Velvet Underwood doesn’t know much about her father, Diamond Jim, other than Mama’s relentless bragging that every woman in town desired him, he smelled like hard work and pine, and she was conceived in the back of his Cadillac. She knows Mama’s heart and confidence were shattered when he disappeared in the middle of the night all those years ago. But Velvet was just a baby then. She’s 15 going on 16 now and wants to know what Mama’s not telling her.
Velvet is changed forever when she stumbles upon Mama’s secret journal. She learns more than she cared to about her mother’s sexual escapades with Diamond Jim and brawls with the town hussy. She discovers the heartache of betrayal as she trips over her parents’ painful past in search of clues to help Mama heal and bring Diamond Jim back home. Along the way, she leans on her best friend, Mercy, her grandma, Ditty, and the yard sale Virgin Mary who’s crumbling toes are planted firmly in the garden outside their double wide.
Velvet is an old soul whose coming-of-age story takes readers back to a time when phone calls happened in the kitchen, sunsets meant suppertime, Thursdays were for bingo, and Sundays were meant for church. Throughout her journey, Velvet navigates a heap of small-town gossip, quarrels at the local pie shop, and the disappearance of the local bowling legend. And she does so with wit, grit and grace.
Heather Strommen’s debut novel, “Velvet,” is a comfort call for anyone in need of a dose of hope and humor. It illustrates how the retelling of the stories we’ve long told ourselves can unravel the past and make way for the future. Ultimately, “Velvet” is a reminder of the power of love and forgiveness.
“‘Velvet’ is the story you might get if ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ cozied up with ‘Where the Crawdads Sing.’ Gorgeous writing and a gripping story you could stay up all night reading, Velvet is the kind of character you wish would come alive so you could be friends with her. What a wonderful read—I loved it!”
—Jennifer Louden, national best-selling author of “The Woman’s Comfort Book” and “Why Bother? Discover the Desire for What’s Next”