Delaney's People

Don't Shoot Your Mule

Books by Beth Duke




The official review of

"Delaney's People: A Novel In Small Stories" by Beth Duke:


Beth Duke has created a beautiful work of historical fiction about a family from the south and their journey through life. Told from the Irish Potato Famine through the Civil War and into the present; it is a beautiful concoction of stories that paint a picture of wonder and beauty; that inspires a search into the past like no other. I love Delaney and all of her people.

Sometimes it’s difficult for people to see the beauty in everything and the blessing that is life. This collection of people each has their tale told from their own point of view as well as from those around them. I absolutely love this story and give it a 4 out of 4 stars. Not only because of the beautiful story and Beth’s characters but it is descriptive and resonates true to me as a reader. It is very well written and easy to follow along and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves family history, the south or heart felt stories about history. This is how history and family should be known; on a very personal level.

First you meet Delaney’s Great Grand-mamma; a wonderful woman who lives on her own and guides Delaney through some difficult times as well as just loving the sweet little girl. As you go back through each person’s story you see the intermingling of life at its fullest. It’s remarkable to just observe people; trying to understand them and see things from their point of view is difficult but worth it. This book has helped me look a little closer at those around me and has helped me try to better understand them. It has inspired me to collect family stories so that they aren't forgotten or turn to myth with little fact mingled in.

I found this book very inspiring and interesting. It suggests the possibility that our families are never what they seem as well as posing some moral questions. Is it okay to steal to feed your family; For example? One chapter is from the point of view of a battle sword hanging on the wall. If only objects could tell their story I think our histories would be significantly different things.

Overall I found this novel endearing, inspiring and encouraging. I am not the biggest people person but I am relearning the goodness of humanity. This book inspires me to look deeper and try to understand better. I think that people, generally, intend to do good and sometimes people misread their actions. Beth’s novel helps to bring light to a family that seems ordinary in every outward respect but are each very amazing in their own right. Beth Duke has created a beautiful work of historical fiction that is very well written and significant.


I would be thrilled to join your group discussion, whether in person, via Skype or speakerphone.

Autographed copies of Delaney's People or Don't Shoot Your Mule may be ordered directly from the author in quantities of eight or more for twelve dollars each. Shipping will be provided through Priority Mail anywhere in the continental United States for $10.00 regardless of order size.

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Photo: "Radar"
Courtesy of Donna & Paul Kadle