Between Heaven and Texas


In this luminous prequel to her beloved Cobbled Court Quilts series, New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick takes listeners into the heart of a small Texas town and the soul of a woman who discovers her destiny there…

Welcome to Too Much—where the women are strong-willed and the men are handsome yet shiftless. Ever since Mary Dell Templeton and her twin sister Lydia Dale were children, their Aunt Velvet has warned them away from local boys. But it’s well known that the...

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In this luminous prequel to her beloved Cobbled Court Quilts series, New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick takes listeners into the heart of a small Texas town and the soul of a woman who discovers her destiny there…

Welcome to Too Much—where the women are strong-willed and the men are handsome yet shiftless. Ever since Mary Dell Templeton and her twin sister Lydia Dale were children, their Aunt Velvet has warned them away from local boys. But it’s well known that the females in Mary Dell’s family have two traits in common—superior sewing skills and a fatal weakness for men.

While Lydia Dale grows up petite and pretty, Mary Dell just keeps growing. Tall, smart, and sassy, she is determined to one day turn her love of sewing into a business. Meanwhile, she’ll settle for raising babies with her new husband, Donny. But that dream proves elusive too, until finally, Mary Dell gets the son she always wanted—a child as different as he is wonderful. And as Mary Dell is forced to reconsider what truly matters in her family and her marriage, she begins to piece together a life that, like the colorful quilts she creates, will prove vibrant, rich, and absolutely unforgettable…

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Even when they were girls in Texas, Mary Dell Templeton's tendency to speak her mind set her apart from her twin sister, Lydia Dale. After both young women succumb to the family's "fatal flaw" (falling for "a certain sort of man"), it is sisterhood that gets them through the rough times—everything from Lydia's divorce to the birth of Mary Dell's beloved son, who has Down syndrome, to the subsequent disappearance of Mary Dell's husband. The sisters, inspired by a long line of determined Texas women, set about running a ranch on their own and launching Mary Dell on the path to becoming a quilting legend. VERDICT Fans of Bostwick's five "Cobbled Court Quilt" novels will relish this prequel for the opportunity to see high-spirited Mary Dell Templeton in her younger years. It's a book for fans of novels featuring sassy, independent women, Southern novels with witty dialog, or stories featuring quilting. Readers looking for tales of families dealing with children with special needs may also appreciate Bostwick's realistic handling of the issues involving the birth of a child with Down syndrome.—Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh P.L., IN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480536142
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Series: Cobble Court Quilts Series
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Marie Bostwick Skinner was born and raised in the northwest. In the three decades since her marriage, Marie and her family have moved frequently, living in eight different states at eighteen different addresses, three of them in Texas. These experiences have given Marie a unique perspective that enables her to write about people from all walks of life and corners of the country with insight and authenticity. Marie currently resides in Connecticut where she enjoys writing, spending time with family, helping out at church, gardening, collecting fabric, and stitching quilts. Visit her at
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Read an Excerpt

Between Heaven and Texas



Copyright © 2013Marie Bostwick
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7582-6929-4



Too Much, Texas 1970

Nineteen-year-old Mary Dell Templeton pushed her white lace veil away from her face, knelt down in front of the toilet, and seriously considered vomiting.

She could hear the staccato tapping of her mother's high heels coming down the hallway and reached up to click over the lock only a moment before Taffy tried the knob and then started hammering on the door.

"Mary Dell? Open the door. I will not put up with any of your nonsense today, young lady. Cousin Organza only knows three songs on the piano, and she's played them through four times already. People are starting to notice. Do not embarrass me in front of half the town, young lady!"

Taffy Templeton paused, then rattled the knob again. "Mary Dell? Do you hear me? You unlock that door and come out here right now!"

Mary Dell closed her eyes and leaned down, resting her forehead on the cool curve of the porcelain seat. "I can't. I feel sick."

Taffy made an exasperated sound. "Well, of course you feel sick. It's your wedding day. What did you expect?"

It was a fair question.

What in the world was she doing, marrying Donny Bebee? When he'd proposed, she'd immediately said yes, relieved that her problems had been so easily solved by uttering that one little word. But what if marrying Donny wasn't the solution it seemed to be? What if she was just exchanging one set of problems for another? She barely knew Donny. Four months ago, she'd never even heard his name.

Another wave of nausea hit her as she realized that even now, she didn't know his middle name. Or if he even had a middle name! How could she possibly promise to love, honor, and cherish until death did them part a man whose middle name was a mystery to her?

Before she'd met Donny, she was unattached and content to remain that way for the foreseeable future. Now she was engaged, nauseous, and crouched in front of the commode in a wedding dress, minutes away from either becoming Mrs. Donald Middle-Name-Unknown Bebee or busting through the bathroom door, knocking down her mother, and making a run for the nearest pickup truck and the Mexican border.

How had she gotten herself into this mess?


