Brooklyn James is an author/singer/songwriter inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. This year marks the Three Year Anniversary of her first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me. In celebration, her camp has re-released the Anniversary Edition with a new cover (as chosen by a fan) and a new epilogue, setting up the anticipated sequel.
Heroine: Harley LeBeau – Free Spirit, Musician
Hero: Jeremiah Johnson – Patient, Marine
‘Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk through life in someone else’s shoes?
Strong-willed tomboy Harley LeBeau puts you in the boots her mother gave her, as she takes you along her journey of escape from an abusive childhood and the desire to find herself as she comes of age. Made to feel a burden to her father simply by her gender, Harley is determined to prove her worth and independence, leaving the small town she grew up in and the one boy who gave her a soft place to fall, Jeremiah Johnson. Torn between saving herself and abandoning her mother and younger sister, Harley chooses her own life in hopes they will choose theirs, too.
A mature, candid read for everyone. A must for women. The Boots My Mother Gave Me explores the dynamics of abuse and dysfunction, the courage to overcome, the strength in sisterhood, and the ongoing conflict and unconditional love between mothers and daughters. Climb into Charlene the Chevelle for a fast-paced story about a girl who is tough enough to survive and tender enough to learn to trust in love.’
The Boots My Mother Gave Me is a powerful story about a young woman named Harley who's family life is dysfunctional. Her father is an abusive alcoholic. The day after she graduates from high school, she packs Charlaine, her 1970 Chevelle SS 396, and takes off to see the world. She has no idea where the road will take her and doesn't care. She just wants to spread her wings and fly.
What the hell did I really want? What do you do when you want to do everything? What do you do when you can't find that one, special little thing you just know you were born to do?
Harley is an exciting and unique character. She's free-spirited, strong-willed, and marches to her own beat. She grew up a tom boy who loves to work on cars and hung out with the boys. She eventually grows into herself as a woman. As the reader follows her journey, she moves around the country working different jobs and meeting different people that play an important role in the way her life is shaped. She's also a talented musician who writes honest songs about her life. While she is on the road, one emergency after another with her family always brings her back to the one place she is trying to escape. Home. Her family is extremely dysfunctional with a mother who is unable to walk away from her father no matter how many times he physically and mentally abuses her. Being that her mother is an enabler, it's hard to save her.
They were both so incredibly sick and co-dependent, the abuser and the enabler. A dysfunctional, ill group, that's what we had become, effortlessly fulfilling our designated roles.
She and her sister, Kat, have tried time and again to get her mother out of the house but her mother refuses to leave him. Over and over her father abuses his family, but then he does something kind that reminds them why they love him and they all keep going back to him, including Harley. This family finds it hard not to love this man even though they are victims of his abuse. Any kindness he gives the family, gives them hope that he will change. I felt like Harley was the true back bone to the family. She followed her dreams when her mother never had the guts. She helped this family over and over in one crisis after another. Even though she chose to keep running from her past, she always came back home to her family when they needed her.
I fell hard for Jeremiah Johnson! The scenes with Harley and Jeremiah were my favorites. He is Harley's best friend-turned-lover. He was her first kiss, her first love, her confidant, her safe haven. The day after their high school graduation when Harley takes off, he joins the Marines. Several years go by before they see each other again. And now that they are adults, things are different. What they felt towards each as teenagers has grown into something more defined, stronger, and passionate.
The man, he was my friend, my love, my muse, and my hero. The world could have ended that night, and I would have perished completely and utterly fulfilled.
Miah is a patient and kind man who unconditionally loves Harley. He knows she has a restless heart and gives her the space she needs to go out and find herself. Even though they wouldn't see other for years at a time, the chemistry between them is so intense, they are like moths to a flame, unable to resist one another. But, Harley has issues with commitment, unable to settle down for fear of being stuck in a bad marriage like her parents. Therefore, Harley never commits to Jeremiah and he never pressures her. This man has the patience of a saint! Such a frustrating situation for me as a reader. I really wanted Harley to just be with Miah. It crushed me every time she left him. Will she ever fully admit she gave him her heart years ago?
