Saturday, July 11, 2009

"What the Bayou Saw" Review and Giveaway!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

What the Bayou Saw

Kregel Publications (March 24, 2009)

Last year I introduced you to Patti Lacy and her women's fiction debut novel "An Irishwoman's Tale". It was one of the first women's fiction books that I really, really enjoyed. In it we met Mary and her friend Sally as Sally gets Mary to open up about her past. I have waited a year to read "What The Bayou Saw" and finally get a look into Sally's past. It has been well worth the wait. "An Irishwoman's Tale" was wonderful, but "What the Bayou Saw" surpassed my expectations! Patti has taken deep issues (that I really don't want to list so as not to spoil anything) and modern circumstances (Katrina's aftermath) and mixed them into a story that will pull you in and make you hold your breath.
Sally has moved on and tried to shut out her past until a horrible thing happens to one of her students and it starts bringing the past into the present. Her past full of lies is catching up to her and now she is being prompted to deal with it so she can finally move on... maybe. A beautiful story of wiping the slate clean and moving on in forgiveness.
For a chance to win this amazing book, leave a comment with your email address telling me why you think forgiveness is important in your life. I will pull one lucky winner from the entries - good luck!

Patti Lacy graduated from Baylor University with a B.S. in education. She taught at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, until 2006, when she began to pursue writing full-time. She has two grown children and lives in Illinois with her husband, Alan, and a dog named Laura.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (March 24, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825429374
ISBN-13: 978-0825429378



Hold the Wind, Hold the Wind, Hold the Wind, don’t let it blow.

—Negro spiritual, “Hold the Wind”

August 26, 2005, Normal, Illinois

“I’m meteorologist Kim Boudreaux.” Clad in a dark suit, the petite woman smiled big for her television audience. “Katrina’s track has changed.” She pointed to a mass of ominous-looking clouds that threatened to engulf the screen. “She’s no longer headed for Mobile but is on course for the Crescent City.”

Sally Stevens checked her cell phone, then paced in front of the television, as if that would make her brother Robert pick up the phone. She needed to talk to him, needed to know that he’d gotten her nieces and her sister-in-law out of the death trap that New Orleans suddenly had become. Needed to have him assure her, with his balmy Southern drawl, that he and his National Guardsmen were going to be okay.

A slender hand pointed to what must be a fortune’s worth of satellite and radar imagery. “As you can see, Katrina’s moving toward the mouth of the Mississippi, toward the levees . . .” The meteorologist buzzed on, seemingly high on news of this climactic wonder.

Every word seeped from the television screen, crept across the Stevens’s den, and crawled up Sally’s spine. Louisiana had once been her home. Her heritage. What would this hurricane do to the Southern state that she still loved?

A glance at her watch told Sally to get moving. Instead, she once again punched in Robert’s number. If she could just hear his voice, she’d know how to pray later as she stood in her classroom pretending to be passionate about her lecture on the history of American music, pretending to act like it was another ordinary afternoon in Normal, Illinois, while this mother of a storm wreaked wrath and vengeance upon her brother. Her home.

“. . . the next twenty-four hours are crucial . . .” The camera zoomed in for a close-up, focusing on a perfect oval face that, for just a moment, seemed to stiffen, as if a personal levee was about to be breached. “I’m not supposed to say this.” Urgency laced the forecaster’s voice “But I’m telling you. Leave. This is a killer.” The pulsating weather image seemed to confirm her report, a mass of scarlet and violet whirling about an ominous-looking eye. Growing like a cancer. Moving in for the kill . . .

Talk turned to evacuation, log-jammed roads, but Sally barely listened. Years flew away as she studied Ms. Boudreaux’s flawless mocha complexion, the tilt of her chin. The determination of this woman to save her city, or at least its people. So like the determination of Ella, that first friend, who’d taken off for New Orleans. It was as if the lockbox of Sally’s memories had somehow sprung open. Ella, that friend who’d saved her. Ella. And her brother Willie, if he’d gotten out of the pen. Were they digging in, evacuating—

A classical song Sally’s kids had downloaded onto her phone poured from the tiny speaker as the device vibrated in her palm.

“God, let it be—” She glanced at the readout. 504 area code. New Orleans. Robert. Her fingers suddenly clumsy, she struggled to flip open the phone.

Static greeted her.

“Robert? Bobby?” She was shouting, but she didn’t care. “Are you there? Are you—”

“Ssss—got them out.”

He’s out there somewhere, right in the elements, from the sound of it. “Where are you?” Sally cried. “Robert, what’s going on?” Sally pressed the phone against her ear until it hurt. All this technology, yet she could barely hear him, could barely—

The whooshing stopped. So did Robert’s voice. Sally stared at the readout. Ten seconds she’d had with him. Ten seconds to gauge the climate of a city. A city that might still claim as a resident that once-best friend. Sally whispered a prayer as she grabbed her briefcase and headed to class.


