Christmas List?

Posted: November 25, 2013 in World On The Edge

DSC_9744 This is my debut novel–my ‘new baby’ for 2013. And I’d like to suggest it to you as a Christmas gift for someone you love.

If you’d like it, it’s in quite a few bookstores now. If it’s not in your favorite bookstore, then click on A HUNGER IN THE HEART at the top left of this page, and then click on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble at the bottom of that page.

A HUNGER IN THE HEART has been presented for several awards for First Novel: The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction; American Book Award Before Columbus Foundation; The Ernest Hemingway/Pen Award; 2014 Pen/Faulkner Award; and CALA (Catholic Arts and Letters Award)

Below are some reviews (the best ones, of course) And on the back cover of the book, you’ll find endorsements by Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump, and Mark Childress, author Crazy in Alabama.

Five stars:  “A tremendously good read!, I adored this story for its compassion, its gentle humor and the intensely human, believable and nuanced characters and circumstances. Fig, for me, embodied home-grown (authentic) holiness in his goodness, self-sacrifice and ability to see “beyond” and love the other: the Christ figure of the story. You have real-life people coping with their personal frailties, the consequences of decisions made, bad and good. A satisfying conclusion, avoiding a neatly wrapped up but unrealistic, pat ending. It is a story that one can relate to across cultures and still enjoy the unique flavors of the American South. A definite pleasure to read and re-read!” Sr. Teresa Cardinez

Five Stars: “I read this book because of the blurbs by two of my favorite Southern writers, Winston Groom and Mark Childress. When I finished it, I could see why they endorsed “A Hunger in the Heart.” It’s great Southern fiction and more, with its sense of place, strong narrative voices, kinship, sense of impending doom, and a kind of humor indigenous to the South. The story of the Bridgeman family is a poignant one, even heart-breaking at times, and yet edifying because these characters seem like people I know or have known who inevitably ‘get through’ difficult situations. On a deeper level, “A Hunger in the Heart” is the hunger for love. The book left me with some understanding of how members of any family either contribute to, or relieve, spiritual isolation in another member.” Patrick Canning

Four Stars: “A Hunger in the Heart takes the reader on a rough ride through the emotional mines of a disfunctional Southern family. The author is quite talented in descriptive detail. She really draws a the reader into the story and there are some excellent reflections which make a person want to reread the sentence or the paragraph so as to remember that particular part.” Ann Frailey

Five stars: “What a wonderful read. Such a wide range of emotions covered – reminiscent of my own childhood (which wasn’t Southern.) Characters jump out at me like people I have known. To me a book that makes you want to know how the “rest” of a character’s life turns out is a good book. This is a good book.” Kathryn L. Bailey

Five stars: “A Hunger in the Heart so beautifully illustrates the yearnings of the soul across all the stages of life. The well-developed and almost familiar characters along with the author’s lush and vibrant descriptions make this an incredibly satisfying read. The author really nails the setting and feel of life in the late 1950’s in the deep South. This is an example of meaningful writing sprung from experiences of the heart. Tender and compelling, I enjoyed every word.” Stephanie Thomas

Five stars: “This is a Southern literary novel, set in 1955 in fictional Gator Town, FL. Coleman Puttman Bridgeman, III is a boy coming to terms with the consequences World War II has had on his family. His shell-shocked father, Putt, a decorated hero, stages continual games of war with his son against an enemy that only the father can see. Sarah Neal, Coleman’s religious, but alcoholic, mother blames Putt’s misfortune, and her own, on the black soldier whose life her husband heroically saved. When Putt is accused of a scandalous crime, the boy’s manipulative grandfather, C.P. Bridgeman, holds Sarah Neal responsible, bringing about a bitter estrangement between mother and son, until the boy must fight his own war against a very real enemy. But there is a lot of compassion in this book, too. The family’s wise gardener, Fig, is beacon for Coleman, almost like the boy’s conscience. And Anna, a neighbor girl with problems of her own, understands Coleman’s heart, and points him toward forgiveness and redemptive love. In fact, the spiritual thread of God’s love runs throughout the story, somewhat like an ever-present shadow always at the heels of the characters, if only they turn to notice it. In addition, the book has some very humorous moments, as well as a few surprises for the reader. It’s an entertaining read that stays long in the mind.” Anne Duncan

