Well Behaved Wives, a Review

Set in the 1960’s when women aren’t expected to graduate from law school, let alone become lawyers, newlywed Ruth Appelbaum must learn to balance her professional goals and aspirations with the domestic expectations of being a homemaker in her mother-in-law’s upper-class Philadelphia neighborhood. A fascinating and honest look at women’s history just before the progression of feminism, Well Behaved Wives and its spirited characters grapple with complex issues never acknowledged in polite society of the time. Together these friends must find ways to support each other in a culture that does little to lift women up beyond their ability to throw a good dinner party and dress correctly. In fact, it seems as if even their older mentors value their social skills more than their dreams. Do wives and mothers of the time even have other aspirations beyond their homes? Can one have, and want, both? Readers of Nathan’s earlier novels will appreciate the journey of a young Jewish woman discovering her own way, and the deep friendships forged along that path. Readers will be moved by Amy Sue Nathan’s inherent understanding of women’s relationships and family dynamics. With a nod of support to all women, the author has an uncanny talent to make us feel seen and inspired. Mrs. Maisel, move over and make room for Nathan’s fresh and determined cast of characters in this well-written and page turning novel, Well Behaved Wives. I say this every time Amy Sue Nathan releases a new book, but this wise novel is Amy Sue Nathan’s best yet.

Tina Ann Forkner is a former Substitute Teacher and School Librarian who lives and writes in Las Vegas. Her women’s fiction includes THE REAL THING, WAKING UP JOY, ROSE HOUSE, and RUBY AMONG US. She is also the author of NASHVILLE BY HEART, a love story.


Summer Soiree: Library Benefit

I’m so excited to be a guest author at the Summer Soiree to benefit the Laramie County Library Foundation in Cheyenne. I hope to see you there. Bring your book club! Click Here for more info and to sign up.

oin fellow readers, library lovers, and book worms on Sunday, June 27 from 2:00pm–4:00pm at The Office Bar and Grill for Laramie County Library Foundation’s afternoon event celebrating some of Wyoming’s incredible authors! Enjoy appetizers, desserts, and summer drinks while listening to four Wyoming authors discuss their writing and publishing process, sharing how their amazing works make it from pen to print. Bring your favorite books or purchase new ones to be signed by our local authors at the end of the event.

Below is the Summer Soiree author lineup.  Each author will have copies of their books at the event for purchase.

o   Jerimiah Rieman, author of Wyoming Singletrack: A Mountain Bike Trail Guide

o   John W. Haines, author of Never Leaving Laramie

o   Arielle Zibrak, author of Guilty Pleasures

o   Tina Ann Forkner, author of Nashville by Heart and many other books!


Snowmageddon 2021: I’ve got this.

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Here in Cheyenne, Wyoming we’ve had thirty plus inches of snow. Our doctors and nurses have been catching rides to work on snow mobiles and we’re going on our 3rd school snow day, which never happens here. In this part of Wyoming, as long as the roads are clear, the kids are in school. Here, we even go out for recess, as long as it is above zero degrees and the wind isn’t too terrible. On those days, I like to put snow ambiance on the smart board in our elementary library. My favorites are the forest ones from Chronicles of Narnia, but today there is no need for ambiance. The kids can look out their windows and see over two feet of snow.

It’s beautiful outside, to be sure. Snow always feels like an absolute miracle to me. It looks like a Christmas card in my backyard with trees dripping sparkling snow that looks good enough to eat. I can’t help but think Snowflake Bentley would be camped outside with his camera if he had this kind of snow. After reading the book about the man who first photographed snowflakes in Vermont to my 4th grade classes, I can’t look at snow without thinking of him out in a blizzard paying no mind to the cold. When I was a kid, I barely knew about Vermont, let alone snowflakes.

When I was growing up in Northeastern Oklahoma, My siblings and I would beg God for snow. When we looked outside and saw the flakes swirling through the air, we prayed for a snowday. And when snow managed to stick to the red earth and schools really shut down, we’d spend the few hours it stayed around trying to build a snowman, making snow angels, and creating trails in the woods with a dirt shovel because we didn’t own one for snow. Nobody did, as it was a useless tool where we lived. Later, when I lived in California for a time, I witnessed the snow of the Sierra Nevadas and was so dazzled by it I learned how to ski. A day skiing at Donner Pass when I was a college student was something I thought I’d want to do forever. Later, when I moved to Wyoming, I found all the snow I ever wanted and spent a few years skiing in it. Finally, snow! But that is all in the past.