August 29, 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana

“It’s no use! The generator’s flooded!” A single battery-operated hallway light revealed the faint outline of Dr. Powers, the thin, impeccably groomed physician whom Ella Ward had worked with for a decade. “Ella? Ella?” He groped against the hospital’s second floor wall, his hands and arms made ghoulish by the shadowy dark. “Are you there? Ella? We’ve got to get them out of here! Now.”

Screams, howling winds, and debris crashing against boarded-up windows swirled into a hellish cacophony that tore at Ella’s heart. What were the three of them, she, Willie, and the doctor—no. Willie didn’t count. What were the two of them going to do for sixty-three patients writhing in excrement, gasping for breath, thousands of dollars of ventilators and BiPAPs rendered powerless? Dying, minute by minute, second by second?

Just to keep from falling down, Ella dug her fingernails into a wall sweaty with humidity. She opened her mouth to answer, but no words came out. At Dr. Powers’s side, she’d watched an aortic artery explode, a patient gurgle in his own blood . . . “The scalpel, Ms. Ward?” he’d said. “Suction, please.” With ice-blue cool, Dr. Powers had plucked life out of mangled messes and never even raised his voice. Now his screams pierced Ella’s ears, and her hopes. Even with one of New Orleans’ best surgeons at her side, the prognosis of surviving this storm was dim. There was nothing for Ella to do but close her eyes and beg. “Oh God. Please Spirit. Please Lord Jesus, please.”

Dr. Powers clutched at the sleeve of Ella’s cotton scrub. “Where’s Willie?”

The doctor’s touch and the mention of her brother brought Ella around. Still, she could barely speak for the quivering of her lip. “Where . . . do you think a junkie would be?”

“The . . . pharmacy?”

Even though Dr. Powers most likely couldn’t see her nod, Ella went through the motion. Twenty-four hours ago, she’d decided she and Willie would come here together. Yet even in her worst nightmare, she hadn’t really believed that they’d die here together.

“Someone, anyone, let me outta here!” It was Mrs. Smith, in Room 215.

“Hold the wind, Lord!” Mr. Lunsford, who’d thought he’d die of cancer.

Ella gritted her teeth. One by one, the patients were seeing the storm’s demonic fingers etching out a death sentence, and screaming their response.

“We’ve got to do something.”

Dr. Powers’s words sent a shiver through Ella. Had he read her mind? Or had she babbled without even knowing it? She clamped her hands over her ears. Lord! I’m goin’ crazy! Help me, Lord!

“What’s happenin’, Lawd? Oh, Lawd Jesus!”

“Sweet Jesus! Where are you?”

What had acted as a twisted tonic to incite the patients to a new level of chaos? Was it the howls of the winds, the thuds and crashes against the windows, the doors, the very roof of this place?

“Jesus, oh Jesus!”

Every moan, every scream, knifed into Ella like a scalpel. Nursing school hadn’t trained her for this. Nearly thirty years working at understaffed facilities hadn’t trained her for this. Nothing had trained her for this. With taut fingers, she pulled the doctor close, then shoved him to his knees and knelt by him, her hands flush against the wall. “We gotta pray,” she said.


Valorie said...

It is important because it's not healthy to live with so much anger inside.


hippmom said...

I read "An Irishwoman's Tale" after seeeing it on your blog. I really enjoyed the book and love the idea for this book.

I think forgiveness is important for our own sake. It allows us to move beyond the hurt.

Thanks for the chance to win, Janna!

angelahipp (at) charter (dot) net

traveler said...

Thanks for this great giveaway. I am captivated with this author and her wonderful writing. This novel captures it perfectly.

Theresa N. said...

Forgiveness helps use except and express the pain and move on with of life. I say's we're trying very hard.
Theresa N

Upper West Side Writer said...

I think that forgiveness is important because it allows you to face your problems rationally and deal with them in a less emotional way.

Thank you so much!


Patti Lacy said...

As my friend "Mary" told me years ago, Christ ORDERS us to forgive. Gulp. And what our Savior says, we'd better do!

Thank you, Janna, for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat about a book--and topics--close to my heart.

Valorie, you are right about unforgiveness gnawing away our bones...

Hippmom, thanks for supporting An Irishwoman's Tale. Hope you get a chance to read Bayou as well!

Traveler, you brought a lump to my throat. How sweet!

Theresa N., you've hit the bull's eye on the "give" involved in forgiveness!

Upper West Side Writer, oh, do YOU have the setting in which to CREATE! Sigh. And here I am in Normal....

Blessings to all.

