Monday, March 30, 2020

Blog Tour: Review of The Road to Delano by John DeSimone

Author:  John DeSimone
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Publication Date: March 2020

Jack Duncan is a high school senior whose dream is to play baseball in college and beyond?as far away from Delano as possible. He longs to escape the political turmoil surrounding the labor struggles of the striking fieldworkers that infests his small ag town. Ever since his father, a grape grower, died under suspicious circumstances ten years earlier, he’s had to be the sole emotional support of his mother, who has kept secrets from him about his father’s involvement in the ongoing labor strife.
With their property on the verge of a tax sale, Jack drives an old combine into town to sell it so he and his mother don’t become homeless. On the road, an old friend of his father’s shows up and hands him the police report indicating Jack’s father was murdered. Jack is compelled to dig deep to discover the entire truth, which throws him into the heart of the corruption endemic in the Central Valley. Everything he has dreamed of is at stake if he can’t control his impulse for revenge.
While Jack’s girlfriend, the intelligent and articulate Ella, warns him not to so anything to jeopardize their plans of moving to L.A., after graduation, Jack turns to his best friend, Adrian, a star player on the team, to help to save his mother’s land. When Jack’s efforts to rescue a stolen piece of farm equipment leaves Adrian?the son of a boycotting fieldworker who works closely with Cesar Chavez?in a catastrophic situation, Jack must bail his friend out of his dilemma before it ruins his future prospects. Jack uses his wits, his acumen at card playing, and his boldness to raise the money to spring his friend, who has been transformed by his jail experience.

The Road to Delano is the path Jack, Ella, and Adrian must take to find their strength, their duty, their destiny.
The Road to Delano is a historical fiction that takes place during the time of the Delano Grape Strike in the late 60s.  Jack's mother is about to lose her house due to unpaid back taxes.  As Jack heads into town to sell their remaining piece of farm equipment to raise the money, he is stopped by an old friend of his father's.  He discovers that there was more to his father's death than his mother and others have told him. Along with is best friend and girlfriend, he embarks on a journey to discover the truth.  For me, the book was a fairly enjoyable read.

One of the things I have always struggled with when reading historical fiction is not knowing much about the "background" conflict that is taking place. I can honestly say, I knew nothing about Cesar Chavez and the strike going into the book.  I did end up doing my own research to familiarize myself with the subject before continuing with the book.  It did help with my enjoyment of the book.  What also stood out was the injustice and conditions in which the workers were treated and subjected to.  It's not a pretty part of our history. Jack finds himself right in the middle of it.   Jack had a big heart and was a character you find yourself rooting for from the beginning.  There are some twists and turns to the mystery.   The ending though, can't say that I loved it. Not a fan of endings like that one.  Despite that, I think lovers of this time period will enjoy the book.  Give it a try.  

About John DeSimone

John DeSimone is a published writer, novelist, and teacher. He’s been an adjunct professor and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. His recent co-authored books include Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan (Little A Publishers), and Courage to Say No by Dr. Raana Mahmood, about her struggles against sexual exploitation as a female physician in Karachi. His published novel Leonardo’s Chair published in 2005.
In 2012, he won a prestigious Norman Mailer Fellowship to complete his most recent historical novel, Road to Delano. His novels Leonardo’s Chair and No Ordinary Man have received critical recognition.
He works with select clients to write stories of inspiration and determination and with those who have a vital message to bring to the marketplace of ideas in well-written books.
Find out more about John at his website, and connect with him on Instagram.
Tour schedule:

Tuesday, March 10th: Instagram: @jenabrownwrites
Wednesday, March 11th: Run Wright
Thursday, March 12th: 5 Minutes For Books
Thursday, March 12th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, March 13th: Orange County Readers
Monday, March 16th: BookNAround
Tuesday, March 17th: Bibliotica
Thursday, March 19th: Girl Who Reads
Friday, March 20th: Broken Teepee
Monday, March 23rd: Audio Killed the Bookmark
Tuesday, March 24th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, March 25th: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, March 26th: Wellreadtraveler
Friday, March 27th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Monday, March 30th: Life By Kristen


Ethan said...

Good callout about needing the historical context. I think that's why there are so many books about WWII. I feel like that time has the most base level knowledge for the majority of people.

Sara Strand said...

It definitely sounds like one my dad would really like, mostly because he would have had some knowledge of that time period and some of the strife at the time. Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours