Stealing Home: A Novel

Stealing Home: A Novel

by Allison K. Pittman


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Four individuals, each living in haunted isolation, and each harboring a secret passion come together in this novel by Christy Award finalist Allison K. Pittman.

It’s 1905 and the Chicago Cubs are banking on superstar Donald “Duke” Dennison’s golden arm to help them win the pennant. Only one thing stands between Duke and an unprecedented ten thousand dollar contract: alcohol.

When sportswriter David Voyant whisks Duke to the one-horse town of Picksville, Missouri, so he can sober up in anonymity, Duke bides his time flirting with Ellie Jane Voyant, his unofficial chaperone, who would rather hide herself in the railway station ticket booth than face the echoes of childhood taunts.

Ned Clovis, the feed store clerk, has secretly loved Ellie Jane since childhood, but he loves baseball and the Duke almost as much--until he notices Ellie Jane may be succumbing to the star’s charm.

Then there’s Morris, a twelve-year-old Negro boy, whose only dream is to break away from Picksville. When Duke discovers his innate talent for throwing a baseball, Morris might just have found his way out.

Providence brings them together. Tragedy threatens to tear them apart. Will love be enough to bring them home?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781601421364
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/14/2009
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

After spending seventeen years as a high school English teacher, Allison Pittman shunned the advice of experts, quit her day job, and set out to write novels that bring glory to God. Allison relishes inspiring other writers and leading the theater arts group at her church. She and her husband and three sons live in Universal City, Texas.

Read an Excerpt

Ellie Jane

She took the job at the railroad ticket office quite by accident when her father, Sheriff Floyd Voyant, was summoned to the station to arrest the ticket agent who had shown up drunk to work one morning.

It was early June, just after graduation, and Ellie Jane—needing to stop by the post office anyway—had accompanied her father. At the insistence of Mr. Coleman, the station manager, she settled behind the desk to fill in for the afternoon.

She had been seventeen years old. She never left.

Some people, she supposed, might find it monotonous to sit in a little glass booth, day after day, but not Ellie Jane. These were her finest hours, chatting with her fellow townspeople. She might ask, “Oh, do you have family in Tennessee?” or “Didn’t you just travel to Boston last month?” And the person on the other side of the glass would be forced to reply, even if grudgingly so, with averted eyes and terse comments.

If she were to run into any of these same people in the town square, while running errands in the Picksville shops, they might walk right past her or make a quick detour into the butcher’s shop. But here, if they wanted her to slide that ticket through the little archway cut into the glass, they’d have to engage in a bit of conversation.

This afternoon, the first Tuesday in May, Ellie Jane was finishing her modest lunch of an apple, cinnamon butter bread, and tea, when a tentative knock at the glass window got her attention. It was Morris Bennett, a little early to take advantage of passengers needing help with their bags.

“Miss Ellie Jane?” His voice was soft and muffled. “I gots a telegraph message for you.” He slid a slip of paper through the arched opening at the bottom of the glass.

“Why thank you, Morris.” Ellie Jane sent him a smile few people outside of her family had ever seen. It was carefully controlled— an attempt to hide the excitement of such an occasion. Other people might receive telegrams every day from friends and family who lived in places they took the train to visit. But Ellie Jane’s whole life was here—equally divided between her little glass booth and the home she shared with her father. There was, of course, her brother, Dave, in Chicago, but his was a busy, exciting life that left little time for frivolous messages home.

She fished around inside her little cloth handbag to slip the boy a dime, which he took with a wide toothy grin and dropped immediately into his pocket.

“Anything else today, m’am?”

Ellie Jane checked the watch pinned to her blouse.

“The two-o’clock will be here soon, Morris. Perhaps you’d like to stay and see if any passengers need help with their bags?”

“Yes, m’am.” He touched the rim of his cap and sauntered toward the platform, hands in his pockets and whistling.

Despite her curiosity, before opening the telegram, Ellie Jane carefully put away the remains of her lunch in her bucket, wiped the corners of her mouth with a pretty floral napkin, and removed the square sign telling any potential ticket buyer that the window was closed for lunchtime.

Then, with nervous fingers, she opened the envelope and saw that the message was indeed from her brother. Her reaction differed each time she read the short note: first a giggle, then confusion, then a rather cold fear.

David was sending her a man. And he was coming on the twoo’clock train.

