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The Water and the Blood

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I turned and faced the road we'd come down, my face hard and set. The kids moved on without me. I could still see a slight glow and the murky, gray smoke reaching above the trees, where it spread to the south.... When I thought they were out of earshot, I took a deep breath. "You lied to me," I whispered toward the building, to all the people it represented, to the hours I' I turned and faced the road we'd come down, my face hard and set. The kids moved on without me. I could still see a slight glow and the murky, gray smoke reaching above the trees, where it spread to the south.... When I thought they were out of earshot, I took a deep breath. "You lied to me," I whispered toward the building, to all the people it represented, to the hours I'd spent on those hard, split-log seats, and to my childish epiphanies born there .... "You lied," I said. "These are my best friends now." Rare is the gift of a writer who is able to conjure up the voices of very different worlds, to give them heat and power and make them sing. Such is the talent of Nancy E. Turner. Her beloved first novel, These Is My Words, opened readers to the challenges of a woman's life in the nineteenth-century Southwest. Now this extraordinary writer shifts her gaze to a very different world -- East Texas in the years of the Second World War -- and to the life of a young woman named Philadelphia Summers, known against her will as Frosty. From the novel's harrowing opening scene, Frosty's eyes survey the landscape around her -- white rural America -- with the awestruck clarity of an innocent burned by sin. In her mother and sisters she sees fear and small-mindedness; in the eyes of local boys she sees racial hatred and hunger for war. When that war finally comes, it offers her a chance for escape -to California, and the caring arms of Gordon Benally a Native-American soldier. But when she returns to Texas she must face the rejection of a town still gripped by suspicion -- and confront the memory of the crime that has marked her soul since adolescence. Propelled by the quiet power of one woman's voice, The Water and the Blood is a moving and unforgettable portrait of an America of haunted women and dangerous fools -- an America at once long perished and with us still.


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I turned and faced the road we'd come down, my face hard and set. The kids moved on without me. I could still see a slight glow and the murky, gray smoke reaching above the trees, where it spread to the south.... When I thought they were out of earshot, I took a deep breath. "You lied to me," I whispered toward the building, to all the people it represented, to the hours I' I turned and faced the road we'd come down, my face hard and set. The kids moved on without me. I could still see a slight glow and the murky, gray smoke reaching above the trees, where it spread to the south.... When I thought they were out of earshot, I took a deep breath. "You lied to me," I whispered toward the building, to all the people it represented, to the hours I'd spent on those hard, split-log seats, and to my childish epiphanies born there .... "You lied," I said. "These are my best friends now." Rare is the gift of a writer who is able to conjure up the voices of very different worlds, to give them heat and power and make them sing. Such is the talent of Nancy E. Turner. Her beloved first novel, These Is My Words, opened readers to the challenges of a woman's life in the nineteenth-century Southwest. Now this extraordinary writer shifts her gaze to a very different world -- East Texas in the years of the Second World War -- and to the life of a young woman named Philadelphia Summers, known against her will as Frosty. From the novel's harrowing opening scene, Frosty's eyes survey the landscape around her -- white rural America -- with the awestruck clarity of an innocent burned by sin. In her mother and sisters she sees fear and small-mindedness; in the eyes of local boys she sees racial hatred and hunger for war. When that war finally comes, it offers her a chance for escape -to California, and the caring arms of Gordon Benally a Native-American soldier. But when she returns to Texas she must face the rejection of a town still gripped by suspicion -- and confront the memory of the crime that has marked her soul since adolescence. Propelled by the quiet power of one woman's voice, The Water and the Blood is a moving and unforgettable portrait of an America of haunted women and dangerous fools -- an America at once long perished and with us still.

30 review for The Water and the Blood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I'm not sure what didn't click with me but reading this book felt more like a chore than a pleasure. I enjoy the time period as it's set during WWII, I enjoy learning about the evolution of race relations in the United States and feelings between whites and Indians in the mid-20th century is new territory for me. There's even a bit of a love story in the mix but my attention dragged and waned. I believe part of the problem lies with the fact that most of the characters are underdeveloped. Aside I'm not sure what didn't click with me but reading this book felt more like a chore than a pleasure. I enjoy the time period as it's set during WWII, I enjoy learning about the evolution of race relations in the United States and feelings between whites and Indians in the mid-20th century is new territory for me. There's even a bit of a love story in the mix but my attention dragged and waned. I believe part of the problem lies with the fact that most of the characters are underdeveloped. Aside from the main character, Frosty, we aren't told enough about the motives behind their actions and feelings so they feel one-dimensional and don't garner much sympathy from me, one way or another.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eliece

