Benjamin Church came to the grange hall expecting to meet someone else, but then the girl in a red dress looked across the dance floor and smiled…
Passing through Perfect is a heart-wrenching, Southern family saga that starts on the night Benjamin fell madly and completely in love with Delia. Once he tasted the sweetness of her kiss, he envisioned them spending the rest of their life together.
He didn’t stop to consider her daddy was a learned Pastor and her mama a woman with a college degree; he only knew she set his heart to racing. When he touched his mouth to hers, he forgot the hardships of being a sharecropper, forgot what it was like to work from dawn ‘til dark and forgot that nothing in Grinder’s Corner ever really changed.
Benjamin’s only thoughts were about lying together every night, sitting side by side on the front porch, and raising a family. Yes, he knew there’d be heartaches. Every couple had their share of heartaches, it was to be expected; but he never imagined such a tragedy would befall their family.
Winner of the 2016 RONE Award for Inspirational Fiction and the 2016 Readers Favorite Gold Medal.
USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby's books are "Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances." - Midwest Book Review
The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby's writing is, "A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures."
Samantha from Reader's Favorite raves, "Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down."
"Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write."
It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win twenty awards for her work; these include: The Royal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, Reader's Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer's Choice Award.
Crosby's published works to date are: Blueberry Hill (2014), Previously Loved Treasures (2014), Jubilee's Journey (2013), What Matters Most (2013), The Twelfth Child (2012), Life in the Land of IS (2012), Cracks in the Sidewalk (2011), Spare Change (2011). A Cupid inspired romance, Wishing for Wonderful, is scheduled for release in November 2014 and Book Three of The Wyattsville Series, Passing through Perfect, will be be available in January 2015.
When I need a book to restore my wellbeing I turn to a Bette Lee Crosby book. The latest read is Passing through Perfect. The story starts in 1946 and the war is over. Benjamin Church returns home to Alabama, to find little has changed. Grinder’s Corner is much as it has always been. But when Benjamin attends a Harvest Festival in Twin Pines and meet Delia his life is changed forever. Her father, a pastor, wants more than just a poor sharecropper for his daughter. But nothing can keep Benjamin and Delia apart. They are blessed with a home with Otis, Benjamin’s father and then a child. Life is filled with hard work but bearable because of Delia. Until the night that changes everything. I quickly became involved in the story of Benjamin, Delia, their son Isaac and Otis, who Delia calls Daddy Church. Being set in the South racial bigotry plays a big part in the story. It is evident much of the time, especially when tragedy strikes. Like all of humanity there are people who focus on one thing only - the colour of a person’s skin and those who are able to look past that colour barrier to who the person is in their heart and what they do. Some moments had me smiling, others made me angry or in tears. So easy to get emotionally involved in this story because it is so well told. Bette Lee Crosby has a unique way of telling a story. I liked catching up with a few others from an earlier book in this series - like getting together with old friends. As with most of the Bette Lee Crosby books I have read, I adored this. It left me feeling good at the end and was precisely the type of book I needed to read to restore my equilibrium. Another excellent five star read from one of my favourite authors who never fails to engage me. I simply could not put this down.
Benjamin Church had spent four years away from home during the war years; now it was 1946 and he was heading for his family farm at Grinder’s Corner. He’d heard his Mama had passed away from a scrawled note by his father, but he didn’t expect the change in Otis when he finally arrived at the farm. He had walked from the bus in town and had expected things to look different after all that time – but nothing in his small area of Alabama looked any different.
The farm was run down so Benjamin set to work to plant crops and harvest the proceeds – he wanted their farm to return to being as profitable a concern as it had been in the past. He also knew the work would help Otis recover from the death of his wife. Benjamin worked hard from sun up to sun down, and often longer and before long they began to see green shoots peeping above the soil…
The meeting of Benjamin and Delia at a harvest festival dance changed the course of their lives. Benjamin knew Delia was the one he wanted for his wife. But Delia’s daddy was a pastor and had higher hopes for his daughter than that of a poor farmer. Their marriage estranged Delia from her family but when Isaac entered Benjamin and Delia’s lives, their happiness was great.
But Benjamin often wondered whether someone like him deserved such happiness – and when tragedy struck his heart fractured in two. His life would never be the same again; would he ever know happiness without prejudice; without the racial hatred which followed him everywhere?
Passing Through Perfect is another excellent story by Bette Lee Crosby. The third and final in the Wyattsville series it was a thoroughly enjoyable read which focused on the horrors of the hatred between the whites and the coloured people in Alabama that dogged the country (and still does to some degree). Beautifully told with the usual great characters, I have no hesitation in highly recommending this and all of Crosby’s work.
With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review.
Passing Through Perfect is a historical fiction novel that is very well written. I honestly don't read a lot from this genre but this one was worth my time to read and I ended up enjoying the story.
Set in Alabama in the 1940s and 50s Passing Through Perfect is book three in the author's Wyattsville Series but reads just fine as a stand alone.
I connected with the characters in this story and rooted for them as they went through their trials and struggles. The story focuses on Benjamin Church a poor farmer who falls in love with the beautiful Delia. It chronicles the struggles they encounter as they face bigotry and discrimination from some along with friendship and acceptance from others. It is a heartwarming tale that shows both the good and bad found in mankind.
I wouldn't have picked this title up on my own. I have been interacting with the author for quite sometime and she finally convinced me I would enjoy this novel if I would just give it a chance. She was right.
Rating: 4.5 Stars - Highly Recommend to those who enjoy historical fiction
Content: some moderate language, a few crude comments and implied sex (basically just says they made love for the first time)
This is one of my favorite authors. I so remember the time when she approached me on GOODREADS and thought I might enjoy her books. She offered me Cracks in the sidewalk to read and review, since then I have been hooked on each book she writes.
