I received a free kindle copy of Dobyns Chronicles by Shirley McClain, published by XLibris LLC from an Amazon promotion in exchange for a fair review. I gave it four stars.
"Old age is hell, but it's something all of us have to go through." This was a good hook for me.
The main character, Charles Kenly Dobyns, opens the story with what his father told him many years before.
"You never know what road life will lead you down. Pa told me when I was a little boy, 'You just have to take a deep seat & hang on for the ride.' He sure told the truth.
Now here I stand, knowing tomorrow I'll be giving up my home & the way of life I've known for the past eighty-one years. I think giving up this mountain life is the hardest thing I've done. My consolation is my lifetime of memories."
Since I lived through many Texas seasons I could relate to this description. "I remember the temperature being so hot outside; I could feel my skin burn through my shirt. The hot Texas wind blew the dirt around.
Ma couldn’t keep the dust out of the house. She kept what she could covered to keep the sand out of it. We watched dust devils moving from the chicken yard to the barn all the time. Pa was always talking about needing rain or winter would be brutal."
The wagon wheel broke & Pa had a hard time changing it. He had a cursing fit.
While they were visiting the Holmes family, they learned about Yellow Fever & that it was caused by mosquito bites. They built fires with green wood to help avoid the bites but the mosquitoes were relentless. Both boys & their father were coated with mud to help. On the way back from visiting, the Red River had flooded & was difficult to cross. Charles was afraid he & his brother, David would drown. His father was right behind him, holding his four year old daughter, Viola tight to his chest. They used a rope to cross & had to leave the supplies & horses behind.
Sadly their parents dies from Yellow Fever & the world as the boys & Viola knew it was changed forever.
They traveled back to the Holmes ranch & at one of the stops Viola went to gather wood & was bitten by a poisonous Copperhead snake. An Indian couple came to help them. They stayed two weeks until she was well enough to travel again.
Fortunately, the Holmes family became their foster parents & the Dobyn's children were able to stay together.
Charley was in a train wreck & had two broken arms right before he & Mila were ready to move. "The four of them got busy unloading the wagons while I sat on the porch feeling guilty because I wasn’t helping. I had seven weeks to go before the casts could come off.
I don’t know why God decided to let that train wreck happen, but it must have been a good reason. Maybe it was to teach me some humility and patience. I got so frustrated at times I could hardly stand it."
"I want to check out the pasture to see if any of it is still underwater. Would you open the gate beside the barn? I’ll yell when I get back so you can let me back into the yard.”
“What if I don’t open the gate?”
“Wife, you best remember my arms won’t always be in these casts. I can get mighty mean when I want to,” I said with a chuckle.
“Sure you can, but I can be meaner. You better tread lightly cause I’m the one who is feeding you right now. Do you want to call a truce?
“Yep, let’s call a truce. I love you, woman, with all my heart.”
"She did a great job at keeping my mind on something besides Viola. I don’t know what kind of life I would’ve had if it hadn’t been for her and the joy she brought to me."
This was a wonderful family story & it was even better seeing the photographs at the end of the book.
Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Dobyns-Chronicles-Shirley-McLain/dp/1499024096