Velva Jean Learns to Flyby Jennifer Niven, Emily Durante (Narrated by)
Velva Jean Hart, the fiercely independent heroine of Jennifer Niven's spectacular debut novel, Velva Jean Learns to Drive, returns in a captivating adventure that literally sends her soaring. Bristling at the limitations faced by a woman in rural Appalachia and fueled by the memory of her late Mama telling her to "live out there," Velva Jean hits the road to pursue her dream of singing at the Grand Ole Opry. But after a string of auditions, she begins to lose hope-until her brother pays her a surprise visit and treats Velva Jean to a flying lesson that ignites a brand-new dream: to become a female pilot. Funny, poignant, and utterly unforgettable, Velva Jean Learns to Fly will have fans cheering all over again.
- Tantor Media, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Library - Unabridged CD
- Product dimensions:
- 6.80(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.00(d)
What People are Saying About This
A Southern Literary Review “Read of the Month”
“An endearing portrait of a young woman with a big heart—Velva Jean Learns to Fly illuminates the power of going after a dream and the courage it takes to never let go.”
—Beth Hoffman, bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
“Besides creating a gutsy heroine, who, despite the repressive times, never becomes bitter, Niven’s writing shines overall. Cheers to Niven, Velva Jean, and the two further books of her remarkable story to come in 2012 and 2013.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Readers who enjoy Fannie Flagg and other down-home Southern writers will be entertained by this saucy adventure sprinkled with a gamut of human emotions.”
“A tasteful blend of comedy, inspiration, and endurance . . . filled with love, despair, and life-threatening adventures. Niven delivers another tale full of hope, heartbreak, and nostalgia in this sequel to Velva Jean Learns to Drive.”
“A very special World War II novel. . . . Jennifer Niven’s ongoing portrayal of this totally engaging young woman set within a stunning vision of the American South during WWII is a major achievement. The explorations of the Nashville music industry and the WASP initiative are rich in evocative detail.”
—Southern Literary Review
“Velva Jean’s story delves into the contributions made by amazing women during World War II and tells a compassionate story about adventure, love, and war. This is a wonderful book—very hard to put down.”
—Ann Howard Creel, author of The Magic of Ordinary Days
“A sweeping adventure that takes the reader from the streets of Nashville to the belly of a WWII bomber.”
—Benjamin Percy, award-winning author of Red Moon and The Wilding
“In this fun, fast-paced, heartwarming sequel to Velva Jean Learns to Drive, we follow the beloved young heroine from her mountain home to Nashville. But soon after Pearl Harbor is attacked, Velva Jean begins singing a new song—one full of patriotism, courage, and feisty independence. The perfect read for any girl of any age who years to soar beyond her dreams.”
—Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of The Funeral Dress and Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen
“From the ballads of the Grand Ole Opry to the magnificent women of Avenger Field, Jennifer Niven spins a tall tale that is utterly heartfelt and rings true.”
—Sherri L. Smith, award-winning author of Flygirl
“Putting this one down is a near impossibility. The descriptions of the work, the prejudice, fear, and bittersweet success of becoming a female pilot seemed so real I felt as if I were sharing every step with Velva Jean.”
—Nancy E. Turner, award-winning author of These Is My Words
“I devoured Velva Jean Learns to Fly and immediately began spreading the word: This one is not to be missed!”
—Cassandra King, author of The Same Sweet Girls
“Who would have thought that a young woman's adventures in World War II would capture my attention—and keep it? This gripping, heartwarming action-adventure tale stays with you long after you turn the last page.”
—James Earl Jones, Tony Award-winning and Emmy Award-winning actor
Meet the Author
Jennifer Niven is the author of Velva Jean Learns to Drive, The Aqua-Net Diaries, Ada Blackjack, and The Ice Master, named one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year by Entertainment Weekly.