    I loved this author's first two books, so I was eagerly looking forward to this one, especially since it was largely set in East Texas where I grew up, and takes place during World War II (a time that I enjoy reading about.) I found quite a few things that bothered me. Her style was very different this time. It just didn't hang together--didn't flow well. She jumped around from Frosty's being in high school to episodes that happened to her as a child. I don't mean flashbacks, or that she was just I loved this author's first two books, so I was eagerly looking forward to this one, especially since it was largely set in East Texas where I grew up, and takes place during World War II (a time that I enjoy reading about.) I found quite a few things that bothered me. Her style was very different this time. It just didn't hang together--didn't flow well. She jumped around from Frosty's being in high school to episodes that happened to her as a child. I don't mean flashbacks, or that she was just recalling an incident. Instead, the narratives were just jumpy and disorienting. And there were other irregularities. I guess it's picky, but it always irks me when a character uses the word "y'all" when speaking to an individual. I've lived my entire life in Texas, and never once have I heard a real Texan use it that way. It's a contraction of "you all" and thus we only use it when speaking to more than one person. As Frosty traveled, the author got some Texas towns out of sequence. In California, she said that she and Garnelle split the $25 monthly rent and each had nearly $100 left for food and savings, yet at one point she talked about being between paychecks and resenting having to share her meager lunch with Gordon, who was a Native-American soldier. Inconsistencies like this may be a result of poor editing or rushing it to print, but they took away from my reading enjoyment.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mary Catherine Pace

