Between Heaven and Texas

Between Heaven and Texas

by Marie Bostwick

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In this luminous prequel to her beloved Cobbled Court Quilts series, New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick takes readers 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. . .

Praise For Marie Bostwick's Between Heaven And Texas

"Brilliant. . .the characters thunder with life right off the page and into your heart in this quintessential story of family, forgiveness, and nobility. I just adored every single page!"--Dorothea Benton Frank, New York Times bestselling author

"This book wrapped around my heart with all the love, warmth, and beauty of a favorite family quilt. I can't stop thinking about it! I'm in love with Mary Dell Templeton, and I'm in love with Too Much, Texas." --Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"A book that brims with laughter and laser-sharp insight." --Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author

"With Texas-sized helpings of humor, charm, and sass, this tale will put you in a Lone Star state-of-mind!" --Lauren Lipton, author of Mating Rituals of the North American WASP

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496707277
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 01/26/2016
Series: A Too Much, Texas Novel Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 592,335
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Marie Bostwick 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. 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 Portland, where she enjoys writing, spending time with family, gardening, collecting fabric, and stitching quilts. Visit her at

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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Between Heaven and Texas 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
sulky597 More than 1 year ago
I have read the whole series and have loved everyone of them. This book was great - no tissues needed - thank goodness!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These characters are so real you'd like to invite them (well, some of them) to dinner! Marie Bostwick draws the reader in and delivers a wonderful story while developing complex relationships. Altogether a sensitive look at the challenges facing the differently abled and their families.
Nutzforquilting More than 1 year ago
I loved the book and reading about Mary Dell. I can't wait for the next book to come out, which I hope comes out soon. I've really enjoyed all the books in Marie's Cobble Court Quilt series.
dcruz More than 1 year ago
Marie Bostwick has become one of my favorite authors. I can't wait for whatever she writes next.
sunshineJB More than 1 year ago
This Book Will Touch Your Heart! This isn't the first book that I have read by Marie Bostwick and it certainly  won't be the last. I loved this book. It is full of real life situations. I thoroughly enjoyed the Templeton family. Mary Dell and Lydia Dale had the strength and bond that is characteristic of not only sisters but twin sisters. The bond between the two made for a delightful read. Their Momma Taffy was quite a piece of work herself! This book proved that blood is thicker than water. Toward the very end of this  book we find that Momma Taffy will do what she has to do to protect her own. I found myself with many laugh out loud moments. However, there are some very  serious issues that take place, along with some heartbreaks. The courage that  Mary Dell and Lydia Dale had while facing their trials in life, had me rooting for them until the very end. Sometimes we don't get the desires of our heart but then again sometimes we get more than what we desire. I hope that after reading my review, you will pick up a copy of this book. I know you will like it! Thank you kensington Publishing for sending me an ARC to read and review. I enjoyed it alot!  The opinions expressed in this review are mine alone.
Ms-BAZ More than 1 year ago
I love Marie! All her stories come from the heart. I love the way she weaves in stories of real every day problems for people with disabilities and how they overcome.
jbarr5 More than 1 year ago
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND TEXAS by Marie Bostwick I first learned of this book from my mother as she's followed the whole series. I knew it dealt with quilting and that was my pull to this book. Love the color and all the different fabrics and especially the design of the squares. Loved hearing the story of Mary submitting designs to the quilt magazine and how she was rejected time after time. This has happened to me as well-not quilting but knitting and crochet so I know the pain. The book encompasses a one year span of not only Mary's life, her marriage, Donny walking out of her marriage, the birth of the child and living on the ranch and taking care of chores and bills. The story also follows others that live on the ranch. She gets her one chance at becoming famous with a quilt store of her own, her articles in a magazine and the store furnished with stock. Problem is there are many stumbing blocks along the way: losing the store to another, fire at the ranch, etc. It's almost too much, surely too much that she gives in and gives up... Love hearing what Donny's brother Grayson does with the ranch and Lydia to make them all feel worthwhile. Love hearing of getting everybody with pillows and blankets into the back of the station wagon and going to the drive in-oh the days! Pretty sure I will get the rest of the books in this series as the storyline is very appealing to me. I received this book from The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story, very well written and I want to know more. I will definitly buy more books. Please keep writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an interesting and enlightening book. I loved the messages that were imparted. The experiences, the desired goals that were achieved, and how it was done. The book was well written, and the parts regarding Howard informative and in good taste. I will definitely continue reading more of Ms. Bostwick's books. I hope the next one is as hard to put down as this one was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This whole series of books are wonderful and the values will stay with you for long time. We'll worth spending many enjoyable afternoons reading. I liked all of these people.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the characters. Easy read. Also enjoying the sequel. Wish the number of pages would be included on the shopping app when using the Nook devise. File size doesn't mean much to me.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great read. I fell in love with the characters. This is the second book I have read by this author. I can't wait to read more.
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52chickadees More than 1 year ago
Love, Longing and Loyalty Shine in Ms. Bostwick’s Best Work to Date..” If you have enjoyed Marie Bostwick’s Cobbled Court series, you’re going to fall in love with “Too Much”, Texas and be thrilled that our beloved Mary Dell Templeton is back. We learn how her famous ancestors, George and Flagadine Tudmore settled the prime acreage now known as the F-Bar-T Ranch, long before Texas gained statehood. The Tudmore women are a sturdy, strong, savvy and sassy lot, and Mary Dell and her twin sister, Lydia Dale are no exception. They all have two things in common, (with the exception of Maiden Aunt Velvet), the love of their land and the “Fatal Flaw”. Even though they had been warned, the Tudmore women’s lust and longing overrode their hearts and heads, with some making poor decisions in the matrimonial department. Everyone has hopes and dreams. Mary Dell did too. From an early age, her talents in sewing were remarkable and she envisioned owning her own shoppe and selling “Her brand of fashions”. Her designs are definitely one of a kind and, sometimes, something only she would have gumption enough to wear. Little did she know that her stitchery plans would take a turn and she’d end up at the altar, marrying handsome and kind Donny Bebee and thoughts of a home and family out shadow her thoughts of shoppe and career, especially when a beautiful blue-eyed baby boy named Howard enters their lives. Meanwhile, her willowy, beauty queen, twin sister, Lydia Dale meets the cowboy of her dreams as well—only to be heartbroken and she succumbs to the fatal flaw, and marries someone no where near her equal. With folks not really head-over-heels crazy for her fashion designs, Mary Dell turns to quilting and finds her niche in life and in love. You’ll chuckle at some of the family antics. You’ll cry and feel Mary Dell’s heartbreak then her stubbornness and determination, You’ll want to hug Mary Dell as you identify with her dilemmas, as well as wanting to smack her Mother, Taffy upside her head then cheer as she gets the best of the Benton Clan Matriarch. Will Mary Dell achieve her long-awaited dream? Will Lydia Dale rid herself and her children of her lazy, “not worth his weight in spit” husband, Jack Benny? But, through it all, one thing stands firm, when the twins combine their talents, there’s nothing or no one they cannot handle. Ms. Bostwick has pulled me into Too Much with her vivid descriptiveness and I now feel like part of the Tudmore family. I certainly hope we’ll be reading more about Mary Dell and her adventures in the not to distant future. “One taste” was definitely not enough! Be sure to re-arrange your bookshelf and make room for this fantastic tale. You won’t be disappointed! Nancy Narma
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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