Emily Durante has been narrating audiobooks for over ten years and is also an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning audiobook director. She has been acting since the age of seven and has performed in a number of stage productions at the professional, collegiate, and regional levels.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Historical fiction at its best! Author Jennifer Niven uses her research skills, honed as a writer of award-winning nonfiction, to create the setting and plot of her second novel, which is even more delightful than the enjoyable Velva Jean Learns to Drive. Both novels are great choices for book clubs or community reads. Look for the continuing adventures of the plucky Velva Jean in the upcoming third novel, VJ Learns to Spy.
We first met her in Velva Jean Learns to Drive, where she was searching for her dream. Now Velva Jean is back in a second novel, pursuing her dreams. It is 1941, and Velva Jean has made it to Nashville. She is struggling to make her way in the music industry. Her heart and soul remain grounded in the mountains of North Carolina, but her dream is still to sing at The Grand Ol' Opry. To the shock of the world, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and suddenly everything is changed. Velva Jean sadly watches as men she knows go off to war. Before reporting for military duty, her brother finds her in Nashville. Determined to learn to fly, he takes Velva Jean with him to lessons. This opens up a whole new world to Velva Jean. She loves the feeling of flying, but even more she loves the challenge of it. She decides to learn to fly. Velva Jean continues to delight and surprise. From the mountains to the city to the wild blue yonder, the sky is the limit for her! Through Velva Jean we see the beginning of Women Airforce Service Pilots (Wasps) in World War II. I wonder what Velva Jean, and Jennifer Niven, will do next. I think they are capable of almost anything they put their mind to!
I love this book and have given it to many of my women friends. it has a great story and tells about getting independence and self confidence. one of my favorite books of all time
Loved this book!
Read per library reading club.
I loved this book almost as much as Velva Jean Learns to Drive. It picks up right where the first one left off. I found myself thinking about Velva Jean, even when I wasn't reading, and wondering what she was doing; as if she were a real person. The writing is rich and complete so you can invision it clearly. The characters are so interesting you want to know them and you don't want the story to end.
Velva Jean Hart is tired of small town living, including a husband who is part preacher and part moonshiner. She'd been told she had a wonderful voice and a record producer actually made a record of one of her "Yellow Truck..." songs, telling her to look him up if she ever got to Nashville, Tennessee from rural Appalachia in Alluvia, North Carolina. So she sang every song she knew as she left her home all the way to the point in Tennessee where she got a flat tire. But Velva Jean is a spunky gal and managed to conquer this problem, find a place to live, and make a friend who would help until Velva Jean finally found a job. Even after those difficult challenges, in which she bore rejection after rejection, she still managed to find a place where people could enjoy her voice and zesty personality! But a record contract did not loom, especially after she was told she needed years of music experience before she'd be ready for recording. She didn't care - she just kept writing song after song after song! Life, however, changed dramatically with the breakout of WWII, and Velva Jean's brother, Johny Clay, introduces her to a flying lesson that changes her passion forever. She goes on to become a female pilot and joins a select group of women flyers carrying out secret but no less dangerous missions within America. Here the story mixes her increasing love of flying, desire to do more for the war effort, and the horror she experiences as tragedy after tragedy happen to those she loves and others she doesn't know. Some die by attack but some are killed because of human mistakes; the latter are just as devastating and Velva Jean is responsible for bringing it to the attention of those who should be doing something about it. There is much more day-by-day description of what an amazing woman Velva Jean and other women flyers like her become. It's a quick, shocking way to grow up but this plot is filled with humor and persistent dedication, the essence of Velva Jean's personality. This novel has some very slow parts but does evolve into a funny, interesting and wonderful historical fiction piece that elevates the place of women in a time when they were expected to stay home and sew for the war effort. It includes as well the respect these women flyers known as the WAFS or Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. Jennifer has depicted a slice of life in the war that few Americans know about, and Velva Jean Hart is an unforgettable, spunky gal who stands for the best women contributing to the war effort at that time! Nicely done, Ms. Niven!