Four stars: “A Hunger in the Heart” by Kaye Park Hinckley grips the reader’s heart from the very beginning. It is a poignant narrative of perseverance; the finely drawn characters endure serious difficulties. The individuals cope in their own distinct ways, supporting each other as best they can, even if at times the best is toleration. But they never give up. Coleman watches his father, a decorated war hero, struggle with insanity as his mother succumbs to alcohol. Coleman’s grandfather, who isn’t in good health himself, does everything he can to hold the family together. The faithful Fig, who has served his grandfather and family since the boy can remember, is always there to help, all the while dishing out words of encouragement and faith. Catholic values and devotions are gently injected throughout the story. At first I resented repeated references to a crucifix hanging around a drunkard’s neck until I realized that it’s a perfect reminder of Christ’s mission. “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Mark 2:17). I am not very familiar with this genre, but I do know fantastic characterization and a strong story when I see them. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have spent a little more time with some of the characters, a few of whom could inspire separate stories of their own. “A Hunger in the Heart” is a powerful, emotional read. Highly recommended.” A. Abboud

Five stars: “Easy read! Read in almost one sitting. The author painted a picture with words of both the characters and the town, that made me feel like I was in Gator Town, Florida. I grew up following World War II, and only realized as an older adult just how much many folks and families were affected by this.” Jackie

Five stars: Beautifully written in the tradition of southern literary fiction. The novel works in so many ways, but finds its genius in the crafting of memorable characters, each deeply flawed but searching. Aren’t we all? The novel is not overly sentimental, but is still infused with the reality that hope finds its realization in love. A book that will inspire you, and then you’ll re-read to savor the prose.” Ron OGorman

Five stars: “This is a character-based novel set in a small Southern town in the mid-fifties. From the patriarch of the Bridgeman family to Fig, the black, true-blood-son who limps around with a wooden foot, the people shine through as real as your next door neighbors. Or members of your own family. Even through their flaws, you root for them to overcome their various obstacles. Young Coleman yearns for the mental wounds his dad suffered in WWII to heal so his mother will stop drowning her sorrows for their empty life in a bottle. That his mother is comforted by a counselor who obviously adores her threatens the peace between his parents that Coleman so desires. Meanwhile, the patriarch, C.P., frets about his son, his grandson, and his daughter-in-law. His only relaxation comes when he takes Coleman fishing. Things take a turn for the worse when his son is accused of raping a neighbor. How that scenario is handled and what happens when the man responsible for changing the course of all their lives shows up . . . well, that’s another story. The time and place, the imagery, the language, and the people reminded this reader of her days in a small Southern town in North Carolina. Exceptionally well done, Kaye Park Hinkley.” Mary Kay Remick

Five Stars: “With her very detailed and beautiful descriptions, the author has a great way of making all of the characters very real in the readers mind. Each character is extremely well-developed which makes it easy for you to relate to them as if they’re people you already know. I could see this being a great movie! Very illustrative and a heartwarming book that I would recommend to anyone.” P.D.

Four stars: “This brief novel tells the story of a dysfunctional Southern family, set in Florida after World War II. The family struggles to love one another while facing illness, addiction, blackmail, fear, and division. The pacing of the novel is brisk, the action is mostly domestic and quotidian (for a dysfunctional family), yet there are passages of great description and insight. I have seen the author compared to Flannery O’Connor, but I think the author is writing with her own voice and limning a story of love and hope. An excellent debut novel.” Stephanie Mann

Five stars: “I was gripped from the beginning, wanting to see what would happen next. Hinckley’s ear for the Southern is very accurate, but her understanding of human nature surpasses a region. More from this author, please.” Alabama Girl from Atlanta

Five stars: “I enjoyed Kaye’s book immensely! Having lived in the south my entire life, her book was so comfortable. From the gruffness and pride of Coleman’s grandfather to the “monkey in the mirror” wisdom of Fig, each character could be found in a small southern town. Their human flaws, struggles, ability to love and to forgive are what life is all about. More, please!” Eva

Five Stars: “This compelling story of a small town Southerners will hit home on more than one level. The characters bring this multi-level story to life and I want to know what happens next in this town and the lives of these characters. So much more for Ms. Hinckley to tell us.”

Five stars: “If you grew up in the South you will love this book. The characters are so real and the story is so touching. You will learn a lot about southern living. I found it hard to put down once I started reading.” Peggy W. Merrill

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