    Perhaps my reasons for reading this book determined my expectations and my reaction. Despite some questions I may have about some details and plot choices, I found what I expected and many things that made me think about what it meant to grow up in pre-war East Texas, just a few miles from my own father’s small town. He would have been only a few years younger than Frosty, and his older brother served in the army at the same time and place as Cody, Gordon, and others in the book. My father left Perhaps my reasons for reading this book determined my expectations and my reaction. Despite some questions I may have about some details and plot choices, I found what I expected and many things that made me think about what it meant to grow up in pre-war East Texas, just a few miles from my own father’s small town. He would have been only a few years younger than Frosty, and his older brother served in the army at the same time and place as Cody, Gordon, and others in the book. My father left East Texas to join the army in the Korean War, and never returned to live there. He married my mother and moved to an island in the farthest northwest corner of Washington state. He didn’t miss the poverty, the narrow mindedness or the racism of East Texas, but they were bred into his bones. He never spoke much about it, but he was very aware that northerners were puzzlingly racist in ways that confused him. He didn’t see any “colored people,” anywhere on our island, and like most southerners, individual black people were not a threat, anyway. Indeed, with southern roots, they were often more comfortable for him, sharing a code of politeness and distance, much like the way the sheriff in this story was portrayed in relationship to the black community members. Frosty’s family and friends, however, remind me of some of his stories that hinted of very different sorts of folk. I recall relatives in little shacks with outdoor plumbing, with sons who ran wild and daughters who married young, or ran off to the big city (probably Shreveport, Louisiana.) The family secrets, violence, controlling lies and accusations, and the oppressive and yet comforting religion also ring true to me. They are the hissing snakes of my nightmares. We visited East Texas when I was 14 years old, in 1964. A scary undertow to some relatives’ conversation was about what kind of violence could erupt over the recent Civil Rights laws. Recently, I revisited the area to see my daughter and grandchildren who were temporarily living in a town 30 miles from my father’s hometown. We drove along the Sabine River, and I was struck by the remoteness, though much has changed. In the book, Frosty attends high school. There was no high school in my father’s hometown; most kids graduated 8th grade, and almost nobody took the bus to faraway Marshall to attend the only high school in the region. I appreciated this book. The attitudes of people in that time and place may not be perfectly portrayed but the backwardness, fear of others, and the choking need for any thoughtful person to leave it behind seem absolutely true. Frosty’s and Gordon’s romance and difficulties in establishing their relationship, given their many differences, was important to her eventually leaving that life behind and starting a new life according to their own hard-won independence from the past. Although we carry our past with us, we can learn from it and not repeat the same mistakes. My dad finished high school in the army, spent some time in Japan before coming back to his new wife and baby in Washington. He tried—not always successfully—but released from the fear of his childhood haunts, to overcome much of the racism and intolerance of that world. His attitudes were not worse than those of most northern liberals I’ve encountered. Compared to the violence of his upbringing, he felt himself to be positively lenient with us, largely because my mother disapproved of most corporal punishment. His relationship to church—that would be Baptist of the northern sort—was intense and rather hypocritical, but for the most part, our family found more kindness and freedom of thought at church than we would have, if left to my father’s rigid religious views. For a book about a time and place I wanted to explore; about how a person with that background finds a way out and deals with the scars of her upbringing, this book was a great read. The author juggled many themes, characters, and plot elements very skillfully. I’m glad I read it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    This book is about racism during the WWII years and how the hatred and ignorance of racism can tear a family apart. I would like to give this book 3 and a half stars but will settle with 3. At first I had a hard time seperating the characters as there are many and many stories behind each person and how everyone is connected so i was confused trying to keep them straight. However, once I understood who was who I couldn't put the book down. It was like an emotional roller coaster though, I was an This book is about racism during the WWII years and how the hatred and ignorance of racism can tear a family apart. I would like to give this book 3 and a half stars but will settle with 3. At first I had a hard time seperating the characters as there are many and many stories behind each person and how everyone is connected so i was confused trying to keep them straight. However, once I understood who was who I couldn't put the book down. It was like an emotional roller coaster though, I was angry, sad, and then angry again... I really like Nancy E Turner's style of writing! Everytime I thought I knew what was going to happen I was happy to be wrong. I never guessed correctly and was thrilled to be wrong!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    What an eye opening look at life in a small southern baptist town during WWII. Great characters! Nancy can really paint a picture with her writing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This is the 2nd book I've read from Nancy Turner. How do I put this? I liked this book a lot. She had the same writing style that I love from These Is My Words. But it wasn't as enjoyable a novel as These Is My Words because of the very little redeemable qualities that are in the people surrounding Frosty. Frosty, as the heroine of the novel, is just as well written as Sarah. But some of the themes of racism, which I always defined as prejudice against anyone of a different color-which was portr This is the 2nd book I've read from Nancy Turner. How do I put this? I liked this book a lot. She had the same writing style that I love from These Is My Words. But it wasn't as enjoyable a novel as These Is My Words because of the very little redeemable qualities that are in the people surrounding Frosty. Frosty, as the heroine of the novel, is just as well written as Sarah. But some of the themes of racism, which I always defined as prejudice against anyone of a different color-which was portrayed more as hatred, and ignorance are so rawfully, honestly written that it's difficult to read without taking a personal stance. But that is also what I thought was refreshing about the book. So many times, racism is just looked at as racism. But ignorance and stupidity play along, and it often goes beyond racism, it goes with humans not wanting to learn and hating those who do. I loved the analogy that the sheriff tells Frosty, comparing her to Moses. I thought that Gordon was a weak character. I didn't care about him nearly as much as Jack, from These Is My Words. It was difficult to tell how much he cared about Frosty until the very end, and that's where I felt he was written weakly, not that he was actually a weak person.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Evi

    Very seldom do I give 5 stars. This book took a bit getting into because of the diverse group of characters. Once I got everybody sorted out, it was impossible to put the book down. The visual description by Nancy Turner made it easy to smell and feel the east Texas dirt and taste the horror, fear and anger of small-town prejudice. She really nailed it. Like another reviewer, my favorite quote is on p. 242: "You ain't the first woman, nor the last, that's got a load to bear. And when it finally g Very seldom do I give 5 stars. This book took a bit getting into because of the diverse group of characters. Once I got everybody sorted out, it was impossible to put the book down. The visual description by Nancy Turner made it easy to smell and feel the east Texas dirt and taste the horror, fear and anger of small-town prejudice. She really nailed it. Like another reviewer, my favorite quote is on p. 242: "You ain't the first woman, nor the last, that's got a load to bear. And when it finally gets too heavy, you takes it to the cross. You gotta keep taking it, until someday you leave it there. And if you don't ... well then, that's your burden."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mela

