Accolades and Praise – Bette Lee Crosby

Accolades and Praise

  • Spare Change

Midwest Book Review
“Skillfully written, “Spare Change” clearly demonstrates Bette Lee Crosby’s ability to engage her readers rapt attention from beginning to end. A thoroughly entertaining work of immense literary merit and strongly recommended for community library literary fiction and mystery collections, “Spare Change” is especially recommended for fans of well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” – Julie Summers.

Seattle Post Intelligence
Bette Lee Crosby’s Spare Change is a quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life, madcap adventures of a young boy and a late change of heart that made all the difference in the life of an unusually independent woman. More than anything, it is a heartwarming book, which is simultaneously intriguing and just plain fun.

Olivia Ann Westerly has always refused to conform. Instead of marrying and raising a family, as her father expected her to, she left home and found a job, rented a flat and had tons of fun. Oh, did I mention that she did that in 1923, when she was only 25-years-old? While today that would not have been anything extraordinary, she certainly was an exception back then. And then she decided not to marry and to continue her career, living in this manner quite happily all the way until 1956. It was then that she met Charlie Doyle and fell madly in love, agreeing to marry him without any hesitation when he asked her to.

But then Charlie had to go and die while they were on their honeymoon, and Olivia seemed to have lost all her will to do anything. Until Ethan Allen Doyle, Charlie’s grandson, showed up on her doorstep. Olivia never wanted children, so why would she change her mind now? And to make matters worse, Ethan Allen was 11-years-old and number 11 has always been a bad omen for Olivia. To top everything else, it was clear that Ethan Allen was hiding something. Was there any chance of a happy ending here?

I truly enjoyed this imaginative and very entertaining story. Told from many different perspectives, it kept my interest from beginning to end. The voices of the characters were very distinct and the good ones were easy to like, just like the bad guys were easy to hate and fear. It does not happen very often that I truly like the more minor characters in any book, since most of them never get the chance to develop enough to be really interesting, but Clara was one of my favorites here – heart of gold and brassy manners, what more could one want in a friend? She was just one in the substantial line-up of supporting characters who kept Ethan Allen’s presence in Olivia’s building a secret, or at least they thought so. Every one of those characters was well-defined and completely believable.

Furthermore, I enjoyed the storyline and the lively dialogue, as well as the rapidly unraveling mystery of the secret Ethan Allen was trying to keep to himself. And I am going to do my best to keep the beginning of the story, as told by Olivia, in mind for the future. Here’s what she had to say..

“I don’t suppose there’s a person walking the earth who doesn’t now and again think if I had the chance to live my life over, I’d sure as hell do it differently. When you get to a certain age and realize how much time you’ve wasted on pure foolishness, you’re bound to smack yourself in the head and ask, what in the world was I thinking? Everybody’s got regrets; myself included.

Some people go to their grave without ever getting a chance to climb out of that ditch they’ve dug for themselves, others get lucky. Of course, the thing about luck is that you’ve got to recognize it, when it walks up’ and says hello, the way Charlie Doyle did.”

Those two paragraphs alone would be enough for me to like this book and recommend it, yet they were truly just the beginning. If you want to know more, you will simply have to read Spare Change yourself, and I am certain you will not regret that. – Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson

  • Jubilee’s Journey

It is the kind of story that takes you back in time and makes you long for days gone by. It tells us bad things can happen to good people but if you keep faith and keep going, good things are possible. Good people are out there. It is this message that makes this book uplifting. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. – Alaskan Book Cafe

Upon reaching the end of Jubilee’s Journey, I blinked, held the book to my chest, and sighed. I slowly left their world. So moving, so powerful was this story, I tried to hang onto it, to keep everyone close. Thank you for gifting me Jubilee’s Journey, Bette. There is no better gift than words on a page. – fuonlyknew

Bette Lee Crosby writes stories as if they are biographies. They are full of the cruelties and unfairness of life, but also the beauty and wonder. The worlds and dialogue are so real, I feel as if I am there and I feel frustrated because I do not know what to do to help. She packs so much life and realism into her novels, sometimes a BOX of tissues is not enough. I laugh and cry with the characters. I go through their highs and lows, their ups and downs, all the while trying to figure out how Bette is going to make this end with a happy ever after. The ending left me begging for more. I was sitting on the edge of my seat as if my happiness was on the line. – fundinmental

Crosby also paints imagery like a true artist. The imagery she uses to describe the men, for instance, who work in the coal mines, is devastating as well as hauntingly beautiful; and so real. What the men in the coal mines had to experience was truly heartbreaking and she allows us as readers to catch a very real glimpse of that world. Crosby paints pictures using just the right words to bring you into a world you may have known nothing about before. – The Silver Petticoat Review

Jubilee’s Journey blends several genres together making it a captivating read. It is a tale of growth, hope and inspiration, with a mystery weaved into it as people in Wyattsville move to help this young child and her brother. – Caffeinated Book Reviewer

  • Passing through Perfect

Freda’s Voice –
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!

