Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review by Niki: Glory Lands by Vastine Bondurant

Title: Glory Lands
Publisher: DreamspinnerPress  <--publisher buy link
Rating: 5 out of 5 Smooches 


A Texas Piney Woods Story

Rural East Texas, 1931. Preacher’s son Emory Joe Logan and a fiddler from Shreveport, Glory Lands, meet and form a tender bond. When they are caught and arrested for homosexual acts by Sheriff Elihu Bishop, the lawman’s sanctimonious bigotry threatens to rip the young men from their families.

Emory Joe’s father, Pastor Charles Logan, is brought to his knees in terror, confusion, and anger. He still regrets not standing up against Bishop when the lawman murdered a youth in cold blood nine years ago.

Now there’s no longer a choice for the preacher to stand up to the lawman. Cold-blooded justice, bigotry-disguised-as-religion, and hatred take on a whole new meaning when they’re standing on his doorstep, ready to take the son he loves.


(This review contains some heartfelt sighs, a gasp or two, and absolutely zero spoilers)

Now and again one stumbles upon a true wordsmith. The art and artistry inherent in Glory Lands makes an irrefutable case for Vastine Bondurant being one of those rare and precious beings. From the gut-clenching, edge of your seat, hair at the nape of your neck standing on end first page through the gentle spring breezes and winsome yet disconsolate strains of a fiddle player’s hapless yearning, right up to the shiver inducing moments when you, the reader, stand face to face with an indescribable evil and feel the indisputable, awe inducing touch of a higher power—yes, I do mean you, gentle reader. Vastine Bondurant’s words are so well crafted as to hook into the tender, secret flesh of your heart. She reels you, gasping and choking for air like a landed fish, right into the bone and marrow of her characters, and once there you can only journey through their interwoven stories from inside their trembling, beating hearts.

If you are in the mood for a light a fluffy read that stirs nothing of your soul… well, then Glory Lands is not the book for you.
You may have heard that Glory Lands is scary, or terrifying… and yes there is some truth to these suppositions. This story is not for the faint of heart. It is a stark, plainly beautiful story of the fragility of first loves, the endurance and valor that the great among us find in their darkest hours, and—oh, I’ve goosebumps rising between my shoulder blades still—the triumphs possible when one holds fast to the truths which pure hearts have always seen.

I will tell you though, do not be dismayed, nor should you give up before attempting this story. Yes, Glory Lands is filled with beauty, evil, love, and terror. Yet… easy and gentle as the ripples of a quiet creek against smooth stones, Glory Lands will hold a mirror to your soul and bid you look. No, no, this story is not for the faint of heart, but rather for those brave enough to at least stare into that speckled mirror, squinting one eye nearly shut and covering the other with a trembling hand… for those able to hold their breath and jump in, Glory Lands will allow you to... ah, William Blake said it best: To see a world in a grain of sand. And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour…
Oh, be brave, sweet reader. Find this story. Dive in headfirst. You will find not only that impossible soul mirror I’ve spoken of throughout this review… you will also find a map to becoming great. One of the ones able to stand fast in the face of evil, even while on your knees.

Go on. Do it. You may shed a tear or two along the way. But you’ll end by inspiring others around you to be just as brave as you… and all from a handful of flawlessly crafted words.

Buy Links: 


  1. Nikki, what beautiful words! Boy, is this humbling. Thank you so much for---as you say---taking the plunge to read. And for your lovely words.

    1. Thank you. I can only say the same about your beautiful book. Sorry it took so long for me to respond. I've been wildly busy with the stuff and nonsense of life.


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