    These Is My Words and My Name Is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner are one of my most beloved books ever. I know that this one isn't as loved as the other books, that was why I had been postponing it so long. But, although this one didn't become one of my favourite it still was a great novel. Why, these colored folks acted in church just like we did. They all talked the same, too, when they weren't calling back to the preacher. And children, too. I'd never in my life seen a Negro child do anything b These Is My Words and My Name Is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner are one of my most beloved books ever. I know that this one isn't as loved as the other books, that was why I had been postponing it so long. But, although this one didn't become one of my favourite it still was a great novel. Why, these colored folks acted in church just like we did. They all talked the same, too, when they weren't calling back to the preacher. And children, too. I'd never in my life seen a Negro child do anything but hide. East Texas (like the whole USA) in the 40. of XX century was fascinating, complex, so full of prejudice that you could have cut the dense air. I know that was so, but I still have difficulties with believing in it. Each story about it is always like a bucket of cold water to me. I started thinking about where everyone lived in town, and I figured out you could tell the distance people lived from the railroad tracks by where they were sitting in the room. Mrs. Turner created characters that were humans of that world. I would have liked to just hate them, but it wasn't so simple. Or were we all only part of each other's lives for a moment, putting down our swords long enough to win a war against a common enemy? Would we be friends if we'd met any other way? The story was unpleasant and sad, the glimpses of happiness were too short to start to feel heart-warmed. Stay outside, looking in. See those two poor people. Sad girl. Sad boy. Sadder than a movie, two people parting. My heart was behind a huge concrete dam with no gates, no opening, not even a hairline crack. On this side those people only look sad. They feel no pain. On this side. But through this whole sorrow and anger, you can find many wise messages - you just take and use them! The thought came to me like a revelation of sorts, that all the world would be better if people were blind. Everyone. Or if we could always have a huge war or something to work against, so that people could just sing and eat fudge in their living rooms with any-one they wanted to. The world would have been a better place if we had started learning from other people's mistakes... And why... Why can't a person just be a person? I will always remember the metaphor of a kite. That to be able to fly (to be free) one must have a root/anchor too. Trouble was, the string tethering it to the ground was what kept the kite flying. Without its connection it would never stay aloft.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Meridee

    Not my favorite of hers.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dara S.

    This was very different from her series of books starting with Sarah's Quilt.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    The reviews are so-so; I almost didn't read it, but I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    As always, I'll leave the plot synopsis to the professionals...I should have followed my own good advice to not read the work of a great author in reverse-chronological order, or at least checked the always-spot-on reviews found here on Goodreads. This is apparently an early effort by Nancy Turner (original publish date is 2001), and I was pretty excited to see how she took on this chapter of history. Though the story had really good potential, It suffers from ridiculously bad editing-pages 343- As always, I'll leave the plot synopsis to the professionals...I should have followed my own good advice to not read the work of a great author in reverse-chronological order, or at least checked the always-spot-on reviews found here on Goodreads. This is apparently an early effort by Nancy Turner (original publish date is 2001), and I was pretty excited to see how she took on this chapter of history. Though the story had really good potential, It suffers from ridiculously bad editing-pages 343-344 actually repeat the same paragraph, just worded slightly different (see "we spent the better part of an hour taking like old friends. It felt amazing to be on the same side for a change. Still, it wouldn't do..."). Honestly, if you're going to publish a book, shouldn't it at least be proof-read??! I consider myself reasonably intelligent, but I just couldn't keep up. The book changes POV from paragraph to paragraph, which is enough of a distraction..combine that with changes in tense within a single sentence, and you lose me altogether ("I'd never asked what he did with the money, not because I didn't care, but because that night was so emotional that when I remember it, all I do is sigh and worry.") Past tense to present tense from a single character who is (I think) telling the story through the lens of historical perspective...I just don't know. There are moments when it seems to be building up to something momentous and wonderful...and then the dialogue just falls flat. It's bad. The minor characters mostly had great potential (crazy mother, hypochondriac, insecure sister, war-damaged friends), but are never fully realized, and there's just too many side stories/sub-plots going on. If the author had chosen just 2-3 of the dozen or so issues she presented, it might have been ok, but the whole book is muddled by so many competing stories. By the end, I just didn't care, and had to drag myself though the last hundred pages. The 2nd star of my review is mostly sentimental, because Turner's newer work absolutely ROCKS. Do yourself a favor and read My Name Is Resolute, or the Sarah Prine series. This one should have been left in the drawer.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karyl