Robin said...

I think life is not worth living is your heart has unforgiveness. I struggle at times with unforgiveness, and it's not until I give it to God and forgive do I find true peace!

SOunds like a great book. I would love to win it!

cmrobin at bellsouth net

Carole said...

Unforgiveness of others only hurts us - a hard teaching, but very true. And the other side of that is how can we expect to be forgiven when we aren't willing to forgive?

I love anything Patti writes, so thank you so much for the giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Annette D said...

It is important for us to be able to forgive others so that we can move on with our lives and not live in the past with the ghosts of what if
things would have been different.

Gin said...

forgiveness frees me to live in peace.

Beth said...

Forgiveness is important so you can move on with your life. It hurts nobody but yourself to carry a grudge.

amanda said...

I think forgiveness is important because it lets you let go of the pain and move forward.
oheeyore at hotmail dot com

Pam said...

If you don't forgive, you will be forever stuck in the place where you were wronged. If you want to move forward and truly put the past behind you, you need to forgive.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Patti Lacy said...

Annette, Gen, Beth, Amanda, and Pam, thanks for carrying a dove feather in your palm. And thanks for leaving a comment on this great blog.


Diana D said...

Forgiveness is important because living with hatred in your heart can destroy you and those around you.Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.

dianad8008 AT gmail DOT com

Lindsay said...

This is something I struggle with - however I think forgiveness is important because if not, the pain eats away at you inside.


frugalfab at gmail dot com

Patti Lacy said...

Diana, wise thoughts. Lindsay, holding a grudge is something I major in. Hard to let go of bad habits--just ask Sally, the main character in Bayou. Hope y'all meet her soon!!


Jolene said...

unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die--walking in forgiveness frees me to be who God wants me to be

Patti Lacy said...

I love your name, Jolene! So does Dolly Parton, I guess...

The poison analogy works great. Lately I've been dealing with this a bit myself...God has perfect timing, doesn't He?


Edna said...

please sign me up to be entered into this contest, I love to read and am retired so I have plentyof time.


Lora Lease said...

Forgiveness is important for many reasons. One of the big ones, in my opinion, is that when we are able to forgive, God is better able to work in our lives. I went to one of our church's "God Encounters" years ago, and was able to forgive my father's (biological & adoptive) for abandonment and more. Upon doing that, God healed me from a back deformity I have had since birth! This deformity, caused me constant excruciating pain, and doctors had said I would be in a wheelchair within a couple of years. I had prayed for healing countless times before this (and gone to prayer meetings, and went to hear special speakers, etc...), yet God wasn't able to perform this miracle in my life, until my heart was right with both Him, and others. :)

Please enter me in your contest!

Cherie J said...

Forgiveness is important because I find when I don't my spiritual walk darkens and I don't hear God's voice as well. When I can let go God can reach me better.


Patti Lacy said...

Edna, you sound like a writer's best friend.

Lora, Julie Lessman and I just talked about THIS VERY SUBJECT on Monday! I love GodStops like this!

Cherie, I sometimes forget the sensitive nature of the Holy Spirit and how we must be careful not to grieve Him.

Amazing comments, y'all! This has been soooo fun!

Shawna said...

shawna Lewis

If you can't forgive how can you be forgiven?
To forgive takes God. To NOT forgive is worldly and without God.
Everyone needs to be forgiven like Christ forgave us.
Thanks for the giveaway;o)

Val8200 said...

Valerie Weyand
Forgiveness helps use except and express the pain and move on with of life.

Krista Phillips said...

WHy is forgiveness important? Because God commands it. And not sure about y'all, but I'd like to stay in his good graces. Plus, after everything he has forgiven me of, far be it from me to withhold it from someone else.

krista@kristaphillips .com

Patti Lacy said...

Shawna, your e-mail address intrigues me. I am definitely dog's best friend, especially Humane Society "Worchestershire Terriers" like my Laura!

Val, thanks for the great comment on expressing pain. David, "a man after God's heart," sure was good at that.

Krista, love the way you used "y'all." I love your emphasis on God's command.

Blessings to this great group of bloggers!

Jo said...

G-d wants us to forgive others for the hurts that they have caused us. Otherwise, if we don't forgive, it just festers inside of us and causes us more anguish and hurt.


kellie said...

forgiveness is essential to be happy and healthy.Forgiveness allows you to let go of pasts hurts and lets you look to the future.forgiveness is not always easy but it is worth it all

Janna said...

And the winner is...



Patti Lacy said...

Jo and Kellie, thanks for stopping by.

Lora, can't wait for your comments on Bayou! Hope it "troubles some ole dirty waters" for you.

Thanks, Janna, for such a fantastic time. Wow, do you have a great group of visitors!!!!