Publisher: Outskirts Press
Includes: Prologue and Epilogue
Genre: fiction based on a true story (somewhat of an autobiography)
Source: complimentary copy from the author for review
Black Gold, Brazen Greed, and Hidden Abuse drive UTOPIA TEXAS
(from the back cover) "Author Betty Byrd has seen it all-including drilling her very own oil well! She now brings her unique vision and experience to Utopia Texas, a riveting tale of Brya Harrison, a woman created by chance and circumstance. Part gambler, part geologist, Brya knows that in the West Texas oil country upbringing may not matter, but status is everything. She has worked hard to secure her position, but she finds her plans unravel when she discovers that her daughter, Olivia, is somehow "different," and is forced to face the unfathomable--one startling revelation at a time. Drawn into a maelstrom of events fueled by her daughter's indiscretions, Brya sets out to cover each one up--whatever the cost. But will she be able to combat the demons plaguing her daughter as skillfully as she is able to face down her competition in the cutthroat world of big oil?
In this stunning follow-up to the author's debut novel, Trinity's Daughter, Betty Byrd has woven a brilliant tale of wealth, greed, love, and the pursuit of power--and how one particular woman holds her own in the male-dominated oil business."
"Both a rich portrait of mid-century oil speculation and a classic tale of mother-daughter conflict, Utopia Texas is no paradise, but it's a satisfying - and sometimes frightening - trip through purgatory."
- Kirkus Review, New York, NY
My review: Ms. Byrd writes a compelling tale with complex and dynamic characters. Individuals that the reader comes to hate, to pity, to empathize with. Through colourful imagery and language mixed with accounts of abuse, religious fanaticism, and love, we come to know this family. I shuddered with horror reading of the abuse, the denials, the struggles of an innocent young girl. And yet, I was compelled to read on. The author tells the story well and one hopes to see resolution and liberation. We read on in search of it and a happy ending.
For fear of it becoming a spoiler, I cannot say more. It's a difficult topic, that of abuse, both to write and to read. Let me just say, if one can overlook the references to sex, the language, and the accounts of abusive behavior, which are not graphic, you will feel as I did. My heart ached for this girl, for the terrible trials she went through but at the same time, gloried in the knowledge that she did have love in her extended family. I believe the author achieved her purpose, both personal and professional, in this concluding book in the series.
Note: One does not have to read Trinity's Daughters to understand the storyline here. Utopia Texas makes for a good stand alone novel as well.