Passing through Perfect.
I wondered why Bette Lee Crosby would come up with this title, I found out half way through the book. I sighed, yes I literally sighed when I saw where it came from. I also feel how true that can be in life, Passing through perfect. Think on it, not all our lives are perfect, but once [if we are lucky] maybe more than once, we pass through a time in our life that is just 'perfect'.
We are thrown back to the 1950's in Alabama. Whites and blacks are segregated. Own schools, one half of a part in a store for blacks [or as they called them all then 'coloreds'] no matter where they came from, all were classified as the same. Coloreds. Some shop windows had signs up where it read 'No coloreds' meaning no one other than white folk could enter.
I can honestly say, I hate reading about those times in history as I am not a racist.
The author brings this book to life right from the very first page. This is book 3, and it follows on brilliantly from book 2.
Benjamin Church returns home after millions of soldiers have been away fighting. We learn that Benjamin had hopes for learning how to become a pilot and fly his own plane, however, that didn't turn out that way, he did fall into becoming a mechanic though.
Upon Benjamin's return to Alabama and his home which is a farm off of a dirt track called Grinder's Corner he meets up with his father Otis. He can see his Father is ailing and heartbroken from the time he lost his wife and he feels it too, he misses his Mother. But things need to be done on the farm to get it bringing in money again, so Benjamin gets stuck in.
Soon there is a harvest festival which Benjamin attends. His father and a friend thought he might link up with a certain lady there, but although Benjamin danced with her and was very gentlemanly someone else caught his eye, it was Delia. Not all went smooth for them as you will find out when you read this.
I loved the Southern brawl within the chapters. It brings it home so well.
I really admire authors who write according to accents, according to realism and Bette Lee Crosby surely does this. Why try to use the Queens English on a person who comes from Ireland, Newcastle or indeed Alabama, keeping it real is part of why I adore this authors work.
Plus, I really love that accent too, I had a friend who spoke just like it, reading it was surely a treat to me.
Benjamin, how I loved Benjamin. A polite, feeling, loyal, kind, trustworthy guy with a deep roots of justice.
How he Fathered and was raising his son was a joy to read every step of the way.
I could get so carried away writing more and more of this story because there is so much in it.
There were several things I took away with me:
Black or white, there is good and bad within everyone.
Benjamin saw beyond certain ways of why people acted or reacted in ways not acceptable, and he knew when to be quiet.
His sense of quietness and humility came out so many times within this story.
The acceptance of "I am black, I cannot sit with white people at their table...." when invited. His staying at a bed and breakfast and finding one breakfast room and no split between tables. "Is this the only place to sit and eat breakfast"
This really humbled me, to think back as to how black [colored] folk were treated and the acceptance.
It was brilliantly handled by this author.
Great story, well handled and kept me rooted to my spot until I finished it.
I would like to thank Bette Lee Crosby for contacting me when she has her new books out for me to read. I so feel special in being able to read them.
+This is an unbiased review. Just because I get a book gifted to me I still write honest reviews on how the book made me feel or had what impression on me+
Passing Through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby is a trip back to a time when many believed the color of one’s skin was more important than the quality of one’s heart. Benjamin Church returned from his tour in World War II, a well-trained mechanic who had wanted to be a pilot, but one look at his skin and those in position held him back.
Now a poor farmer in Alabama, his world lit up again when he met Delia, a preacher’s daughter, with her love for life and sweet innocence. It was a coming together of two hearts that had their share of tough times and sorrow, but held strong to each other through life’s trials and broken dreams. One drunken man, one prejudiced world and Delia was gone, leaving Benjamin to raise his young son alone. This is the story of their journey to find happiness and a world where they would be accepted as humans with good hearts and something to offer the world. Would leaving the divided South be the answer? Are they ready to accept their place in a world where the color of a man’s skin meant less than the color of his heart? Will they pass through perfect to find exactly what they need? Is perfect just an ideal, while reality is what you make it?
Bette Lee Crosby’s world is one of the words of history actually coming to life in a much more personal way. Reading the cold and emotionless historical tomes could never imprint on one’s soul the way Ms. Crosby has with her heart-felt way of telling a story of a good man trying to make his way in a world that holds him back, until he begins to accept that where he is, is where he should stay. A parent’s dream for their child drove Benjamin to reach higher and accept help from others. Perhaps his brand of gratitude made each of the people whose lives he touched richer for having known him a as person. Through Bette Lee Crosby’s softly flowing words, her story unfolds like a blooming rose in a bed of flowers, but like a rose, there are thorns along the way to the beauty.
I received this copy from Bette Lee Crosby in exchange for my honest review.
Series: The Wyattsville Series Publication Date: January 14, 2015 Publisher: Bent Pine Publishing ISBN-10: 0996080341 ISBN-13: 978-0996080347 Genre: Historical Fiction Print Length: 254 pages Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble Reviewed for: http://tometender.blogspot.com
I read this book last week and then watched The Golden Globes Sunday night and though I have not seen the movie Selma yet, I thought all three of these things tied together nicely. With what has been happening around the country civil rights are still a huge issue even after all these years since that march from Selma to Montgomery. Rap singer Common said this in his speech as the Golden Globes when he won the award for Best Musical Score,
The first day I stepped on the set of Selma, I began to think this was bigger than a movie. As I got to know people of the civil rights movement, I realized: I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote; I am the caring white supporter, killed on the front lines of freedom; I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand but was instead given a bullet; I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. Selma has awakened my humanity.
