Book Review: Stork Bite

Welcome, friend, to another lovely tour hosted by the folks at Lone Star Literary Life. Every year, I try to read outside my favorite genres (fantasy, romance, and women’s fic respectively). When I came across Stork Bite, my first instinct wasn’t to hop onto this tour. While the locale is almost literally in my own back yard, and I was raised on stories of the time depicted in Simonds’ novel, I wasn’t sure if this would be an easy or “comfortable” read. Quite frankly, it sounded like something that would be challenging, maybe difficult or painful.

I tend to fall right into the characters that inhabit the stories I read. Thanks to over-helpings of empathy, I am often brought to tears as easily as laughter. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to feel David Walker’s journey through Stork Bite. I’m happy to report my second instinct was to pick this up anyway. Because I believe in today’s world, more than ever, it is so important for us to step outside our comfort zones. Sure, it’s easier to turn away or ignore the terrible truths in our past, and our present. But we forget sometimes, how much more we grow each time we push aside our comfort. To deny ourselves the opportunity, is what keeps us stagnant, and keeps our culture stuck making the same mistakes. 

My prediction about David’s journey was partly right, but it inevitably became so much more. Keep reading for my full critical review, as well as your chance to enter another fantastic giveaway!

STORK BITE

by L.K. Simonds

Genre: Historical Fiction / Southern Fiction

Date of Publication: November 30, 2020

Number of Pages: 359 pages 

Scroll down for the giveaway!


Synopsis

“Everything has to be reconciled eventually.”

Caddo Parish, 1913. On an October morning, a Klansman confronts seventeen-year-old David Walker at a hidden oxbow lake where he has gone to hunt. David accidentally kills the man and hides the crime. His determination to protect his family from reprisal drives him far from home and into manhood.

Shreveport, 1927. Cargie (rhymes with Margie) Barre and Mae Compton are two vastly different young women, but both are defying convention to reach for their dreams. The men in Cargie’s and Mae’s lives help and hinder them in more ways than one. After years in hiding, David Walker finally resurfaces, and we discover the past is never as far from the present as it seems.

PRAISE FOR STORK BITE

“Simonds is a wonderfully talented author and evokes the South in astonishing detail in Stork Bite, making us feel we’re sitting in on a long, sumptuous, serial film production. But don’t think it’s mere eye candy–like the best period dramas, there’s plenty of social commentary here. Highly recommended!”

-Linore Rose Burkard, author of Regency Romance and Contemporary Suspense.


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Review

4 of 5 Stars

A hundred years ago, David Walker and his dog went hunting and ended up fighting for their lives because a stranger hated the color of his skin. What strikes me most about the premise of Stork Bite, is how easily this story could have taken place last year. Arguably, the South of David’s youth was much more contentious. Soldiers from the Civil War, including David’s grandfather, were still alive to carry the memory of strife and slavery into the new century. Klansmen, like the sheriff who bullies David, carried out not-so-secret dark deeds under cover of night, unable to release the past. Evil always finds a foothold, it seems, no matter the century. 

Stork Bite is a character study and a family saga, spanning a century of change and tribulation in southern America. L.K. Simonds begins David Walker’s journey on the day he has the misfortune to cross a prominent member of the Klan. David barely escapes the encounter with his life, and spends the following years in shame and terror that his family will pay the price for his sin. It was painful and at times terrifying to read David’s journey. The author’s gift for prose and character easily immerse you into the past as fate brings David to the Tatum’s farm in East Texas. Here, our hero is given the chance to aid a family in desperate need of help. The Tatums think David might be an angel, he’s just trying to survive. Over time, they come to rely on each other and help one another grow in beautiful ways. 

One of my favorite aspects of Stork Bite is how L.K. Simonds shone light through the dark times. No matter how dark the subject matter, there is a prevailing message of hope and faith threaded through these characters’ lives. Surprisingly, Simonds chooses to time hop forward a decade and introduce a new character, Cargie Barre. Cargie stole my readerly heart the moment she marched into Bill Compton’s laundry and took over his office, thus securing the job she’d work for the rest of her life. A true force of nature, Cargie ignores societal and social conventions to pursue her dreams. Her boss, Bill Compton, a Great War combat veteran, supports Cargie’s ambitions, while her husband, Thomas, secures their home. 

David and Cargie’s stories were easily the most engaging and exciting. The initial time jump was intriguing, but I also felt like Book 2 is where the story lost momentum. With the inclusion of my least-favorite characters, the spoiled and privileged (and white) Jaxy and Mae, the plot stretches a little thin. The author could have easily cut out Jaxy and Mae’s storylines, or shown their characters through Cargie’s eyes, and it would have made for a much stronger narrative. With their inclusion, I felt pulled out of the story, almost as though I really was reading two different books. A novel about prohibition and a young woman struggling to find her way would have been fine in another book. But I didn’t see true character growth with Jaxy and Mae, only disillusionment and embitterment. However, Simonds did well carrying us through the characters’ reasoning as each of them convinces themselves their choices are the right choices.

Spanning the narrative over a century allowed for a deeper study of the lasting consequences of character choices. However, the frequent time jumps pulled me from the story too often to feel invested in anyone besides Cargie and David. Still, I have to round up Stork Bite to four stars for Simonds’s nearly flawless storytelling. The author clearly has lived and breathed her source material, because you’re easily pulled into the times and lives of these people. Simonds offers a well-researched study on a story from the past that holds just as true and relevant then as it does for us today. There are many painful moments in David Walker’s life, but there is much good to balance the evil, and an underlying message of faith that carries through. For this reason and more, I am so glad I went on the journey L.K. Simonds crafted in Stork Bite.

 

**I was provided with a copy of Stork Bites by the publisher and this is my voluntary and honest review.**


 

MEET L.K. SIMONDS

L. K. Simonds is a Fort Worth local whose debut novel, All In, was published in 2019.

  WEBSITE    FACEBOOK    TWITTER

  AMAZON    GOODREADS 

  INSTAGRAM   BOOKBUB 


GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

ONE WINNER

(U.S. Only)

Signed Paperbacks of ALL IN and STORK BITE

Plus $50 Visa Gift Card.

Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, February 5, 2021

A RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY


CLICK TO VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE 

FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, or visit the blogs directly:

1/26/21

Review

That’s What She’s Reading

1/26/21

Review

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

1/27/21

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

1/28/21

Review

The Page Unbound

1/28/21

Review

KayBee’s Book Shelf

1/29/21

Review

Momma on the Rocks

1/29/21

BONUS Promo

Hall Ways Blog

1/30/21

Review

Rainy Days with Amanda

1/31/21

Review

Tangled in Text

2/1/21

Review

Librariel Book Adventures

2/1/21

Review

Jennifer Silverwood

2/2/21

Review

The Clueless Gent

2/2/21

BONUS Promo

All the Ups and Downs

2/3/21

Review

Book Bustle

2/3/21

Review

Forgotten Winds

2/4/21

Review

It’s Not All Gravy

2/4/21

Review

Reading by Moonlight


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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Stork Bite

Add yours

  1. Hi Jennifer! I’m honored that you stepped outside your comfort zone to invest your time and imagination in Stork Bite. I’m especially thrilled that you highlighted the message that of good in the midst of evil and the faith that carried these characters through. Thank you for reading and reviewing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Lisa, thank you so much for the opportunity to read your book! I honestly felt like you opened a window into the past, and many of the experiences I heard my grandmother and g-great aunts and uncles share with me of life on an East Texas farm 🙂 I look forward to reading your next book!

      Liked by 1 person

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