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Publisher's Summary

Set in Appalachia in the years before World War II, Velva Jean Learns to Drive is a poignant story of a spirited young girl growing up in the gold-mining and moonshining South. Before she dies, Velva Jean's mother urges her to "live out there in the great wide world". Velva Jean dreams of becoming a big-time singer in Nashville until she falls in love with Harley Bright, a handsome juvenile delinquent turned revival preacher. As their tumultuous love story unfolds, Velva Jean must choose between keeping her hard-won home and pursuing her dream of singing in the Grand Ole Opry.
©2009 Jenniver Niven (P)2009 Penguin
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Critic Reviews

"It's a touching read, funny and wise, like a crazy blend of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, a less morose Flannery O'Connor and maybe a shot of Hank Williams." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Susan on 12-17-09

If Jenna Lamia reads it, I'll listen to it!

And once again, she doesn't disappoint. Of course, I have to give Jennifer Niven some credit since she wrote this wonderful story. The characters and the plot are so real. It could happen in your own back yard. Although I felt like it was a little slow at first, I quickly became hooked to the characters, especially Velva Jean herself. Highly recommend it!

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23 of 23 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Kim on 04-03-13

"Old-timey" story with a Southern Accent - Great!

First off, I must agree with the other reviewers who rave about Jenna Lamia's narration - I could listen to her forever - she is downright melodic in her delivery. The author did a fabulous job of marrying the scenic, rugged background of the hill folk with the life story of the main character. This book is about a young girl growing up in the Appalachia in the 1930's-40's. She experiences hardship and joy - love and loss - despair and hope - all the things that make for a rich and meaningful story. I really enjoyed this selection and will recommend it to anyone longing for a journey back in time with the added bonus of it being "G-rated" for the most part and appropriate for younger listeners. My grandmother lived a similar life and this book made me feel closer to her, even though she has passed on. Folks were just tougher back in those old days - life was hard but the rewards were so much sweeter for it - makes you realize how much we take for granted in this day and age.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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