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Elvis Takes a Back Seat
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Elvis Takes a Back Seat

4.1 11
by Leanna Ellis

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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


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

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“heartwarming, funny, delightful…I was floored by the way this book made me feel. Elvis Takes a back Seat is first-class entertainment.” RomanceReaderAtHeart.com

“Absolutely brilliantly written…This book has everything a good read should have: some tears, a little witticism, meaningful connections, a few good belly laughs and hugs.” TCM Reviews

Product Details

B&H Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

“Here goes everything,” I mumble and push the button. A whirring noise starts. In its cantankerous manner that reflects my own attitude, the garage door shifts against its will, lurches, and swings upward.

“What’s this?” Aunt Rae pats an unmarked box, large enough to hold a small refrigerator. The oscillating fan we set up to combat the Dallas heat stirs her long gray hair. “A hidden treasure?”

“Might be that old lamp Stu’s first boss gave us for a wedding present. Pretty hideous.” I straighten a poster board sign that reads “$1 each.” Stu’s business ties remind me of dinners and dances, parties and pain.

Rae separates the arthritic box tabs, sending dust particles in every direction. The dust sticks to my sweaty legs. I dig beneath the crumpled packing paper until I reach gleaming black pottery. Recognition slams into me, and a prickling heat crawls up the back of my neck. My stomach turns lumpy and sticky with irritation like my mother’s fig preserves that Daddy pretended to like but which I scraped off into the trash. The heat of the day presses in on me, intensifies like a solar flare. At the same time, sounds and awareness of others recede into the distance like a fog curling back toward the bay.

I shake off my crazy reaction. It’s nothing. I won’t let it be anything. I slap the tabs down, push the box toward the corner. Cardboard scrapes concrete. “It’s nothing.”

“Oh, come on.” Rae puts a hand on my arm. “This lamp I gotta see.”

“Leave it alone,” I snap. In my head, I hear my mother’s shocked gasp. “Claudia,” she’d say, “if you can’t say something nice . . .”

I should go through these things alone, although I haven’t bothered. My weakness angers me more than my aunt’s interference. “I’m sorry, Rae.”

She waves off my apology and dips her arms into the mounds of paper. Heaving, she lifts the object from inside the box and staggers backward. “What is this?” She grunts and struggles under the bulk.

The box catches on a chiseled nose. I step forward and tug the box loose. My stomach folds in on itself like cardboard crumpling. I kick the box out of the way (a little harder than necessary) and wince at my already-sore toe.

I embrace the hard edges of the base. Propping one knee beneath the bust, I brace an arm under the ceramic chin and a hand on the smooth, round head. “Aunt Rae,” I say, embarrassed as I maneuver the bulky pottery around to face her, “meet—”

“My God!” My aunt’s mouth goes slack.

“No,” my voice cracks, “just Elvis.”

It isn’t a sculpture of any report. Cheap and tacky, the Elvis bust ranks right up there with black-velvet wall hangings from Tijuana. Since the first time I saw him over twenty years ago, I’ve wanted to get rid of Elvis. The heat of my anger burns hot until it slowly begins to evaporate, forming at first a barrier in my thoughts like a steamed-up mirror.

I remember Stu’s college apartment where the bust held a place of honor on a stool in the corner of the den. Stu’s giant stereo speakers were laid on their sides next to Elvis as if bowing to his sovereignty.

“What he said then,” Rae whispers, “it was true.”

Confused, I start to question her, but a flurry of expressions flicker across her face. She reaches out to touch the bust, then pulls back. Her many silver rings flash in the early morning sunlight, sending a kaleidoscope of colors bouncing around the garage, as uncatchable as her look. “You can’t sell this, Claudia.”

Meet the Author

Leanna Ellis sold more than 1.3 million romantic novels writing as Leanna Wilson, winning a Readers’ Choice award and the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award for her work. Elvis Takes a Back Seat is the first book published under her married name, marking a new creative direction in her writing. Like Francine Rivers before her, Leanna has left behind a successful career as an author of secular romances to write novels of faith that glorify God. A former schoolteacher, Leanna is now a homeschool mom and lives with her husband and children in Keller, Texas.

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Elvis Takes a Back Seat 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took me a while to get into it, but once I did, I found it to be very well done and would recomment it to others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story surprised me in so many ways! It is deeper than the description implies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful story that dealt with many relationships and healing. The characters were believable and relatable. A very good read!
Mona Bultena More than 1 year ago
This is story about faith, hope, and learning to let go!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A riot and a romp with lots of heart. I could feel for Claudia McIntosh and her crazy pilgrimage. Some of the scenes at the Heartbroke Hotel nearly broke my own heart. A delightful read!
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this charming, innovative novel, three women set off on a road trip that will change each of their lives. Along for the ride is a three-foot bust of Elvis Presley, the catalyst for their journey. Elvis Takes a Back Seat is a wonderfully quirky tale, but don't be fooled by the cover or cute title. While there's plenty of fun to be had (I laughed out loud more than once) author Ellis deals with deep emotions and serious subjects. The characters are wonderfully unique, but completely real and compelling. In this book, as in life, there are no easy answers, but it's a journey well worth taking. Come along for the ride of your life!
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In Texas fortyish widow Claudia feels all alone as her parents and child previously died and now she organizes some of her recently deceased husband¿s items for a garage sale she is holding. However, amongst her spouse¿s belongings she finds a note he must have wrote just before dying. His last request was to have Claudia return a weird bust of Elvis that she had planned to sell to Memphis.------------- Claudia would prefer not to drive to Tennessee, but foolishly told her sexagenarian Aunt Rae, who knew the King and pushes her niece to do her late husband¿s final bidding as a way they can come together. Thus, Claudia, Aunt Rae and acerbic fifteen years old pregnant Ivy, daughter of a family friend, drive from Texas to Tennessee while ELVIS TAKES A BACK SEAT to these three traveling females who bond on the road and in Memphis especially after Graceland.----------------- Once Leanna Ellis decides between homage to Elvis and emote end of the world sister angst the story line turns into a deep character study of the three females. Ironically when ELVIS TAKES A BACK SEAT to the threesome while on the road the trio overwhelm the readers with their melodramatic torment that apparently is hyperbolic humor that reads awkward. In Memphis Elvis moves to the front and so do the women who come across as genuine with issues in which they bond. Overall an entertaining tale of three generations of women finding their way through Elvis (each chapter reflectively is titled with an Elvis song).---------- Harriet Klausner