    I wish, oh how I wish, I could give this book five stars. After reading her other three books, I am now counting Nancy E. Turner as one of my favorite authors, and most of this book did not disappoint. The imagery was so vivid that it felt like I was a part of the book. I found myself thinking about the characters in the book even when I wasn't reading it. I enjoyed how Ms Turner gave us glimpses of the lives of other characters interwoven in the main plot of the story. Her portrayal of a southe I wish, oh how I wish, I could give this book five stars. After reading her other three books, I am now counting Nancy E. Turner as one of my favorite authors, and most of this book did not disappoint. The imagery was so vivid that it felt like I was a part of the book. I found myself thinking about the characters in the book even when I wasn't reading it. I enjoyed how Ms Turner gave us glimpses of the lives of other characters interwoven in the main plot of the story. Her portrayal of a southern town during WWII was, in my opinion, spot-on, especially regarding the racism that was so very prevalent. But would there really be one girl in the entire town that was color-blind, able to see past the color of one's skin, even though the rest of the residents firmly adhered to the racial divide? I'm not sure, even considering the question of Frosty's heritage that was never quite answered. However, I think we would all hope that there would be at least one person that would fight for justice in a town like that, though it may just be wishful thinking. But the ending is where it all fell apart. It felt like Ms Turner wasn't quite sure how to tie everything together, and so everything just dangles there, waiting for just a few more stitches to tighten it all up. It's such a shame, too, as the rest of the book was so well-written. All in all, this book is still an excellent read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is actually a 4 or even 5 star book. However, my rating is based on my enjoyment of it, and I only liked it - didn't love it. I had a difficult time with the first 50 pages or so - getting a feel for the rhythm of the book, the changes in voice, the changes in setting, the changes in pacing. This sense of unease and unevenness stayed with me throughout the entire novel. It is shortly before World War II, and Frosty Summers is stuck in the backwater of Sabine, Texas. The racism in her small to This is actually a 4 or even 5 star book. However, my rating is based on my enjoyment of it, and I only liked it - didn't love it. I had a difficult time with the first 50 pages or so - getting a feel for the rhythm of the book, the changes in voice, the changes in setting, the changes in pacing. This sense of unease and unevenness stayed with me throughout the entire novel. It is shortly before World War II, and Frosty Summers is stuck in the backwater of Sabine, Texas. The racism in her small town is deep-rooted and frightening, and Frosty has become an unwitting part of it. When the chance comes for her to make a break for it in the factories of California, she goes for it, and her life changes - she finds friendship, love, tolerance, decent work, freedom, heartbreak, loss, and more. I didn't fall in love with Frosty the way I did with Sarah Prine, Turner's character from her three other novels. Frosty is pricklier and more complicated than Sarah, but in the end I was rooting for her - to do the right thing, to find justice, to find a real family. I think I'll be turning this story over in mind for a while. There's a lot to chew on here. A lot of human ugliness, and the hope of human kindness in the face of it. It also has one of the best closing paragraphs ever. Good, but a book I struggled to read and never entirely connected with. *language, sexual references, some war-related violence

  15. 4 out of 5

    Suzanna

    While this didn't hold me the way These is My Words did, the author's aim was entirely different here, and I think she got what she wanted. The former is more of a southern epic, a wonderful storytelling with some symbolism and messages to take to heart. This book, however, was more scholarly in my mind: heavy-laden with symbolism, allusions, and making bold, important statements about the human condition and what it should be, versus how it is and was. The Water and the Blood follows the growth While this didn't hold me the way These is My Words did, the author's aim was entirely different here, and I think she got what she wanted. The former is more of a southern epic, a wonderful storytelling with some symbolism and messages to take to heart. This book, however, was more scholarly in my mind: heavy-laden with symbolism, allusions, and making bold, important statements about the human condition and what it should be, versus how it is and was. The Water and the Blood follows the growth of a girl into her womanhood. It's historically based, beginning in the Depression and going through the war and post-war years that follow. She is an outcast, both within her family and socially, until she leaves her small town. Part of what makes her an outcast is her vision of people and of herself; to the heroine, color and gender are not the markers of what makes a person. She finds a group in which she fits, only to discover later that they only fit together because they were in a situation in which they were freed from certain restraints and pulled together by others. I felt this novel was very well written. There are layers upon layers in it - well worth the dive.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Turner's These is my Words is one of my top-5 books. I was so excited to read another one by her, but this book is a disappointment. It had a lot of potential. The characters were unique, the subject matter interesting. The story needed to be told. She apparently doesn't know how to develop characters, however, in this style of book. In These is my Words, the reader KNOWS Sarah because the book is essentially her journal. In The Water and the Blood, the reader never knows Frosty or the other cha Turner's These is my Words is one of my top-5 books. I was so excited to read another one by her, but this book is a disappointment. It had a lot of potential. The characters were unique, the subject matter interesting. The story needed to be told. She apparently doesn't know how to develop characters, however, in this style of book. In These is my Words, the reader KNOWS Sarah because the book is essentially her journal. In The Water and the Blood, the reader never knows Frosty or the other characters. The narrator barely skims the surface. The only time we get a glimpse of who the characters are is when they speak, which is rarer than it should be in this type of novel. Even at the end, I was surprised by the things Frosty said. I never felt like I knew the characters. Turner listed the events, rather than letting them unravel into a good story. I learned so many interesting things, though, and had a lot to think about when I finished the story. It talks a lot about prejudice, self-righteousness, social boundaries. I just wish she would have presented these important topics in a more compelling way.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tamra