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Stealing Home: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
southernsassygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's not often that books and sports come together at the same time for me. I happen to dearly love a good dose of both, and this book was the perfect solution. Baseball happens to provide the backdrop for this story, and I was a captive spectator through the whole thing. I cheered along with Duke as Morris continued to practice his pitching, and with Ned as he hoped to make a catch with Ellie Jane. Allison Pittman has created a masterpiece of a book with delightful characters and an enjoyable story that will definitely stick with you.
judyg54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is 1905 and "Duke" Dennison, a superstar for the Chicago Cubs, is trying to "dry out" from his alcoholic lifestyle. He is sent to a small town to stay with sportswriter David Voyant's sister and father, Ellie Jane and Floyd Voyant. You meet many characters in the town, but the ones that stand out in the story are Morris, the 12 year old African American boy, who is discovered by Duke to have real talent, and Ned Clovis, the feed store clerk, who has secretly loved Ellie Jane most of his life. A story about baseball, but so much more!
elbakerone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Donald "Duke" Dennison is a big time ballplayer with the 1905 Chicago Cubs, but a life devoted to alcohol, women and rowdiness has his managers and friends deciding to help him clean up his act. Their prescription for his recovery involves shipping him off to the small (and dry) town of Picksville, Missouri. Duke ends up staying with the town sheriff Floyd Voyant, which includes sharing a house with Floyd's lovely and tempting daughter Ellie Jane. The town's feed store clerk Ned Clovis is thrilled to see his baseball hero come to town, but he's not as excited to see Duke so close to Ellie Jane, who Ned has admired from afar for years. Duke's big-town attitudes are sure to make waves in Picksville and when he brings the game of baseball to the heart of the town, everything will be turned upside down - including the life of Morris, a twelve-year-old errand boy who has a hidden talent for fastballs that catches Duke's eye. Allison Pittman's Stealing Home was a charming historical fiction novel that expertly blended history, sports, faith, and race relations into a sweetly romantic story of love, friendship and the choices that define people. The characters were captivating and their stories are intertwined with the theme of a baseball game through the book. For fans of historical fiction, this is a book that will Steal you heart!
love2readnovels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Run the bases of emotion in Allison Pittman's Stealing HomeDonald 'Duke' Dennison plays professional baseball but has a drinking habit that could end his career. David Voyant is a journalist who wants to help him and sends him home to his dad and sister to aid him with the end of his recovery. Ellie Jane (David's sister) is not real happy to have Duke living with them but begins to enjoy the quiet flirting and feeling of attraction she feels. Ned is a childhood friend of Ellie's that would like to be much more. He has loved her from afar for years. He also loves baseball and is thrilled to have his hero 'Duke' Dennison in town...til he thinks Ellie might be noticing 'Duke' a liitle more closely. Whom will she choose? Then there is Morris, an African American boy with a great throwing arm. Is 'Duke' his ticket out of poverty? I enjoyed this story and liked the way it was set up in the book. Each of the 9 chapters had a section from each main character. My only complaint was that Morris's sections were done in a type-font that was a little more difficult to read. But other than that the characters were very real and it had some unexpected curves along the way.
sjmccreary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A recovering alcoholic major league baseball player from Chicago is sent to a small Missouri town to stay at the family home of a Chicago sports reporter to finish drying out. The first person he meets off the train is his hostess, Ellie Jane, a prickly spinster lady who operates the ticket booth at the train station. Accompanying her on the platform is Morris, a 12-year old negro boy who has been summoned to carry the baseball star's bags. Dan, or "Duke" as he is known in public, is uncomfortable in this home, with Ellie Jane and her sheriff father, and in this quiet - and dry - town. With nothing better to do, he is lounging on the front porch swing the next day, smoking a cigar, when Morris approaches the house with a grocery order. Morris offers to share an apple with Duke, who comes instantly alert when the boy throws it in like a big league pitch. Thereafter, he has Morris meet him every day for a game of catch, and teaches the boy to pitch like a pro. The next step is a pick-up game in the yard with the sheriff and Ned, a childhood friend of Ellie Jane's who runs the feed store and is totally deaf. When a neighbor complains about the negro boy "sniffing around" in a white neighborhood (the most overt example of racism in the book - more about this later), the men decide to build a proper ball field near the railroad tracks separating the white section of town from the colored side. Once the field is completed, all the men and boys in the area begin