It may come as a surprise after telling you how much I used to long for snow, but now that I know the difference between a garden shovel and a snow shovel, I’m good. Snow in all its glittering beauty has finally lost its magical effect on me. The little girl that used to grab a garden shovel to make snow tracks is now happy to let her husband grab his real snow shovel and head out to the driveway. It’s true. No matter how many friends I see posting pics of themselves shoveling beside their husbands on social media, I don’t feel at all guilty when my hubby tells me, “I’ve got this,” as he bundles up and pulls on his snow boots. It’s not like he thinks I’m incapable of pushing a snow shovel, but he already knows why it’s not my favorite chore. Trust me, I’ve shoveled my share of snow.

When I was a single mom and later when my husband traveled, I shoveled my way out more than once. When a friend stopped by to help or a neighbor lumbered over with a second shovel, I was always grateful. But I shoveled by myself or with my daughter many times in the past, so now when my husband says he’s got it, I let him. Maybe it’s the empty nester in me, but I feel comfortable in the fact that I know how to shovel my way out of the house just fine, as I’ve done before, but I don’t have to do that anymore.

During this Snowmageddon, I like the fact that my hubby is teleworking in the office nearby and that I’m surrounded by mountains of books and research. I like seeing pics of my daughter playing in the snow with college friends over in Laramie, while I sit here watching the ambiance of slowly melting snow outside my window, hearing the rumble of the snow plows finally making their way through town, and the occasional crunch of a snow shovel when my hubby decides he needs a quick break outside.

“I’ve got it,” he says. And I’m happy that everything I love about him can, for a moment, be summed up in that one little phrase.

Tina Ann Forkner is a school librarian, writing instructor, and published author from Wyoming. Learn more about her books here.


Remember Blogging?

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Remember blogging? When I first started, most people in my hometown had barely heard of it. Now numerous people have started blogging, stopped, and already moved on to Instagram or some other social media. It is difficult to follow how quickly social media has caught on, and moved on, to the next new platform. Everyone is on board now. Our children think they invented it. Mellenials are going around owning it like we Gen-Xers only had black and white television or something. Nevermind the fact that computers began before either of our generations, as I was reminded last week when I read Grace Hopper, the Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu to my fourth grade library students. Not that my grandparents would have known much about computers. They didn’t have access, so they still had to write with pencils and pens.

When I was a kid, my grandmother loved that I wrote stories in notebooks and kept a diary. I had a computer in high school with a DOS Prompt, but I couldn’t take it home with me. They weren’t even portable, yet. When I moved across the ocean she wasn’t all that thrilled that I got married so young (she knew stuff I didn’t – but that’s another story), but she was possibly the biggest letter writer besides my little sister. I kept up letter writing for a long time, even after my grandmother passed away. I wrote to my parents, friends, nieces and nephews, my little sister, and occasionaly to my aunts. Sadly, I got out of the habit. I am not sure what happened, but I think I can blame technology for a big part of how I began to communicate with friends and family. Even journal writing changed. But then came a new way to journal. Remember blogging?

I loved blogging, at first. It was like writing a column since it was public, but less formal, like a journal. When I first started doing it, I had lots of heartfelt things to share with my 10 readers, but nothing lasts forever, as they say. I got a book deal, and while I lived out my dream, some things didn’t change for the better. For one thing, I am still not dripping with diamonds, go figure, but I also didn’t become a prolific writer. Even my library kids recently asked me why I only had 5 books for their moms to read, when I’ve been published since 2008. A question I have asked myself many times. But seriously, there was something about being published that made me feel like I was writing on demand. There wasn’t time for talking about everyday life in a simple blog, anymore. My publisher wanted me to use my blog to promote my books, and then came other kinds of social media. At some point, many of us kind of forgot about blogging.

I would like to see blogging make a comeback. Or has it already, and I missed it? After all, I AM a Gen-Xer, so perhaps it’s back in style with Aqua Net hairspray and nobody told me. Kind of like the fact that I am still wearing skinny jeans even though today I read that they are supposed to be out again.

Anyway, I still remember blogging. Maybe I’ll start doing it again.