    Although I definitely did not like this book as much as "Sarah's Quilt", I really do like Nancy Turner's writing style - hence the sole reason for the three stars. However, the story just didn't seem to work and it was infuriating for the main character to keep taking the verbal and physical abuse she was doled out by her parents without fighting back in the least - even after she had left home and become an adult,forming her own opinions of the world. The family would have a tremendous blow-up Although I definitely did not like this book as much as "Sarah's Quilt", I really do like Nancy Turner's writing style - hence the sole reason for the three stars. However, the story just didn't seem to work and it was infuriating for the main character to keep taking the verbal and physical abuse she was doled out by her parents without fighting back in the least - even after she had left home and become an adult,forming her own opinions of the world. The family would have a tremendous blow-up with incredibly cruel things said and physical blows given only to get back together hours later with everyone acting as if nothing had happened. Maybe some families really do behave this way, but I found it odd and disturbing. I felt Frosty's relationship with the African American members of her community was never truly fleshed out and should have been explored and explained better. The revelation from Frosty's grandmother about Frosty's mother, which may have explained a lot of why she treated Frosty the way she did was lightly glossed over. The number of unlikeable characters was astounding. In the end, the story just didn't gel for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Hartzell

    How I love Nancy Turner's writing, she is so talented but the story of this book didn't capture me like the These Is My Words series. Maybe it's because I love Sarah Prine so much, but this one was still good. I would say I would have enjoyed it more if it would have been edited differently, meaning the characters and the beginning really confused me for about the first 100 or so pages and it all fit together in the end. I also wanted more explanation of Frosty's actions and Gordon's actions at How I love Nancy Turner's writing, she is so talented but the story of this book didn't capture me like the These Is My Words series. Maybe it's because I love Sarah Prine so much, but this one was still good. I would say I would have enjoyed it more if it would have been edited differently, meaning the characters and the beginning really confused me for about the first 100 or so pages and it all fit together in the end. I also wanted more explanation of Frosty's actions and Gordon's actions at times, more of their thoughts or feelings. I was amazed at the racial issues and abuse issues tackled in this book but the best part was Nancy Turners descriptive ability to pull me in once again. My favorite line was this one about Frosty's realization of how racist her upbringing was, "The thought casme to me like a revelation of sorts, that all the world would be better if people were blind. Everyone. Or if we could always have a huge war or something to work against, so that people could just sing and eat fudge in their living rooms with anyone they wanted to". Good stuff.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Morton

    I had a hard time trying to decide how I felt about this book. It definitely was nothing like "These Is My Words." It was a totally different story and was a bit darker. I thought the story line and the writing were really good. However, it seemed like the editor stopped reading about 2/3 of the way through the book. All of the sudden there were things happening that didn't make any sense. A couple's baby suddenly shows up when previously she was pregnant and then it goes back to her being pregn I had a hard time trying to decide how I felt about this book. It definitely was nothing like "These Is My Words." It was a totally different story and was a bit darker. I thought the story line and the writing were really good. However, it seemed like the editor stopped reading about 2/3 of the way through the book. All of the sudden there were things happening that didn't make any sense. A couple's baby suddenly shows up when previously she was pregnant and then it goes back to her being pregnant. Then everyone keeps talking about Gordon being missing, when he had just been at dinner with everyone. This kind of left a bad taste in my mouth because I thought the beginning and middle of the book were really good, and then it all just fell apart in the end. I read the first edition, so I don't know if there were new editions that fixed these problems to make the story flow better.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I liked this book. I didn't like this book. I wanted to give it three stars, but felt that would be unfair, that it deserved more. I've read other Nancy Turner books, and in my opinion, thought her writing was better in the other books. Whether it was her purpose or not in "The Water and the Blood" there were times the author left out critical details to help the reader get who and what. The story was heartbreaking and heartwarming. I'm not sure I will ever understand how "civilized" humans can I liked this book. I didn't like this book. I wanted to give it three stars, but felt that would be unfair, that it deserved more. I've read other Nancy Turner books, and in my opinion, thought her writing was better in the other books. Whether it was her purpose or not in "The Water and the Blood" there were times the author left out critical details to help the reader get who and what. The story was heartbreaking and heartwarming. I'm not sure I will ever understand how "civilized" humans can think of and treat so cruelly those with different colored skin. But how wonderful to know there are those who can see beyond color. I do recommend this book and you decided if you like it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lorrie

    Ms Turner would be hard-pressed to write anything that surpasses her amazing These Is My Words series. This book did come up a bit short. The story was pretty slow in the first half of the book, but it picked up significantly in the last half. I felt so disgusted with Frosty's family as I finished the book. I didn't care for the ending; I wanted to read about Sheriff Moultrie's reaction to Frosty's letter as well as the reaction of everyone else in this bigoted town. Since the first half of the Ms Turner would be hard-pressed to write anything that surpasses her amazing These Is My Words series. This book did come up a bit short. The story was pretty slow in the first half of the book, but it picked up significantly in the last half. I felt so disgusted with Frosty's family as I finished the book. I didn't care for the ending; I wanted to read about Sheriff Moultrie's reaction to Frosty's letter as well as the reaction of everyone else in this bigoted town. Since the first half of the book was so drawn out (unnecessarily so IMO), I could only give this book 4 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    This was beautiful! I really appreciate the fact that Nancy Turner didn't fall into the trap so many authors fall into and write something too similar to what they've had success with in the past. This was completely different from These is My Words, but just as rich in themes and beautiful in writing. I liked it at least as well as These is My Words, maybe better.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erin Sorensen

    This book is written in a different style, but I liked how eventually all the pieces fall together. Sometimes I don't believe people can be as close-minded and prejudiced as the characters in this book, but I guess in other times people were. I was sad when it was over.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    As soon as I started this book, I remembered that I had read it before. While it's not as good as Nancy Turner's other books (These is My Words, etc.), I enjoyed it. I was happy to read it a second time.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    It took me about a hundred pages to really get into the book but it was well worth it. Nancy Turner can spin a tale! I couldn't put this book down after I got into it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lee Bradley

    A review of Nancy E. Turner's "The Water and the Blood" This is the story of Frosty Summers, a young girl growing up in Sabine Texas in the 1940s. It begins with a description of a fire. A "Nigra" church is burned to the ground. It was set by Frosty's friend Coby Brueller. She and other friends are there and are dragged into the terrible deed. Tracking down who caused this fire is taken on by Sheriff John Moultrie. The book ends with a Baptist church fire. Moultrie is able to connect the two even A review of Nancy E. Turner's "The Water and the Blood" This is the story of Frosty Summers, a young girl growing up in Sabine Texas in the 1940s. It begins with a description of a fire. A "Nigra" church is burned to the ground. It was set by Frosty's friend Coby Brueller. She and other friends are there and are dragged into the terrible deed. Tracking down who caused this fire is taken on by Sheriff John Moultrie. The book ends with a Baptist church fire. Moultrie is able to connect the two events through a letter Summers, after much soul searching, writes. Sabine County is a working class area. World War II has started and many of the young men are drafted. Frosty and other girlfriends want to extract themselves from Sabine for a variety of reasons. Her critical mother is set against her traveling to California to work for the war effort. Frosty meets Gordon Benali in California, a Navajo Indian and a Marine who works as a translator. This is a fictional story but the important role played by these "code talkers" is well known. They eventually fall love. His ethnicity and the deeply ingrained prejudices of her parents and friends for any nonwhite person plays a critical role in the book. The differences between her Baptist, church-centric upbringing and his Native American background make their relationship very difficult. The depth of hypocrisy on her family's side and the warmth and strength of his relatives and friends don't mix well. The horrors of war are made very clear when we learn about Gordon's and Coby's encounters with the Japanese and Germans. A letter Coby writes before he dies plays a crucial role in resolving both church fires. I liked the book a lot. I didn't think it was as well written as Turner's first and third books (involving the diaries of Sarah Prine). The evolution of the love affair is profound and the resolution of all the issues they have kept me interested till the very end of the book. Lee Bradley 3/24/17