WOW! Women on Writing –
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.

I Am A Reader Not A Writer –
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.

  •  The Twelfth Child

Her unique style of writing is timeless and her character building is inspiring. I admired the protagonist Abigail and her resilience to life and situation. She is a character of strength and courage, we can all learn a lesson from. Bette has such a way with words that you feel the happiness, love, hate, sadness, greed, and outrage of the characters. You know you’re reading a good story when you feel such emotions for the characters and their plight. They’re like real people you know and love. This is a deeply moving story that touches the core of your heart. Bette truly is a talented writer and a wonderful story teller. – Layered Pages

  •  Previously Loved Treasures

Reviewed By Suzanne Cowles for Readers’ Favorite

Previously Loved Treasures by Bette Lee Crosby is a heartwarming fiction story, book two of the Serendipity Series, about protagonist Ida Sweetwater, a recent widow. Left alone with little money and forced to come up with creative ways to finance the professional services of a private investigator, she uses odd jobs and socking away pennies from her daily chores to fund the dream of finding her estranged son who walked out years ago. She slowly fills a big empty house with paying boarders, one of which is her shifty brother-in-law. In getting to know the tenants and tending to their needs with true southern hospitality, she discovers that she has a granddaughter. The promise of a new relationship quickly replaces her hope of ever finding her son. The two form a close bond as Ida teaches Caroline how to cook and encourages her to finish writing her novel. Amid the hubbub at the house, Ida befriends a thrift-store owner who is a peculiar fellow. The gentleman solves problems she does not know she has, then tragedy strikes leaving Caroline all alone to run the house.

Betty Lee Crosby uses her skill with colloquial phrases and mannerisms to describe a world reminiscent of depression era times, when a dollar went a very long way. In Previously Loved Treasures, Crosby alternates third person chapters with various characters’ personal thoughts as a creative device. This makes it easy to get to know and love the diverse characters. Dispensed throughout are plenty of feel-good moments, small moral triumphs and personal victories, all the while leading to a happy conclusion.

  • Wishing for Wonderful

Crosby has now become one of my favorite authors! I have read some of her other books like “Spare Change” and thought they were wonderful. This is completely in a different realm for Crosby and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

John and Eleanor met in high school and fell in love. Life happened and they were not able to be together at that time so they both married someone else. Their spouses pass away and when they finally spot each other while shopping, their romance blossoms again. The only thing standing in the way of their happily ever after is their children who need to realize the love in themselves before they can ever be happy.

The story is told from Cupid’s point of view and it is charming and funny. A great Christmas love story. – I. Manster

  • Memory House

“A magical book of memories, treasures and stories from a Masterful Southern Storyteller…” Judith D. Collins, top 1000 Reviewer

“Magical realism that will enchant…” Heidi, Rainy Day Ramblings

“Wonderful, heartwarming story of love and life…” Sherry Fundin, Reviewer

  •  What Matters Most

This book will remain in my heart as one of the best books I’ve ever read. The characters and the messages they convey jump from the pages and touch a soft spot in my soul. It’s a love story. It’s a story of friendship. It’s a woman’s journey to the fullness of life. She gives up what means the most to her and finds what matters most in the most unlikely places. Bette Lee Crosby’s wonderful way with words, her wit, and her wisdom shine brighter than ever in “What Matters Most”. – Alle Wells

  • Cracks in the Sidewalk

I don’t know what it is about Bette’s writing and the stories she tells, but they capture my interest from page 1. The stories are told with so much emotion that it is hard to not get caught up in the characters and feel like you are sitting there next to them seeing what they are experiencing. Cracks in the Sidewalk is no different. The story starts off with Claire, the grandmother, receiving a letter from a grandchild that she has not seen in over 20 years. The story then reverts back to a two year (or so) time that tells the story of Elizabeth (Liz) and Jeffrey (JT) along with Liz’s parents, Claire and Charles. This story tugged at all of my emotions from anger to joy to sadness to disgust for JT’s character. I will say that I was crying during the last chapter or two. I give this book 5 paws and highly recommend picking it up if you don’t win the copy I am giving away! – Storeybook Reviews

Bette Lee Crosby’s writing evokes such a wide range of emotions, I am continually surprised at how deeply her books affect me. Bette s books are so well written and the stories are so heartfelt and realistic, that you cannot help but respond to them. I couldn’t put the book down, as I read the blurred words through the tears in my eyes, until I reached the last word and closed the book. – fundinmental

Reviewed By Samantha Rivera for Readers’ Favorite

Elizabeth is a woman whose sole purpose in life is to be a good wife and mother. She has no care in the world but to accomplish these goals and she works hard at them despite the treatment she is given at the hands of her husband. When Elizabeth falls ill suddenly during her pregnancy with their last child, her husband determines to have nothing to do with her. Unfortunately that means her children (including her newborn son) will also have nothing to do with her. It’s almost a year before Elizabeth is finally able to see her young children again, but even then things are not what they might seem in Cracks in the Sidewalk.