Bette Lee Crosby’s Passing through Perfect takes us to Alabama when people of color entered only through the back door of white people’s houses and had separate bathrooms and water fountains. A time when colored people were not allowed in most stores. We have come past those times or have we. We have elected an African American President, but a portion of the country, including some members of Congress that do not support him because his father was a black man. We still have people who are being judged by the color of their skin by the police, by employers, by their neighbors. They are also judged by their economic status no matter what color their skin is. People living in poverty are considered lazy and living for government handouts.
All these things are in Crosby’s book. Benjamin and Delia are both black. Benjamin is a farmer and a veteran. Delia’s father is a preacher. He believes Benjamin is not good enough from his daughter. Love doesn’t matter. Delia has to make a huge sacrifice to be with the man she loves. Then she sees the other side of life for people of color. Not every town in like her home town of Twin Pines. Grinder’s Corner is so small that they need to go to a bigger city for supplies and there are only a few places she and Benjamin are even allowed to enter. Even when Benjamin heads North and reaches Wyattsville everyone is not thrilled by his arrival. It even pits neighbor against neighbor.
Crosby has written a powerful and moving story. Every story I have read by this author has stayed with long past the final word. There are spots that bring a smile and several that may cause you to shed a tear. Her characters are so engaging you immediately feel invested in their lives and you hope and pray they have better days ahead.
I also hope and pray that people today that are being judged and held back have better days ahead. That there will be income equality, a stronger middle class, less people living in poverty, great education everyone can afford and that we all have equal rights. We have come so far in so many ways but have taken great steps backward in others. I wonder what historical novels written about 2014 will say about equality. This book has really made me think about what future generations may have to say. What stories will a future Bette Lee Crosby write?
I received this book from the author for my honest review. This is the second book I've read by Bette Lee Crosby. I think I enjoyed it even a little bit more than the first one I read, Spare Change. Set in a time period I love, the 1940s, it is the tale of Benjamin, a man of honor and integrity. He returns from the war, to find the love of his life, Delia. Their love story is sweet, and I admired the way he treasured her. It's the way we, as women, all want to be loved. There are heartaches and loss along the way, and Benjamin, and his son, Isaac travel north to meet a kind, generous, loving family, the Klaussens. This is a good, heart warming story I will reccomend to my friends. I look forward to more from this author!
I would like to start with the cover. Bette Lee Crosby’s cover gives you a glimpse of the story inside. Her sweet, southern charm comes through the pages and wraps around me with loving arms. Passing Through Perfect brought forth so many emotions that I kept my tissues at my side. That is not unusual for a Bette Lee novel. With each novel in the Wyattsville series I say it is the best, but the best one is the next one.
The story includes chapters of the characters thoughts and feelings – Benjamin, Delia, Camella, Sidney and Martha’s. We get an up close and personal invitation to share their lives. The characters had me crying for them, yelling for them, wanting to protect and shelter them from all the harsh realities of life.
The story takes place in Grinders Corner, a small town in Alabama.
Benjamin Church came home from war, to see nothing had changed. Benjamin had thought of being a mechanic. He had learned to repair almost anything mechanical during his time in the service. This is a time in history where the shift was from working for yourself to working for someone else. But, he knew he would be a farmer like his father and his father before him. He is a sharecroppers son and the world did not look kindly on blacks in 1946.
The landowner, Sylvester Crane, is a sorry excuse for a human being.
Benjamen’s dad struggles after the loss of his wife. Sometimes when a mate dies, the other person is not far behind. Do they lose their will to live?
Everything in Grinders Corner is the same for Benjamin, until he lays eyes on Delia.
Delia is a preachers daughter. Her father heads the New Unity Church. She has a zest for life and it was love at first sight for Benjamin. I guess we can see where this is going. He courted her in the proper manner, with courtesy and respect. Ben’s love is strong, gentle and true.
The preacher had a holier than thou attitude and looked down his nose at Benjamin. He didn’t think Benjamin was good enough for his Delia. Don’t a lot of parents think that way, even if their child is grown? Our kids are always our kids and we want the best for them. On the other hand, as kids, our parents are our heroes.
“You made your bed, now lie in it.” Have you ever heard those words?
Bette’s descriptions of the simplest things brings the times and people to life, their sorrow and pain, their joy and happiness. I can picture Benjamin standing in front of the deputy with his weather beaten straw hat in hand and his eyes looking down at the floor.
Bette talks about the sun and heat of the south. If you have not experienced it, you will find it hard to feel the intensity of the suns rays as they beat down on you, the thickness of the muggy air as you struggle to draw breath and the fact that you are soaked to the skin shortly after stepping outside. The heat builds during the day and it is not unusual for there to be afternoon rain.
In the 1940s, bigotry and racial hatred was in your face. Go to the back door. For Whites Only. No Coloreds.
I know it’s coming and I ruefully wait for the hammer to fall. And it does. Tragically.
People sometimes find themselves not really living, just getting through. There is heartwrenching sorrow and despair. Overriding guilt. Life isn’t fair! Is the grass greener on the other side?
“It ain’t the preaching that makes a man godly, its the doing.”
I get to page 91 and tears form in my eyes, but I will not let them fall. SO SAD. We all handle grief and loss in our own way. I am reading through teary eyes, but I can’t stop. With Bette’s writing, I knew this would break my heart, but she will not leave me feeling lost. She will help me find my way. She will show me that people are more good than bad. They will give, even when they don’t have much of their own.
“I can’t be thinking of how much I lost, I gotta be thinking of how much I still got.”
Well, what can I say. I am pretty much teary eyed through the rest of the story.
“Sometimes life provided opportunities to reach out and make a difference, and when that happened a man worth his salt had to step up to the challenge.”
“Are we out brother’s keeper’s?”
The saying – It Takes A Village – answers that question.
“Folks don’t live in PERFECT, they just get to pass through every so often.” What a wonderful statement.