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Grunbeck

    2020 seems to fit In light of all our country is facing, this book puts into perspective racism in all ways. The story takes places at the beginning of America’s involvement in WW II as a small town Texas girl (Frosty) leaves all she knows to head to CA to help work in the factories for the war effort. She is now working with all different people and is understanding that we are not different from each other, like she had been brought up believing. She falls in love with a Marine but he leaves on 2020 seems to fit In light of all our country is facing, this book puts into perspective racism in all ways. The story takes places at the beginning of America’s involvement in WW II as a small town Texas girl (Frosty) leaves all she knows to head to CA to help work in the factories for the war effort. She is now working with all different people and is understanding that we are not different from each other, like she had been brought up believing. She falls in love with a Marine but he leaves on duty and because he is a Navajo his mission is secret because of their language. Frosty returns home only to find she can not stay. Follow her through decisions that lead her back to CA and to the life she was meant to have while finding forgiveness in her heart for herself from the past.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Johnson

    I have enjoyed this book immensely, just as I have all of Nancy Turners books. This one takes place just prior to WWII, during the war years and beyond. A southern young woman leaves her home to work in a factory in LA making machine guns. She meets and makes friends with a group of young women of diverse races and parts of the U.S. Broadening her world and ideas from world she grew up in and knew. She gets and falls in love with a young Marine who is back recovering from serious wounds and bein I have enjoyed this book immensely, just as I have all of Nancy Turners books. This one takes place just prior to WWII, during the war years and beyond. A southern young woman leaves her home to work in a factory in LA making machine guns. She meets and makes friends with a group of young women of diverse races and parts of the U.S. Broadening her world and ideas from world she grew up in and knew. She gets and falls in love with a young Marine who is back recovering from serious wounds and being a captive of the Japanese... The Marine is a Navajo Native American. He is a Code Talker.... that is the beginning storyline... the rest I will leave you to discover. It is a great story of great trials and tribulations of a mixed race couple.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    It was difficult to rate this book. I feel somewhat ambivalent about it. I hate to mark it "I didn't like it" but I also hate to say I like it. At about the 15% mark while reading it I stopped and checked reviews by other readers. I was ready to abandon the book but so many reviewers praised Turner's other books that I stayed with it. There is a good story in here but it is buried under numerous characters that come and go and don't really add much to the narrative but do make it confusing to the It was difficult to rate this book. I feel somewhat ambivalent about it. I hate to mark it "I didn't like it" but I also hate to say I like it. At about the 15% mark while reading it I stopped and checked reviews by other readers. I was ready to abandon the book but so many reviewers praised Turner's other books that I stayed with it. There is a good story in here but it is buried under numerous characters that come and go and don't really add much to the narrative but do make it confusing to the reader. The story is about war, racial prejudice, and what really constitutes a family. Sections of it are truly lyrical but many of the characters are not developed fully and parts of the shifts back and forth in time are often confusing. I did finish but it was an effort.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Quotable: I truly thought that to be a southern belle meant to wear the bell-shaped dresses where your legs became a clapper and the gown swung around you prettily as you walked up and down stairs. California is full of skirt-chasing movie actors and Republicans. Some people said the Klan was dead, or at least asleep. But as long as American citizens like him cared about their families, it would live. (character: Marty Haliburton) Cars were inherently against the will of God. Sinful. A woman driving Quotable: I truly thought that to be a southern belle meant to wear the bell-shaped dresses where your legs became a clapper and the gown swung around you prettily as you walked up and down stairs. California is full of skirt-chasing movie actors and Republicans. Some people said the Klan was dead, or at least asleep. But as long as American citizens like him cared about their families, it would live. (character: Marty Haliburton) Cars were inherently against the will of God. Sinful. A woman driving was the same as a woman preaching, simply not an ordained function. Stop saying that everyone’s soul is in danger of hell every time their opinion differs from yours.

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