turning out for regular pick-up games.So far, so good. Actually, this is a very nice story, as far as it goes. Too bad it doesn't go any farther. Duke is supposed to be on thin ice with the league - he is suspended from play until he proves that he can stay sober. He is the highest paid player in the league, but has been in trouble for quite a while as a result of his drinking and carousing. Yet, even though baseball is the only thing he values in life, he does not seem to be very troubled by his predicament. He not shown to either be consumed with wanting a drink, or with wanting to get back to Chicago. In fact, he doesn't seem to feel very strongly about anything except Morris. Even a single, attractive young lady in the house doesn't really attract his notice.I think Ned is the best character. His deafness was a result of a childhood illness, after which he was sent back east to a school for the deaf until his mother died. He came home then, and took over the feed store from his father. He has admired Ellie Jane from afar for years.Ellie Jane, on the other hand, was not well done. She seems like a perfectly acceptable person, although a bit straigh-laced. There is one very strange encounter with another town woman snubbing her in the store, and a very short explanation about how she has been ostracized for years - but no good reason is given for this. It has something to do with Ned's deafness and a childhood squabble they had just before his illness. I didn't find it convincing.Morris is intelligent and enterprising. He makes a habit of skipping lessons at the negro school and going into town to earn money running errands for townspeople. He claims to have a goal of leaving town someday and going to California, but this is never made to seem truly important to him - it's just something he says as if by habit. His "stepfather" repeatedly cautions him about how to act with white folks, reminding him of his place in society.Which brings me back to the issue of racism. This book takes place in 1905 in Missouri. Forty years after the civil war ended in what had been a slave state. Yet, except for the neighbor's complaint mentioned above, and the stepfather's comments, there is no evidence that Morris is treated differently than any other town boy. He has more internal dialogue about his proper place than any of the white folks ever mention. I think this is the worst case of applying modern morals to an historical setting in the entire book.The blu
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ChristyLockstein More than 1 year ago
Stealing Home by Allison Pittman is a stunner of a historical novel. Ellie Jane Voyant has lived her life in 1905 Picksville, Mississippi as an eccentric outcast. Ned Clovis has loved her since he was 12 years old, but his life of silence since he lost his hearing has made him an outcast as well. Morris, a 12 year old Negro boy has a life very different in Picksville from Ned and Ellie, but he's trying to make something of himself, with a future and an education. Their lives are all irrevocably changed by the appearance of Duke Dennison, a high-priced baseball player drying out from alcohol abuse in their small town. Pittman captures perfectly the atmosphere of an insular small town with its petty abuses and crimes, along with the joy of a game of baseball. Baseball becomes the unifier of these four disparate characters giving Ellie a place of her own, Ned a voice, and Morris a presence. Duke's struggle to be more of a man is its own beautiful story. I don't want to give anything about this beautifully written story away, so please get a copy and read it!
Deborah_K More than 1 year ago
Baseball is America's pastime and one of the most recognizable trademarks of the country. In Stealing Home, Allison Pittman takes America's game and shows readers the history of the sport, back when men played the game because they enjoyed it. This was a time before multi-million dollar contracts and the shadow of drug use. This was a time when "Take Me Out to Ball Game" was how people lived. The book is set up like a baseball game. There are nine sections in the book, like nine innings in the game. The headings of each section correspond to different actions that take place during a game. It's a very creative yet subtle way to bring the book to life. The characters in this story reach out to you and the reader immediately becomes attached to them. There is Duke, the baseball player who comes to a small town with a hidden secret. Ellie Jane is the town spinster who harbors a sad past. Ned is an injured man who has a secret love. Morris is a young African American boy who dreams about leaving town for bigger things. These four characters initially all keep to themselves until Duke comes to Picksville and initiates a chain of events that puts the ball into play. All these characters find their lives intertwined and are connected through events in this book. Pittman weaves the game throughout the story with new stories, telegrams and letters to begin each section. You can almost hear the crack of the bat and the cheers of the crowd as you read. She really brings to life the small town of Picksville and its inhabitants. I did not find anything offensive or immoral in the story. There is talk about alcohol addiction as well as racial violence but both subjects are handled tastefully. The story is engaging and was a delight to read. Every umpire would say that Pittman has definitely hit a home run with this book.