Almost from the day she
was born – in 1901 in McDade, Texas – Sunny DeLony has adored her
first cousin, Gil. Their mothers are sisters and have raised their
children as if they were siblings – wrestling and running
Sunny can’t say exactly
when their puppy love turned into something deeper, but before she
was fifteen – and Gil seventeen – she knew things were different.
Their families knew so, too, and wasted no time pulling them
Gil volunteers for the
Army. And while he is fighting in France, Sunny marries a local
boy, only the first mistake Sunny and Gil make trying not to “sin.”
These mistakes and the cousins’ eventual surrender to their love
lead to broken hearts, broken marriages, exile. But
somehow, wrong has always felt right to Sunny and
Once again Bonner
perfectly captures the spirit of another time. Here are Texas farm
families swept up in the drama of World War I and the devastation
of their young men who fought it. Again, Bonner’s vivid characters
grab us by the lapels on page one. Right from
Wrong is a beautiful – and wrenching – love story set
against the hills of Central Texas and the rooftops of Paris: a
classic tale of love, war, and sin.
to move. Nobody knew to where. The line of trucks snaked its
way over the French hills, going north, then east. Gears clashed.
The big Pierce-Arrows swayed to the left, then to the right, like
clumsy boats on a sea. They straddled holes, lumbered down into
others, sank into mine craters and climbed out on the other side.
Each one labored along behind the truck ahead, which tried to draw
away and vanish in the misty night.
passed Gil a canteen filled with Mirabelle. Gil took a big swig and
passed it back. The cognac flowed down hot enough to take away his
breath, but it numbed everything. Rome huddled in the corner,
tucked behind one of the tent halves they had tacked up over the
doorways to block out the wet, but since there were no windshields,
it didn’t help much. No headlights either. They were moving under
blackness of night.
continued to slap at the roof of the cab. The tailgate of the truck
ahead came up, faded away, came back again. As the hard rubber
tires hit another deep shell hole, the steering wheel jolted out of
Gil’s hands and the truck veered for the ditch. He came awake with
a jerk, unaware till that second he’d gone to sleep for a moment.
He wrestled the truck back into line. Over in the corner, sheltered
under the tent half, Rome snored softly.
truck ahead faded in, faded out. Came. Went. Gil started singing,
“I’ve been working on the railroad, all the livelong day...” to try
to keep himself awake. He’d taken over from Rome just after
midnight. Dawn was near. It had to be. It felt like two weeks had
passed since nightfall.
convoy moved through what had once been a quiet village but was now
nothing but black rubble, not one stone left atop another. Two
hundred trucks, all in a line, moved up a long hill with a sweeping
curve in the macadam road. To the north the flashes of war became
visible. The crump of distant guns grew louder. The Rainbow
Division was moving into the sector to relieve the weary men in the
portions of the road were draped with camouflage net strung from
fifteen-foot poles. Troops tromped past on foot, on horseback, on
bicycles, in caissons, and in two-wheel mule carts carrying
ammunition for the machine guns. The Pierce-Arrows clambered past
ammo dumps with acres of shells stacked up like cordwood in small
separate piles. They passed a damaged tank discarded by the road, a
crooked graveyard with hasty white crosses scattered around. They
passed men coming away from the front with eyes that seemed to glow
red in their blackened faces.
l’Amerique!” a group of them shouted, with fists raised
and voices loud enough to roust Rome from his slumber.
scratched his eyes, sat up to stare. For a moment he seemed numbed
by all that was around them. A pile of dead horses had been shoved
off into a ditch. A group of French refugees straggled by, bundles
on their backs, stooped old men driving nags, an old woman walking
with a cane.
Dailey,” Rome mumbled. “This sure ain’t no quiet sector this time.
They’ve done sent us to hell.”
peered at the gathering light on the horizon. He glanced at the
leaping flashes of war, the sounds of high explosives whistling
from the valley. The whole world seemed colored in shades of red,
orange, and brown. It was mesmerizing, but he forced his eyes to
stay on the truck ahead, moving up, falling back. He felt as if a
blanket had been thrown over his soul.
"First page and you know she is a storyteller. The scene -- 1917
Texas -- is so vivid and particular. And beneath the tenderness and
romance and perfect period ambience is serious, compelling drama --
the heartbreaking story of a girl who falls into "wildness" and a
love beset by moral ambiguity. You read, you cry, you sigh. Cindy
Bonner should have a great big audience."
--SANDRA SCOFIELD, author of Beyond Deserving and