  YOUTUBE  |  AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE  |  BOOKBUB



GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

THREE SIGNED COPIES OF WHEN THE MEN WERE GONE
June 18-28, 2019
(International)



a Rafflecopter giveaway  Best of luck! 

Many thanks to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours! It was an absolute pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
6/18/19
Author Video
6/18/19
Notable Quotable
6/19/19
Review
6/19/19
Review
6/20/19
Excerpt
6/21/19
Author Interview
6/21/19
Excerpt
6/22/19
Review
6/23/19
Review
6/23/19
Scrapbook Page
6/24/19
Playlist & BONUS Review
6/25/19
Review
6/25/19
Guest Post
6/26/19
Review
6/27/19
Review

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1 comment:

  1. TRUTH! I felt the same way about the book -- sports books aren't usually my first pick, but this book was so much more than a football story. SO MUCH MORE. Great review.

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