As Mary Dell's maternal aunt, Miss Velvet Tudmore, the executive director of the Too Much Historical Society, would tell you, it is impossible to separate the present and future from the history that precedes it. So to understand how Mary Dell Templeton came to lock herself in the bathroom on her wedding day, you have to take a look back through her personal and family history and, more importantly, the history of the town.

Like a lot of towns in that part of the state, there appears to be no geographic or economic reason to explain the existence of Too Much, Texas. Ninety-five miles slightly southeast of Dallas, it simply rises out of the scrubby brown landscape as though someone of great stubbornness, fortitude, or both simply woke up one day and decided to build a town, like Moses striking a rock and summoning forth water in the desert. According to legend and Miss Velvet, that's pretty much how it happened.

In October of 1962, Mary Dell Templeton and her twin sister, Lydia Dale, along with the rest of the fifth graders of Sam Houston Elementary, took a field trip to the historical society to learn about the origins of Too Much. It was an important rite of passage, one that the town's youngest citizens had taken part in for many years.

The day began with a tour of the society's collection of artifacts, housed in the basement of the courthouse, a mishmash of memorabilia that included a rusty hand plow; a menu from the Blue Bonnet Café signed by Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who stopped in for banana cream pie before robbing the First Reliable Bank; the journal of Justine Tudmore Plank, Too Much's most famous citizen, who wrote a series of children's books in the 1920s; a pine pulpit that emerged unscathed from the flames when the First Baptist Church burned to the ground in 1912; a wheel and axle from a pioneer wagon; and the black leather bag filled with rusty surgical instruments and glass bottles bearing labels for sterile catgut and chloroform that once belonged to the town's first licensed physician.

After the tour, Miss Velvet shepherded the children into the town square, ordering them to form a half circle in front of a bronze statue of a slightly scowling woman dressed in pioneer garb with her arms crossed defiantly over her chest. Then she related the tale of Too Much's founding mother, Flagadine Tudmore, just as she had learned it from her mother, who had heard it from her mother, and so on.

"When Texas was still a republic, George and Flagadine Tudmore and their four children set out from Arkansas to Austin with the intention of claiming the six hundred and forty acres of land that was being offered to new settlers. The journey was hard and long, and George, who never was much of a planner, didn't start off until high summer. By the time the Tudmores reached the Texas border, the temperatures had been above one hundred for twenty-two days running, and the family's water supply was dangerously low.

"On the seventeenth night of August, 1840, George picketed his two tired, lame horses out next to a little patch of scrub near Puny Wallow—"

Without raising his hand, Jack Benny Benton interrupted. "Don't you mean Puny Pond?"

Miss Velvet's flinty features became even sharper as she scowled at the boy. "No. If I'd meant Puny Pond, I'd have said so. Back then it was a wallow, little more than a mud pit with a couple of inches of brown water at the bottom. Flagadine sieved out the mud and boiled it to use for drinking, bathing, and doing laundry.

"When George was hitching up the horses the next morning, Flagadine, whose thinking had been cleared mightily by rehydration and clean undergarments, grabbed the reins of the bay horse and said, 'It's just too much, George. Too much sun. Too much wind. Too much heat. Besides, there's something about this place, don't you agree? But whether you do or you don't, this is as far as I go.'

"And George," the old woman went on with a proud tilt to her chin, "knowing the kind of woman she was—and being the kind of man he was—figured there wasn't any point in fighting her. He unhitched the horses while Flagadine unpacked the wagon. And that, boys and girls, is how Too Much, Texas, got its start: on the conviction of a strong-willed woman and the indolence of a handsome but shiftless man. Which," she concluded with a sorry shake of her head, "pretty well describes the makeup of our population to this day."

Elbowing the boy next to him, Jack Benny Benton, whose father spent his days sitting on the porch at the Ice House, nursing a bottle of Lone Star and tying knots in a length of rope, asked the plain-featured old lady, "Is that why you never got married, Miss Velvet? Because the men in Too Much are too lazy?"

"Yes," the old spinster said without a trace of irony. "Yes, it is, Jack Benny."

When the children lined up for the walk back to school, Jack Benny Benton jockeyed for a spot behind Mary Dell and Lydia Dale. He was about to give one of Lydia Dale's blond braids a tug when Miss Velvet's voice rang out from behind.

"Lydia Dale! Mary Dell! Come back here for a minute."

The two girls ran up to the old woman. "What is it, Aunt Velvet?"

Miss Velvet crouched down low and whispered urgently, "You steer clear of that Jack Benny Benton."

"Why?" Lydia Dale asked. "He's all right."

"And Momma says the Bentons are richer than Midas," Mary Dell added.

Mary Dell didn't have a clear understan

Excerpted from Between Heaven and Texas by MARIE BOSTWICK. Copyright © 2013 by Marie Bostwick. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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