Cracks in the Sidewalk is the type of book that you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down. Elizabeth is a woman that any woman would be proud to be. She is able to roll with the punches and even when people behave in a reprehensible way towards her she is incapable of truly hating them and can only feel sorry for the love they don’t have. Her plight is one no mother would ever want to find herself in, but at the same time it is one that will draw you in. This is a heart-wrenching story but it is also a beautiful one of love and devotion and forgiveness. For Elizabeth’s children and her mother it is also a story of miracles and of overcoming any obstacle life may put in your way. An excellent book by Bette Lee Crosby.

  •  Life in the Land of IS

It has taken me a little bit to process this review in my head. I finished the book a couple of days ago, yet feel really “blessed” that it came into my life at this particular moment. I also needed time to process the feelings that naturally come with it. I had been in a pretty rough spot and this book just gave me a “things that make you go hmmmm” moment. Although, I am not a religious person, I am a spiritual one, and one can’t but help (or at least I can’t) the timing of when this book popped up for me. Lani Deauville is a woman who not only overcame a whole new level of adversity that most people cannot even begin to imagine in their lives, she managed to lasso it and make it work for her, always remaining positive, even when faced with some monumental obstacles which came into her life. Makes one truly wonder about the little pebbles that we consider to be boulders in our lives!

My favorite LD quote in the book: “The worst handicap you can have is a lack of belief in yourself!”

The other reason that this was a 5 star read for me was the manner in which it was written was that I felt like Lani was actually speaking to me and telling me her story vs. it being written by an author. Although, it is basically a biography, it is written as though it is a memoir. I don’t think the book could pack quite the punch it did for me had it been written as a biography.

Third, I loved this author’s work in her book, Spare Change. I have found very few authors can venture out of their comfort zone with genres that they write in. Ms. Crosby has done this beautifully. – Naomi Blackburn, Author CEO

  •  Blueberry Hill

The covers Bette Lee Crosby chooses for her novels always make me wonder what will be between the pages. I feel there will be some laughs and some tears as we travel down the road of life with her realistic characters.

I never even looked at the synopsis, just picked up Blueberry Hill and started reading. After all, it’s Bette Lee, so I know it will be good. Oh man……this hits very close to home.

Donna killed herself. She didn’t do it by popping pills or slitting her wrists, but by her lifestyle choices.

Donna was carefree. She lived for the moment. She was popular, cool, and believed anything is possible. She would then proceed to make it happen. She was very generous; spent the money she earned, while Bette would save. Donna has attitude with a capital A. I am loving her.

The female version of Fonzi from Happy Days.

Mama said Bette was the oldest, so it was her responsibility to keep her two sisters out of trouble. I can see where that could lead to guilt for not doing more to save Donna from herself. I, too, have dealt with the issue of enabling. When is the time to step in? Do we have the right to tell someone how to live, even if they have chosen a destructive lifestyle?

Bette felt they were a normal family, until Donna ran away. Even after she came back, they were never the same. Donna fell in love with a loser, who divorced her and left her after she had a baby. She married him again and had another child, but the marriage didn’t stick. We don’t choose who we fall in love with. She never quit loving him, even until her death. She was a great mother, full of love. The real loss was when the nest was EMPTY.

“Having a sister is like having a thumb, you simply believe it will always be there, because how could you possible get along without it.”

I have tears in my eyes as I read this. I recently lost one of my sisters and this almost sounds like her biography. She used to call me tag-a-long when we were kids, because I followed her everywhere. It is still hard to believe she is really gone. We do become involved in our daily lives and think tomorrow I’ll….call her…get with her….take the time to stop in……At least I can take consolation in the fact that she lived her life the way she wanted ( like Donna).

Bette Lee Crosby left out the horrid details that would rip our hearts out, but I felt the pain, as she relived the memories. With the loss of my sister, I can relate to the story on a very personal level. When do you step in, especially when you know it will do no good? We must remember, it is their life. They are a grown up. We can lie to ourselves and live in denial, but what will be, will be. My sister and Donna chose their exit from this world. Won’t we do the same?

Bette’s books can be thought provoking, heart wrenching and uplifting all at the same time. She can make me sob like a baby, when my heart is broken and laugh like a happy child, when a delightful surprise comes my way. Bette Lee’s books don’t always end with a happy ever after, but they do cover a lot of life’s trials and tribulations that we are familiar with.

I received Blueberry Hill from Bette Lee in return for an honest, unbiased review.

“Wouldn’t you love to go there?”

“Go where?”

“Blueberry Hill.”

“Blueberry Hill isn’t a real place. It’s just a title somebody made up for the song.”

“Believe what you want, but I know it’s real.”

To give a lot when you have a lot is easy, but to give a lot when you have so little is indeed a gift of love.

“You can love her or hate her, but you will never control her.” My sister to a T.
-Sherry Fundin