Please read on to learn about The Ways of Water by author Teresa H. Janssen.
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About the Book:
As Josie Belle Gore, daughter of a Louisiana train engineer and Texas seamstress, journeys with her itinerant family through the deserts of the boom-and-bust American West and revolutionary Mexico, she learns that in her life, two things are constant: water is precious, and her role in her family is to save it.
When unforeseeable events force the separation of her family, Josie begins an odyssey that takes her from New Mexico’s Jornada del Muerto to Bisbee, Tucson, Los Angeles, and finally post-WWI San Francisco—experiencing betrayal, pandemic, and survivor’s guilt, as well as the compassion and generosity of friends and strangers, along the way.
Once she lands in San Francisco, like a river meeting the sea, Josie has nowhere else to run—and she realizes that she must make peace with the past and good on her promise to the family she loves. Inspired by the author’s family lore, The Ways of Water is a lyrical tale of loss, hope, and forgiveness set in the rugged beauty of the turn-of-the-century Southwest that, like Josie, is growing up in fits and starts.
About the Author:
Teresa H. Janssen is a career educator, essayist, and author of short fiction whose writing has appeared in a variety of literary journals, including Zyzzyva, Catamaran, and Chautauqua. The Ways of Water is her debut novel. She attended Gonzaga and the University of Washington where she received an M.A. in Linguistics. She resides on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula.
You can purchase The Ways of Water on Amazon.com
2023 Best Book Awards Winner in Fiction: Western
“Reading this book is like reading a diary, with each cherished location and character lovingly described. The reader is immersed in the harshness of living an itinerant life and is shown the quiet beauty that exists in the desert and that can be found even in the most dysfunctional of families.”
“…Josie is a sharp, perceptive lead….Nostalgia overlays the eloquent family saga The Ways of Water, in which a girl is hastened toward independence by tragedy.”
“Janssen writes in Josie’s voice, which allows readers to get to know her as a brave, complicated woman, and witnessing her growth as a confident person is an engaging experience…Janssen creates a believable West.”
“This story flows with twists and turns much like those of a river…The authentic voice, rich sensory imagery, and often lyrical, poetic language create an emotional and descriptive feast.”
—Chanticleer Book Reviews, 5/5 STARS
“Teresa H. Janssen’s beautifully written historical novel captures your heart. With its vivid description, sensuous and poetic detail, you are at one with Josie Belle on every curve and dip of her path. You feel the sting of desert sand on your face and smell the sweet lavender in a baby’s bath. But mostly, you are touched by the strength of Josie’s family and their bond of love which holds them close, if not always in space but in heart. This is a breathtaking story, exquisitely told, that you will not forget.”
—Anne Brooker James, author of The Marsh Bird
“Janssen’s love of her subject radiates in every line of this immersive coming-of-age tale. Spanning the dizzying cycles of boom and bust in the early twentieth century Southwest, the novel is packed with historical detail. . . . Like a riverbed that dries up and refills, the Gore family must first be torn asunder before it can be made whole again. A precarious life is limned with great care and great heart—and with prose that often verges on the poetic.”
—Laurel Davis Huber, award-winning author of The Velveteen Daughter
“From its captivating beginning to its redemptive end, Teresa H. Janssen’s immersive debut, The Ways of Water, weaves a tale of heartache and joy based on family history set in the American Southwest in the early 20th century. Josie Belle Gore embodies every young girl’s fears, curiosities, and dreams as she navigates an often-hostile environment and often-volatile family life. One can’t help but cheer for her as she overcomes hardships and failure, time and again, on the road (or the rails) to maturity.A five-star debut.”
—Ashley E. Sweeney, author of Hardland
“In the vein of William Kent Krueger’s This Tender Land, Teresa H. Janssen seamlessly transports readers into an expertly crafted yesteryear of her grandmother, Josie Belle Gore. As the rivers, creeks and streams flow throughout this land, so too, does Janssen’s narrative, recreating the remote, untamed beauty of a region, and the harsh and oftentimes difficult way of life long-past. Janssen honors her grandmother with this exceptional account of the triumph and bravery of a singular young girl who grows into a woman as she makes her own way in the American Southwest.”
—Donna Everhart, author of The Saints of Swallow Hill
“Teresa H. Janssen draws a riveting story that I could not put down. It is reminiscent of Jeannette Walls’s Half Broke Horses and Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds. The prose is exceptional… The imagery is breathtakingly vivid. …But it is the fully fleshed-out characters that will grab the reader and refuse to release them, even long after the reading is complete. I look forward to more from this exciting debut author.”
—Adele Holmes, M.D., author of Winter’s Reckoning
“The enlightening story of a courageous young woman, Josie Belle Gore, and her family as they struggle to survive in the early 1900’s of the America West, where “moving from place to place seemed as natural as the motion of the sun and the moon,” as they searched for the next possibility of home. Engrossing and unsettling, this riveting and beautifully told story held my attention from the first vivid page to the last. The Way of Water is a stunning debut!”
—Anna Quinn, author of The Night Child and Angeline
“Building on family lore and deep research, Teresa H. Janssen’s The Ways of Water is a young woman’s poignant coming-of-age story that reveals a fascinating slice of early 20th century life in the American West.”
—Margaret Rosenberg, author of Finding Napoleon: A Novel
“Teresa H. Janssen’s lyrical writing style, narrative voice, and impressive powers of description offer a slice-of-life history lesson that, like all good story-telling, never feels like a lesson. Though faced with daunting hardship, the novel’s protagonist, Josie, never loses her determination or sense of self, offering a character worth rooting for. A compelling read for anyone who enjoys thoughtful, well-researched historical fiction.”
—Suzanne Moyers, award-winning author, ‘Til All These Things Be Done
“In this highly emotional and intimate story, the reader is fully engaged in Josie’s personal life and exploits, with numerous negative twists and positive turns.”
—Historical Novel Society