Amazing writing and it stuns me that this genre of book can affect me so deeply. I am more of the action, shoot ‘em up, creatures chasing me variety.
Even though Bette’s books end happily, with a warm and comfortable feeling, there are bumps and jolts throughout. My feelings for Benjamin were anger and rage, sadness and despair, happiness and . He was a better person than I. He dealt with his responsibilities in an intelligent, loving and gentle way, sacrificing for others and doing the right thing. You can choose which you want to be – bigoted and angry or laughing and loving.
Very thought provoking and the book will stick with me long after reading it.
I received a copy in return for an honest and unbiased review.
Wyattsville Series, Book 3, an inspiring story and gripping series (the best yet), assured to win your heart, and one you will not soon forget. When a twist of fate intersects, and hearts of compassion unite among races, delivering a powerful and emotional story of love and loss.
For fans of To Kill a Mockingbird, The Help, Julie Kibler’s, Calling Me Home, David Johnson's, The Tucker Series, Catherine Hyde, Wiley Cash or the many early southern books of Charles Martin (my all-time favorite author), this book is for you! A heartfelt novel of bigotry, racial injustice, and poverty, set in the late 40’s and 50s in the Deep South, in rural Alabama.
Following World War II, African-American Benjamin returns to his hometown of Grinder’s Corner to find everything is still the same – a hole in the road. His father is a proud farmer, a good man who has lost his wife and now his only son has returned to offer his help and support. He wanted to leave this poor hometown good-bye and be an engineer or mechanic of aircraft; however, he knows this will never happen.
Benjamin is no longer concerned about the future and career he once dreamed of. The responsibility of taking care of his father and the farm is his top priority and he is not afraid to get his hands dirty. However, he attends a local dance with his father and some friends, and meets the girl of his dreams. He falls in love quickly and knows this is his wife and future.
However, her dad is the pastor and his heart is not so giving, to a poor farmer. Forcing her out and now Benjamin shoulders the responsibility for his dad, his new wife, and a baby (s) on the way. However, when rough times come, and the farming dries up, there is nothing to do but pick up and move from all he knows and loves.
Before this occurs there are many tests of patience, sadness and grief as Benjamin wonders why God is allowing this to happen, after the night when he loses part of what is most precious to him in a corrupt world of injustice. On the road from Alabama to Pennsylvania he passes through what later seems like Perfect and his life is about to change in ways he never dreamed possible. (priceless)
Bette is a master storyteller of tales of the south, stories of triumph over tragedy, and faith. PASSING THROUGH PERFECT tops the charts! Having had the opportunity to read the other books in the series: Spare Change (#1) and Jubilees Journey (#2), highly recommend all; filled with characters you come to love and cherish as if neighbors, friends, and family.
I would recommend reading the series in order, as you will meet up with Jubilee and Paul the orphan brother and sister team, and their adopted parents, (wonderful people you meet in Book #2,who will make you laugh and cry), for a powerful twist of fate and love bringing these two families together (about sixty percent through the book).
One of the best books I have read this year, PASSING THROUGH PERFECT will warm your heart with this love story crossing many genres from Alabama to Pennsylvania as Benjamin Church and his son, Isaac find their path to happiness and acceptance.
Fans of historical fiction,women's fiction, romance, drama, Christian, and suspense, you will enjoy Crosby's writing. We never know who, what and where. God puts people in our path at just the right time, as He has a bigger plan in mind than we as humans can conceive.
A special thank you to the author for an early reading copy in exchange for an honest review. A treasured gem. Not only are her books engaging and insightful, she is a genuine and lovely person and enjoy connecting with her through social media. If you have not read her books, you are missing out on a rare treat!
received a free kindle copy of Passing through Perfect: Memory House Collection (The Wyattsville Series Book 3) by Bette Lee Crosby in a goodreads promotion. I gave this beautifully written novel five stars.
It is a painful book to read for a former southern resident. I lived with people who acted out of ignorance the same as some of the people in Bakerstown. In the town where I lived there were two water fountains in the county courthouse with signs above them, 'white' or 'colored'. When I was six my grandmother pulled me away by the hair when I drank from the 'colored' fountain & told me never to do that again. Many years later I returned to the courthouse & the two fountains were still there. The signs had been removed but the stone wall had faded so you could still see where the signs had been. I guess it takes a long time to heal ignorance & hate.
In this story, Otis Church, father of Benjamin talked about losing his wife. "When the heart of a man gets pulled loose he starts dying. I started dying a year ago, and I’m still working on it. I ain’t going all at once; I’m going piece by piece. If you was to see me pushing the plow or chopping wood, you’d figure me a whole person—a heaving, hauling, hard of muscle and stinking of sweat man. But the truth is I ain’t been whole since this same day last year."
Describing Sylvester Crane, the landowner where Otis leased the property he farmed: "'He ain't gonna be happy no way. Long as I been on this earth, I never seen that man smile. Not once.' Otis gave his head a worrisome shake. 'A body like him's got everything to be glad about & he ain't glad about nothing. Seems God ought to give second thought to how He's handing out blessings'."
Delia Finch met Benjamin at a dance. They met secretly & fell in love. Her father, George was a preacher but not a forgiving man. He drove her away when she wanted to marry Benjamin. Her mother, Mary, slipped her twelve dollars & her grandmother's wedding band.
Delia & Benjamin moved in with Otis on the farm. Their son Isaac gave them joy. But living on a farm in Grinder's Corner sometimes was difficult. "It's a lot of making do & doing without."
Her father disowned her in spite of his being a so-called man of God. He also kept her mother tightly under control & forbid her to visit her daughter & grandson.
After her Mama & later Otis died, "Delia wore her sorrow like a heavy grey cloak wrapped around her shoulders. She gave up visiting friends & moved through the days like a snail without purpose."
She finally reached the point where she realized, "I can't be thinking of how much I lost, I gotta be thinking about how much I still got."
Describing a situation that took place, Paul said, "That kind of hatred is a terrible thing. It corrupts people from the inside out. Boils on the skin are better than bigotry. At least you can lance the boil & get the poison out. With bigotry there's nothing you can do."
It was a poignantly haunting book that made memories resurface of injustices. It portrayed a time that was difficult to look at, even after many years have passed. I highly recommend this page turning book.
I have a new favorite writer! Just like reading John Steinbeck's, East of Eden, or Harper Lee's, To Kill A Mockingbird, this story is a tale of epic proportions! It's about Benjamin. Benjamin has such a life, but it's full of perseverance, and an admirable one in the end. Or rather, his life wasn't admirable, Benjamin himself was. I got choked up so many times throughout this book. There were even a couple times I had to put the Kindle down and come back later. It was a couple of tough moments to read. I couldn't imagine if it was someones' life, and having to live it. Oh no. And see, that's the thing. That magic thing. Bette Lee Crosby creates characters and stories that feel so real, so alive, that you can't help but become emotionally invested. I hadn't read anything of hers before, and yes, this is book 3 in a series. It is very easily read as a standalone. I didn't feel I missed a thing. I can't wait to read more from her too. I'm hooked!
I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I cannot say enough about this author. This is by far my favorite book she has written. The intense emotional journey that Benjamin Church goes on is gripping and compelling. You can feel Bette's southern flair for writing in each of her books, but rooted in Alabama during a time of racial inequality, this book will grab a hold of you and make you feel like you are a character in the book. An excellent addition to the Wyattsville series by one of my favorite storytellers. Kudos on my favorite book so far this year.
If you have not yet taken the time to read her books, I would highly recommend them.
Passing through Perfect is a book that will touch you in so many ways. Laughter, tears, anger, love.. It has it all.
Benjamin Church arrived home from WWll, where he worked on planes and other things that needed to be repaired. His mother had passed away while he was gone and his dad, Otis, is all he has left. He's a hard working man who never takes time for himself. That is until his dad talks him into going to a dance. What Benjamin does not know is that his life will change forever that night.
He meets the woman he knows he is going to marry, Delia. She's a preacher's daughter and her dad is very protective. When Benjamin and Delia tell him they are to be married and she is going to have a baby he banishes her from his life forever. Of course Delia is devastated and hopes for years that he will change his mind.
They have one child, Isaac, who is the love of her life. She wants him to have every chance he can and knows in the South that will not happen. Too much prejudice against black people. After Otis dies and Delia is killed by a white man Benjamin takes Isaac and leaves Alabama. He is going somewhere North to find a better life for his son and himself.
This book will touch your heart in ways that you will never forget. There are ups and downs along the way. Prejudice seems to be everywhere. Hatred towards a man who only wants to work hard and make a life for him and his son. Of course not everyone is bad. They run into some wonderful people who treat them like family. Who helps Benjamin get a great job and life so he can give Isaac the life that Delia always dreamed he would have.
Told from different points of view you will see how things were in the South in the 50's. Not a good time to be a black man in a white man's world.
It made me stop and think about how things have changed in some ways and remained the same in others. In this year, 2015, it is hard to believe that there is still such prejudice and hatred towards a person because they are different. It makes me wonder if things will ever change. I certainly hope so.
If you want to read a story that will stay with you for a long long time and make you laugh, cry, feel anger, sadness and happiness you have to read this book. The third book in the Wyattsville series. It can be a stand alone but is much much better if you read the first two before this one. Some of the characters from the other books are in this one and the way they are weaved into the story is no surprise to me. Bette Lee Crosby has a way of telling a story that makes you feel like you are there. You feel it all.
The title is PERFECT too. It is told in the story in a way that brought a big smile to my face.
Another 5 star book... I hated for this one to end!!!
(4.5 Stars) I must admit that this is not a book that I would normally pick up. However, I have heard really good things about the author and when I was approached to review it, I agreed. I was absolutely blown away at how good it was. It's Book 3 in the series and I never once felt lost or confused--it definitely stands alone. The characters were very well developed and the plot portrayed life in the Deep South just after WWII in a very realistic way. My emotions were tugged all over the place. I was surprised to find that prejudices didn't always occur between blacks and whites, but even between blacks and blacks and whites and whites.
Benjamin is a very stable, loyal, hard-working, upstanding citizen and man. Almost from the first, beautiful Delia catches his eye and after one night, he's hooked. She was raised in better conditions, but doesn't hesitate to follow her heart, no matter the cost. I love the way Delia makes the best of situations. I love her character and her determination to shoot for the stars.
I love the emphasis on close family relationships and friendships. The importance for having good core values and strong characteristics is really prevalent. This story is woven with love, racial tensions and injustices, as well as forgiveness and acceptance. There is so much feeling placed in each situation and character and I was deeply moved.
Content: moderate language; romance (implied intimate situations--just says they made love with no details given); mild violence (death, discrimination--not graphic); mild religious elements (religious people, but not preachy).
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*
Passing Through Perfect is such a great read, have the tissues handy, there will be tears. This story takes place in the deep south, Alabama, beginning at the close of WWII, and at first I didn’t realize that the main character was black, and as the story progresses, we walk in his shoes, and meet prejudice head on. Our journey is walking mainly in Benjamin’s shoes, yes we hear from Delia, his love and wife, and a few others along the way. We go with Benjamin as he struggles and then has a large success on his farm, but farming is not always kind. We are with him as he goes from one job to the next and on wards to support his family. The man is a moving machine, and is work ethic is to be admired. We also meet people from previous books, I have not read the other two in this series, but believe me if they are anything like this one, they are on my list. There are some very ironic and parallel forms of prejudice show here, on being what Hitler did first to the Jewish people. Once you pick this one up and turn the first page you won’t be able to put it down, these people are so real, and the story seems so genuine. My heart broke at some of the happenings, and there is no justice shown, at least not in this world. There are some wonderful laugh out loud chuckles that will linger with me, and I told those who weren’t reading the book. They struck me a funny! If you want a real human story, this one is for you, and I want more. I want to be Ben’s world!