I loved Harley's sassy and vivacious sister who battles her own issues when it comes to her father. I loved the sisterly bond between Harley and Kat. They watched over one another the way true sisters should. I loved how the boots her mother gave her played an important role in the story. I loved seeing the flashbacks of Harley when she was younger. I especially loved the flashbacks with her and Jeremiah.
Miz Brooklyn did not gloss over the dark topics of abuse, alcoholism, and suicide. Harley's father is a selfish man for abusing this beautiful family and at times it was hard to read. I felt uplifted while following along Harley's journey. And at times, it was frustrating when Harley couldn't see what she needed was right in front of her. Harley made some bad decisions that broke my heart at times. But, Harley needed to take this journey in order to come into her own. While her growth was slow coming, she eventually finds her way...in her mother's boots...where she was meant to be.
Such a wonderful, amazing, beautiful story! I felt such an emotional connection to Harley's story. The message behind this story was clear and concise. My heart goes out to anyone who has grown up in an abusive home. I highly recommend this story to everyone!
The Boots My Mother Gave Me was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, and has ranked in Kindle’s Top 100 Coming of Age and Women’s Fiction. Accolades for the book include a host of radio and television appearances, book signings, live music events, televised public readings and a music video release of the title track ‘Can’t Get It Right’ from the original music soundtrack to the novel, viewable on YouTube.
“Brooklyn James’ soundtrack to her novel The Boots My Mother Gave Me does more than give a clever feminist twist to the title. Her songs serve as chapters themselves, underlining James’ deft ability as a storyteller and songwriter.” – Margaret Moser, The Austin Chronicle.
Like what you hear?
Brooklyn’s new album Jolie Blonde is out now and is set to accompany her upcoming novel of the same name, due for release mid-October. Click here to listen to a sample and pre-order.
Her music can be found on Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, Pandora and Jango online Radio. She enjoys airplay from American Independent radio stations as well as in Australia, South of France, Netherlands and the UK. Her song ‘Can’t Get It Right’ was chosen for MEOW’s (Musicians for Equal Opportunity for Women) 2012 Discoveries Jukebox, naming Brooklyn among the top 15 female singer/songwriters on the rise. Jango Radio named track two, ‘Moving On,’ off the same album to their Top 10 Songs of Summer. All songs from the soundtracks are written/co-written and performed by the author, and are produced and recorded at Wonderland Studios, Austin, Texas. Listen free on Brooklyn’s Website or Facebook.
Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication, and a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science. Her nursing career has seen specialties in the areas of Intensive Care and Labor & Delivery/Postpartum, which she’s hoping will come in handy as she and her handsome hubby (the inspiration behind Jeremiah Johnson from The Boots My Mother Gave Me) are expecting their first child this Christmas. You can read about such experiences on Brooklyn’s Blog, if you fancy.
A self-professed Jack-of-all-trades, she has enjoyed careers in massage therapy, personal training, teaching, day labor at a cattle company (doing everything on horseback, the old-fashioned ‘cowboy’ way), radio DJ, TV news writer and reporter, waitress, bartender, even amateur actor. To date, her most fun experiences in front of the camera have been starring in a Weezer video, being a ‘stand-in’ for Mira Sorvino on the set of TNT’s Trooper, and as background in When Angels Sing with Harry Connick Jr. Brooklyn says he couldn’t have been more of a gentleman and oh so swoon-worthy!
She takes great pleasure in performing as part of an acoustic duo in the local live music scene in Austin. Got a little video here from a set at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. Her hobbies include, spending time with family and friends, dancing until her feet are sore, weight lifting, running, paddleboarding (anything outdoors really), reading, watching The Big Bang Theory and anything on The History Channel, partaking of a good cup of Joe and trying out new and local food fare. Brooklyn also serves as a guest speaker from time to time with a focus on awareness and prevention of domestic violence and suicide, a cause near and dear to her heart.
Thank you so much for being so kind to take the time to check out my blog hop! Light & Love – Brooklyn James.
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