Item description for Elvis Takes A Back Seat by Leanna Ellis...
Overview Claudia McIntosh hauls a three-foot bust of Elvis Presley in the back seat of a vintage Cadillac from Dallas to Memphis wtih her aunt and a teenager to fulfill her husband's last request, hoping to locate its rightful owner.
"Elvis Takes a Back Seatby" award-winning novelist Leanna Ellis is the endearing story of Claudia, a young widow determined to fulfill her husband's last request by hauling a three-foot bust of Elvis Presley in the backseat of a vintage Cadillac from Dallas to Memphis to return it to its rightful owner. The road trip--taken with an eccentric aunt who actually knew the "King of Rock 'n' Roll," and a temperamental teen with a suspicious mind of her own--hits some royal roadblocks and detours as these women uncover pieces of their past along with the bust's mysterious history. What they find along the way changes their lives forever, inspiring readers to also step out in faith.
Brilliant Charming I absolutely adored it With memorable characters, "Elvis Takes a Back Seat" is an emotional journey well worth taking. I laughed, I cried, I sighed in contentment. Leanna Ellis is a gifted writer and a must-read. - Lorraine Heath
"Leanna Ellis takes a back seat to no one, so put on your blue suede shoes and come along for a most entertaining ride to Memphis--and to the healing place closest to the heart." Debbie Macomber, "New York Times" #1 bestselling author
From Publishers Weekly When Claudia, a 40-something Texas widow, holds a garage sale to offload some of her late husband's belongings, she discovers a note he scribbled in the last days of his illness, asking her to return a bizarre three-foot bust of Elvis Presley to Memphis. Reluctantly, Claudia embarks on a return to sender road trip to Tennessee with her 60ish aunt, who knew Elvis personally, and a caustic teenage girl who is harboring a secret. Ellis (who has built a career in romance writing under the name Leanna Wilson) has some strong moments scattered throughout the story, which is laced with over-the-top Elvis humor and interesting reflections on Claudia's cautious return to faith in God. The first half of the novel is an awkward mix of road trip sitcom and overwrought melodrama before jettisoning the humor somewhere after a tour of Graceland. Elvis fans will likely enjoy the homage paid to the Kingin addition to the travelogue of sites around Memphis, each chapter is named after an Elvis songbut others will find the gimmicks distracting. Moreover, the writing is marred by theatrical clichs (sudden tears threaten like the storm clouds popping up on the horizon). Despite some entertaining scenes in this faith fiction offering, it lacks cohesiveness. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews Elvis Takes A Back Seat by Leanna Ellis has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 10/08/2007 page 37
Christian Retailing - 12/10/2008 page 16
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Studio: B&H Fiction
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.44" Width: 5.71" Height: 0.82" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2008
Publisher Broadman And Holman
ISBN 0805446966 ISBN13 9780805446968
Availability 0 units.
More About Leanna Ellis
Leanna Ellis, formerly known to readers as Leanna Wilson, sold more than one million romance books and won numerous awards before taking a new creative direction with her much-acclaimed 2007 novel, "Elvis Takes a Back Seat." She lives with her family in Keller, Texas.
Reviews - What do customers think about Elvis Takes A Back Seat?
Disappointed Jan 21, 2010
Claudia's husband Stu has passed away. Claudia can't seem to part with any of Stu's things, including a huge bust of Elvis Presley.
Claudia relegated Elvis to the attic for the past 20 years. While going through Stu's things she finds him(Elvis) along with a note from Stu stating that Elvis needs to be returned to Memphis.
Claudia, her Aunt Rae and Ivy(Stu's best friend Ben's daughter) set out from Dallas to Memphis to try to find out where Stu originally got the Elvis bust. Each woman has a reason for being on this trip.
Rae had a relationship with Elvis when she was a young woman. While on this trip she reveals little by little bits and pieces of her life. Ivy has a secret of her own. One that will change her life forever. Claudia has lost her faith in God and is still tied to the memories of her husband.
Will each woman find the answers they are in need of? Will they eventually find where the Elvis bust belongs? Will Claudia find her faith again? Will Ivy make the right choices for her life?
I can't say this was one of my favorite books to read. I thought it was dis-jointed in parts. I couldn't tell who was talking to whom or even sometimes who was doing the talking! I thought the spiritual content was pretty weak. There was talk of having faith in God, but never how to have that faith. When the characters visit the "church" that the Elvis bust supposedly came from and talk about seeing "the ghost of Elvis" started the book pretty much lost me. Even with all of that though I did feel a connection and enough interest in the book to finish it and find out what happens to everyone. If you are looking for a deeper spiritual message this is probably not for you.
A Real Must Read May 14, 2008
Memphis or Bust
Determined to fulfill her husband's last request, Claudia McIntosh is hauling a three-foot bust of Elvis Presley in the back seat of a vintage Cadillac from Dallas to Memphis, hoping to locate the kitschy sculpture's rightful owner. Along for the ride are her eccentric aunt who knew the King of Rock 'n' Roll and a temperamental teen with a suspicious mind of her own. When the road trip hits the Heartbreak Hotel, these three women uncover pieces of their past along with the bust's mysterious history--discoveries that will leave them all shook up and change their lives forever.