I received this book I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Blog Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
PASSING THROUGH PERFECT is another perfectly wonderful novel by Bette Lee Crosby. Ms. Crosby is a master storyteller.
Her books grab your attention, reel you in, and won't let you go. Her books are always ones that are difficult to put down. PASSING THROUGH PERFECT is no exception. Ms. Crosby's books always have a cozy feeling, always remind you of what is important in life, and always have something to ponder.
The main characters in PASSING THROUGH PERFECT, Benjamin and Delia, are hard-working farmers even though Delia thinks Benjamin can do better. We follow Benjamin and Delia from their giddy, in-love young years to their mature love and are with them as they endure the hardships of being black and living in the South in the 1940's.
Ms. Crosby's characters ooze with authenticity in this book and all of her books. The characters in PASSING THROUGH PERFECT are all lovable and warm. You will share their sorrows and their joys as they experience them. You will be drawn into their lives and into the story and will be living the story along with the characters. You will cry along with the characters, and you will also be happy for them when they are happy.
Don't miss reading yet another marvelous book by Ms. Crosby. 5/5
This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by Ms. Crosby in return for an honest review.
I was provided an ARC of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This book was an absolute pleasure to read. It is without a doubt one of the very best books I have read this year. It grabbed me from the start and didn’t let go. It was captivating and authentic to time and place.
Although the book is part of a series, it is easily enjoyed as a standalone book. All of the books in the series are quality reads but this is the best so far. I struggle to find words to adequately describe my feelings for this book. It is a powerful and moving story.
I found myself emotionally attached to the characters in this book quite quickly. It didn’t take me long to develop a deep respect and admiration for Benjamin. He was a hard-working man with dignity and integrity. His journey was difficult but it did not make him a hard or resentful man and it very well could have.
I highly recommend this book. Bette has a special talent for storytelling. She understands that there is ugliness in humanity and doesn’t shy away from integrating this reality into her stories in a masterful way. Not only is she an extremely talented author but she shows genuine respect and values her readers.
Book Review & Giveaway: We’re participating in the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop and I can’t think of a more heartwarming novel to feature as our giveaway than bestselling and award-winning Bette Lee Crosby’s new addition to the Wyattsville series, Passing through Perfect. As with the prior two novels in this series, you can read it as a stand-alone novel; however, I strongly suspect, once you’ve read it, you’re going to go back and read the first two as well. This series is southern historical fiction at its best.
Like the first two novels in the series, Passing through Perfect doesn’t shy away from the hard truths about what it was like to live in the South in the mid-20th century. Warning: This one will really touch your heart. I’m so happy Bette has provided us with an autographed copy of Passing through Perfect to offer in our giveaway at http://popcornreads.com/?p=8050.
“Perfect ain’t a place,” he said. “It’s a time when everything’s good and we’re happy. Folks don’t live in perfect, they just get to pass through every so often.” – Benjamin.
I liked this novel by Bette Lee Crosby so much that I finished it in two days. I recommend to those who enjoy southern fiction.
The novel transports the reader to 1946, a time when life was not easy in the South for a black family. It serves as a reminder of the hardships and discrimination they endured during a dark time in US history. What a great story with major characters that I grew to love and empathize with. Benjamin and Delia were lucky to have found each other and raised their boy Isaac right. Their kindness, hard work and determination when faced with obstacles and sadness was admirable, qualities that sadly seem to be lacking in many present day news stories.
I have had the pleasure of being the manuscript evaluator for Bette Lee Crosby for her last several books. Bette has always been a master storyteller, but I will never forget after my first pass on the book calling her to tell her that this book is her best work to date. In the three times that I read the book, this feeling of admiration, not only for the author, but the main character deepened too. There is a powerful beauty to this book that grasps the reader from page one and fails to let go taking them on a roller coaster ride of emotions in Benjamin Church's journey.
Passing Through Perfect is a book that is now available on a preorder basis. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this magnificent book by Bette Lee Crosby. I devoured it literally in one day as I could not put it down once I began reading this heartfelt story about the Church family. The tale begins when Benjamin Church returns from the service after WWII. His mother has died and he comes back to help his father, Otis, farm in a mixed race area of Alabama. The whites and the blacks live side by side in this rural community in relative harmony, but this is not the case in most of the small towns of the south during this period of history. Benjamin works hard to bring the family share cropped farm back up to standards. One night at a dance his father plays match maker, but Benjamin instead spies Delia - a lovely younger woman dancing in a red dress. She is also taken with him and they begin to meet regularly. Benjamin is not aware that Delia is only 16 years old until he purposes and she becomes pregnant. Delia's father disowns her, calls her a whore and never speaks to her again. Exiled from her parents, she goes home with Benjamin and they are quickly married. They have a hard but loving life with Otis. The pregnancy yields twins with one child being stillborn and the couple has no more children. Their son, Isaac is the center of their lives! Delia, being such a young wife and mother, is lonely. Benjamin does all he can to introduce he to women in the "neighborhood" and she, in time, appreciates her home. She does long for more for her son and dreams of moving north where blacks are more readily accepted by whites and where her son can attend a REAL school with quality materials and teachers. Life passes perfectly until the summer of Isaac's eleventh year. Then tragedy strikes as Delia and Isaac walk home from a friend's house in a storm . They are both hit by a drunken white man who leaves them for dead at the side of the road because they are only " worthless niggers". Isaac pulls through with broken bones but Delia perishes. The family is devastated! Benjamin is at a loss at how to continue to work and care for his son on his own let alone pay for medical expenses and ends up working around the clock to make ends meet. Isaac confesses to his father that he can identify the truck that murdered his father, but the white sheriff, kind as he is, will not help bring the man to justice. Benjamin comes to realize that Delia was right all of those years ago. The future for him and his son is in the north, and so they set out for New York and another adventure that will restore his faith in mankind of all skin tones. I urge you to preorder this book that is sure to become yet another of Crosby's award winning books! It will tug at your every emotion as you wend your way from chapter to chapter!
