Jeanne Featured
Book Review, Briggs & Schuster, Coming of Age, Historical Fiction

Jeanne by Sylvia Hornback



At dawn on a sweltering summer day, scrabbling sounds alerted Jeanne of the intruder downstairs. The pull chain rattled against the light bulb in the kitchen. Instantly a sliver of yellow light raced up the stairs and into her bedroom. Someone was moving about inside the house and had even been bold enough to turn on a light. It wasn’t the first time she’d awakened to the sounds of this intruder.


Sylvia Hornback’s rich historical coming-of-age novel is filled with love, strife, heartache, and hope. 

Jeanne is a young girl struggling to survive in a time of turmoil and constant change. She is working on her grandparent’s farm, taking care of her younger brother with a mental disability, finishing school, and desperately trying to make peace with an absent mother and father.  On top of that, she corresponds with her older brother and his friend Daniel who have joined the war. Jeanne is a wonderful character who grows up very quickly shouldering burdens with grace and strength. 

The colorful characters in this book are abundant and diverse including Grandpa and Grandma Biddy, Eli, Robbie, Betty Ann, Daniel, and of course, the boisterous Auntie Boot who is a joy to all with her honesty and candidness which Jeanne cherishes. Let’s not forget Old Dog, who, in my opinion, can sniff out a bad seed by howling and barking like no tomorrow.

The story is a somber, but hopeful one by revealing the hardships in the 1930s and 1940s through a young teenager’s eyes. If you like historical fiction, please give this one a try.

Thank you to Ms. Hornback for giving me the opportunity to review this book with no expectation of a positive review.



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Sylvia HornbackSylvia Hornback received her Doctorate of Education Administration from Texas A&M University. She is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for ENERGY Worldnet, Inc., and served as an educator, principal and school superintendent for over two decades. Among her many accolades, she was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School Principal by the U.S. Secretary of Education. For the past ten years, she has served as a Bible study teacher at First United Methodist Church near her home in Decatur, Texas. Her first novel, “The Mallard Conspiracy, ” was published last year. For more information visit

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