The first thing I noticed when I started reading this book was the wonderful way Leanna puts her words together--the cadence of the sentences and the unexpected words used in descriptions. Being a novelist myself, I wanted to study her techniques.
Very soon, I was sucked in and lost myself in the wonderful story. I loved her characters, and she defined each one superbly.
One of my editors recently wrote on her blog that authors need to look at things from a different perspective--turn things around and see where this takes them. Leanna did this very well. The fresh way she presented this story took the reader into the hearts and souls of the characters.
I highly recommend this book. It's a must read.
Top notch fiction Apr 17, 2008
There are so many books out there and so little time to read them all. This is one story I recommend you take the time to enjoy. While there is nothing fluffy about this book, it does have it's humorous moments. There are also some very deep moments and emotional ties that develop between these friends whe secrets come out that challenge their beliefs. I found some of the struggles they dealt with to be very true-to-life. And when it comes to grief and loss, I dare say I don't think I've read anything more real and honest than Claudia's perspective. I've read a lot of stories where people were angry with God for losing a loved one, but Leanna Ellis makes this one feel...real. It's hard to explain, but if you know someone who is angry and feels far away from God because they can't seem to let go, this would be a great book to give them to help them work through that.
But this story is more than just a glance into someone's pain, it's a compelling tale of three women who all have serious issues to deal with. The dialogue is natural and feels so real. The way the author brings these issues to the forefront through the story is incredibly well-done. You can actually learn something about your own heart and your own relationship with God from reading this book. That's a skill few authors have, and that's what makes it fabulous Christian fiction in my book. I highly recommend it.
Get in the groove! Feb 25, 2008
Still grieving from her husband's early death, Claudia stumbles across a note from him, with an odd request - take Stu's beloved bust of Elvis back to Memphis. Unable to refuse, Claudia hits the road in Stu's red vintage Cadillac with her Aunt Rae, an unconventional woman with a mysterious tie to Elvis and the conspicuous bust of Elvis riding in the back seat. Joining them is Ivy, the teenage daughter of Stu's best friend Ben, unpredictable and defiant and maybe more than the childless Claudia can handle.
Their journey is replete with shocking revelations, fascinating people, a sharing of secrets and finally, blossoming hope and love.
Leanna Ellis tells a unique and quirky tale that is fun, captivating and inspiring. Claudia, Rae and Ivy represent woman across the generations and their interaction, though not without difficulties, engagingly highlights the importance of female relationships. Leanna is adept at creating poignant and tender scenes without sentimentality as the characters battle with grief, fear, rejection, faith and love. Seamlessly woven throughout the story are fascinating insights into Elvis' life, love lost and rediscovered and burgeoning hope. If you are looking fsomething a little different from the main fare and a better than average read, Elvis Takes a Back Seat is is the real deal!
A Matter of Faith Jan 29, 2008
Claudia is a young widow who is having a hard time moving on with her life. After experiencing the loss of her parents, she was faced with the illness and eventual death of her husband. Claudia was the kind of wife who built her life around her husband's hopes and dreams. With his death, and no children of her own to tend to, she felt lost. As the book opens, as a result of the prodding of her friends, Claudia has pulled out all of her parents' and husband's belongings and attempts to have a yard sale. However, on the day of the sale, she finds time and time again, she is unable to let go of the belongings.
While preparing for the sale, Claudia sees a lamp she understandably banished to the attic from the beginning of her marriage. The lamp, also a bust in the image of Elvis, was treasured by her late husband, and a reflection of just how much of an Elvis fan he was. When Claudia sees the lamp, she immediately knows she cannot sell it. When she discovers a note from her husband in the box, the beginnings of a plan for a road trip to return Elvis to his proper home begins to develop. Before long, Claudia, her aunt, and her best friend's daughter, head off to Graceland, with Elvis, too big to fit in the trunk, riding along in the backseat. As the group travels across state lines en route to Graceland, they get to know one another better, and it soon becomes apparent that this was more than a road trip, but rather, a journey to self-discovery.
ELVIS TAKES A BACK SEAT was an unexpected pleasure to read. In addition to telling a good story, the book carries readers on a roller coaster ride that covers the full spectrum of emotions. Leanna Ellis has created an interesting group of characters and then, like peeling back layers of an onion, she slowly reveals more and more about their lives, their secrets, and their innermost fears. The characters are genuine, flawed, and colorful, making it easy to empathize with their struggles. Elvis represents so many things in ELVIS TAKES A BACK SEAT, from letting go of the past, having faith, and the struggle between our human nature and our spiritual nature; yet the story is so much bigger. This book is poignant display of how family secrets, doubt, fear, rejection, and even love impact each of us. Finally, ELVIS TAKES A BACK SEAT is a testament to the goodness of God's grace.
Reviewed by Stacey Seay of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers