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Posted May 5, 2005
. . . and so much more. THE ROAD TO RANDADO is a delightful read. Clearly a storyteller first, Ida Harbison Luttrell has also delivered herself of a well-crafted biography. Though more character study than genealogy, the book highlights 200 years of history in as many pages. Another fine title from Panther Creek Press, THE ROAD TO RANDADO is a handsome volume that contains an impressive collection of high-quality color and sepia photos as rich as the characters and scenes captured. THE ROAD TO RANDADO chronicles the life and times of the author's forebears, colorful characters who weathered early Texas with the grit you'd expect from a family that produced a Texas Ranger-Pell Harbison, the central character and the author's father. An accomplished author of fiction, mostly children's books, Luttrell is skilled in holding readers' interest, a talent that serves her well in this book, elevating what might otherwise be considered an everyday family memoir to compelling narrative nonfiction. This book is an obvious labor of love, seasoned with myriad sources--news accounts, journals, receipts, even tombstone engravings--and filled with anecdotes selected and arranged in a way that brings the characters and the story to life. In one of many fun, light-hearted passages, Luttrell writes of Ranger Harbison's wife, a faithful woman who 'gave up on ever getting him inside a church.' Among the Ranger's arguments: 'When we got married that made us one. I don't have to go to no church to get to Heaven. When I die, I'll just go where you go.' Anyone who values family, remembers what 'an honest day's work' used to mean, and appreciates the Texan's near-religious commitment to land, will enjoy this book from the first page to the last. In fact, Luttrell rewards readers with a poignant ending, beautifully written and reminiscent of Miss O'Hara's tearful recognition of the meaning of 'Tara.' The final 'terra' scene in Luttrell's small-scale epic is no less moving, the kind of ending that can at once bring a tear and a smile with the quiet understanding that here was a life well-lived: 'He was buried in Greenhill Cemetery where coyotes lope among the headstones at night and mockingbirds sing by day. A fitting place for an old Texan so close to the land.' And here is a book well-written, its characters and its author testament to the diverse talents of this Texas ranching family.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.