When Benjamin meets the beautiful Delia Finch in Twin Pines, the nearest town to Grinder’s Corner, it’s love at first sight. As their relationship deepens Delia and Benjamin spend as much time together as they can manage.
Delia’s father, the preacher in Twin Pines, is a harsh and cold man. He disowns his daughter when he learns she is pregnant and planning to marry Benjamin and forbids his wife to see or speak to their daughter. Delia knows forgiveness is not in her father’s nature and what he preached was most definitely not what he practiced. Delia moves to Grinder’s Corner with Benjamin and gains some comfort with Otis as her father figure.
Alabama in the 40’s and 50’s is a tough place to live for coloured folk with the white/black segregation everywhere. Benjamin and his father, Otis, eke out a living growing seasonal produce. The tiny surrounding community of mixed race families live peacefully together but this isn’t the case across the South in general. Benjamin is a good, hard-working man with decent values and a sense of pride. Delia and their son, Isaac come first, always, and he will do whatever he has to, to support and care for them. They live through good times and not so good times, then one day Benjamin’s world is turned upside down, never to be the same, and he feels the full force of the colour divide. Unable to reconcile his sense of injustice he decides on a complete change for himself and Isaac.
The significance of the title ‘Passing Through Perfect’ is a lovely touch. I wondered how Benjamin’s story would tie in with Wyattsville. I do like the way characters from previous stories are integrated into later ones.
I love the way Bette Lee Crosby tells a story, this one mostly from Benjamin’s point of view with individual perspectives beginning each chapter. It’s a very moving and powerful tale, the prejudice and intolerance of the time show both sides of human nature regardless of skin colour. Benjamin’s acknowledgement of what he considers his place in society is undeniably apparent and is accepted as just the way things are. Despite that and the hardships and suffering Benjamin stays true to his own individuality.
An uplifting story of family, love, kindness and hope, despite some people’s less than commendable behaviour and attitudes.
Received form the Author in exchange for an honest review.
The book begins in 1946, when Benjamin Church is returning home to Alabama, after serving in the war. He had dreams of being a pilot but worked as a mechanic instead. While he was serving, his beloved Mother passes away and he returns home to his father and begins to help his father farm the land that they lease in Grinders Corners.
At his father's insistence he attends a dance where he is captivated by a beautiful young woman in a red dress. He falls in love with Delia and in the beginning of their romance tells her that she is the one he is going to marry.
They marry sooner than planned when Delia becomes pregnant. Thrown out of her family home for disgracing her family, Delia marries Benjamin and moves in with him and his father. The farm is not what she expected, but she makes the best of it and forms relationships with Otis (Benjamin's father) and those in the community.
Life seems good for them in their community but when they go into other towns they see the signs telling them that they are not wanted or that they need to use a separate entrance. Racism and segregation is real and it affects their lives.
Their life is not always easy. They suffer heartbreak early in their marriage but have a happy life until one night everything changes. It was heartbreaking to see how prejudice and racism marred the handling of the police investigation and no justice was found.
As Benjamin attempts to find a better life for he and his son, he travels north. Hoping for acceptance and a brighter future. Along the way he meets people who show him kindness and give him assistance. But they also experience more ignorance, racism and prejudice.
This book is the 3rd in the Wyattsville series but read as stand alone book for me.
The Author did a great job of bringing the characters to life. I loved how they spoke. Her use of the Southern drawl was fantastic. It is amazing how just the use of language can enhance a story. For me it really helped to bring this book to life.
I teetered between a 3 and 3.5 star rating for this book but finally settled on a 3.5. Although, I enjoyed this book, I find I did not enjoy it as much as the Authors other books.
Passing through Perfect, focuses on the life of Benjamin Church, a sharecropper’s son. He returns home from the war and begins farming alongside his father. It is the story of love, loss, heartache, joy and one man’s determination to provide for his family. The tale spans a good eleven years and I quickly became caught up in the characters.
Crosby clearly captures Alabama in the early 50’s and segregation. Passing through Perfect is told from a few perspectives each delivered in separate chapters. Benjamin’s is the predominant voice and I quickly connected with him. Delia and folks from Wyattsville are the others. I wondered how Crosby was going to bring Wyattsville into the story and she did so brilliantly. I laughed with these characters, felt pain for them and shed a few tears right alongside them. Benjamin is clever, soft-spoken and has this dignity about him that I could not help but admire. Delia story touched me, from her strength to her yearning for a better way of life just over the horizon.
Passing through Perfect flowed wonderfully as Crosby brought their daily lives to life while relating a powerful story about prejudice and intolerance during this period. Free but not equal. She managed to capture both the worst of man and the best of him. I think the author said it best in the notes at the beginning of the book. She mentions tales are not good or bad it is simply what it was. Her descriptive writing style allowed me to smell the collards's, taste the heat and feel the rain on my face. The title was cleverly weaved into the tale and I smiled to myself when it happened. Memorable, poignant and powerful Passing through Perfect is a tale that will stay with you, long after the book is closed.
Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t start by saying I am a huge Bette Lee Crosby fan, so I went into Passing through Perfect knowing I would absolutely love this book. However, Passing through Perfect is unlike any of the other books Crosby has written. In Passing through Perfect Crosby writes in the voice of a young black man. This was definitely a stretch for Crosby, but I only know that because she said so herself. If I didn’t know better, I would think Passing through Perfect was indeed written by a young black man. The characters were rich and believable, the settings and scenery were perfect to depict the living conditions during the mid-1940’s and once I picked up Passing through Perfect I couldn’t put it down. I was so drawn into the lives of Benjamin and Delia I finished the book the same evening I received it. Passing through Perfect brought out so many emotions for me as a reader. The racism experienced by the main characters made me tense up and I was angry about the ignorance and injustice of the time. The love between Benjamin and Delia was so strong from the moment he laid eyes on her that my own pulse quickened with excitement about the thought of true love at first sight. These emotional ups and downs were felt throughout the book. I especially love the title of Passing through Perfect because I think we can all relate to a time in our lives that was so absolutely wonderful we wanted it to last forever. This is definitely a book I would recommend to others; in fact I’ve already told a friend that she absolutely MUST read Passing through Perfect. Whether you’ve read the other books in the Wyattsville Series or not, you’ll find yourself drawn in and enjoying every turn of the page with this fabulous book. Thank you to Bette Lee Crosby for sharing her storytelling time and talents.
When Benjamin Church returned to Grinder's Corner, Alabama after the war, he dreamed of becoming a mechanic. But days turned into months, and months turned into years, and Benjamin finds himself stuck working on his father's farm to support his young family. The tragic death of his wife changes his life forever and Benjamin must find a way to get his only son, Isaac, out of the South with its deep-rooted racial prejudices to a place where he can build a future in spite of the colour of his skin.
I picked up this book free for review via ebooksforreview.com mainly because I have been on Bette Lee Crosby's mailing list for a while and I wanted to find out what she really writes about (can't remember when/how I got on the list anymore).
It seems that I have been reading an amount of historical fiction relating to the race relationships in America lately, starting with Touched with Fire and Fire and Dust. While those two are written about events in the middle of the war itself, Passing Through Perfect is an excellent "follow up" story of events that take place almost a hundred years after the abolishment of slavery in America. I think it says something about humans that, even though the law has been changed decades prior, the attitudes and traditions of the communities and the prejudices they hold had hardly changed at all.
Passing Through Perfect presents a little slice of life of that time and age, demonstrating how one man's prejudice can destroy a life and how another's open-mindedness and generosity can help rebuild it.
Passing through Perfect is a wonderful Southern Historical Fiction novel that will stir your soul. Set in the small town of Grinder's Corner, Alabama, author Bette Lee Crosby draws the reader into the inspirational tale that follows Benjamin Church and his family as they struggle to live and work in the racially troubled South's time period of the 1940-1950s.
This is a heartwarming story that only Bette Lee could tell in a thoughtful style that transports the reader back to a time when Benjamin and his family endured horrible racial discrimination in the South, and how they survived with powerful faith and grace.
This is a beautifully written and seamless story that is part of a wonderful series, but can be a stand alone read. Bette weaves a tale that brings back beloved characters from the previous books in The Wyattsville Series, while introducing the reader to a cast of new characters who are just as memorable. With a rich description of the time period and setting, and a inspirational story that makes the reader ponder about one of the most difficult time periods in our nation, author Bette Lee Crosby weaves a compelling and emotional story with a thoughtful message that will resonate with the reader for quite some time.
Passing through Perfect is an amazing story of love, loss, family, faith, and trust.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book release day event.
I just finished reading Passing Through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby and I can't say enough wonderful things about this book. It only took me a little over 24 hours to read it, once I started I just could not tear myself away. The story is historical fiction and follows the life of a man named Benjamin Church after he leaves the service and returns to his father's farm to help run things as his father was alone and getting on in years. Not long after returning home Benjamin meets the woman who will be his wife and we follow the story of his life and that of his family struggling to survive as poor farmers in a small town in Alabama. There are many joys in the story of Benjamin's life but also much heartache and we experience all of this with him every step of the way. Ms.Crosby creates characters so real in this novel you feel their happiness and their sadness with them throughout the story. I laughed with them and sometimes I cried with them and when the book ended I was sad to leave them. That's how you know you've read a truly good book, when you can step into the lives of the characters and experience what they do right along with them. This is my first book by Ms. Crosby but I'll be sure to read more after this great experience with Passing Through Perfect.
I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Passing Through Perfect By Bette Lee Crosby This story is so riveting I couldn’t put the book down. Even though this story was before my time I am very interested in reading historical fiction and even historical nonfiction. I really thought that the author Bette Lee Crosby did an outstanding job on this story. Here is a story of Benjamin who was raised by his parents who loved him and you could tell by the way he was around others, no matter what happens he always respected others and expected good in them. Unfortunately there are always some who won’t and can’t do what is right. Here is a man because of his race was not able to do things he wanted to do, but still found other ways to excel in his life. He was good at fixing things and with mechanical things, but he became a farmer like his father was and put in a lot of work on his farm to make sure it produce and made a profit so he can support his family. It seemed everything he did, he tried to do his best. But that isn’t how the story goes. This book seemed so real life that it can happen to anyone of any race. But it happened in a time period that did have prejudice and Benjamin story is good, tells a real life, but even without the prejudice there were still hard times for many people and I loved reading his story and how he survived. I won’t tell you about the story, you will have to read it, if you like historical fiction, mid-century America this would be a great book to read. This book is definitely a five star book, I haven’t read the first 2 in this series but I can’t wait to read them. I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest opinion.