I am so excited to welcome Robin W. Pearson to the blog today to talk about her new novel Walking in Tall Weeds – and what it means to love others as we are called to do.
WALKING IN TALL WEEDS by Robin W. Pearson
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: July 19, 2022
From award-winning author Robin W. Pearson comes a new Southern family drama about one family who discovers their history is only skin-deep and that God’s love is the only family tie that binds.
Paulette and Fred Baldwin find themselves wading through a new season of life in Hickory Grove, North Carolina. Their only son, McKinley, now works hundreds of miles away, and the distance between the husband and wife feels even farther. When their son returns home, his visit dredges up even more conflict between Fred and Paulette.
McKinley makes it no secret that he doesn’t intend to follow in his father’s footsteps at George & Company Fine Furnishings or otherwise. Fred can’t quite bring himself to accept all his son’s choices, yet Paulette is determined McKinley will want for nothing, least of all a mother’s love and attention—which her own skin color cost her as a child. But all her striving leaves Fred on the outside looking in.
Paulette suspects McKinley and Fred are hiding something that could change the whole family. Soon, she’s facing a whirlwind she never saw coming, and the three of them must dig deep to confront the truth. Maybe then they’ll discover that their history is only skin-deep while their faith can take them right to the heart of things.
love in black and white
by Robin W. Pearson, author of Walking in Tall Weeds
I have always told my little people, “I don’t care who y’all marry. What matters is that they love the Lord, love you, love your mama, and want to homeschool.” Many might think I should add their dad, too, but I’m trying to keep it simple.
In truth, it’s that simple when it comes to how we should relate to each other. Simple, not easy. It comes down to the basics: Love. Forgive. Pray. Believe. Trust. It’s black-and-white, like the words on the page of a book, giant pandas, salt and pepper, piano keys.
Jesus does some schooling of His own about love in John 13:34-35 when He says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” And if you have any questions about what love is and does, Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 13 that not only does love suffer long, “it keeps no record of being wronged [and] does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.”
This passage isn’t merely a script for wedding ceremonies or a manual for handling romantic relationships. Simply put, they’re words to live by. Plastering them on our hearts and keeping them at the forefront of our minds will help us manage the often-sticky dynamics of friendships, social and professional interactions, and familial connections.
This enduring, faithful, hopeful kind of love is what I write about in Walking in Tall Weeds, my latest novel. One of my main characters, McKinley Baldwin, yearns for a 1 Corinthians type of relationship, a love he’s not sure he sees in his own parents’ marriage. Sure, Frederick and Paulette put the suffering in long-suffering—and lo and behold, they even homeschooled him!—but what about the part of the definition that speaks to keeping the faith, not only in God but in each other? The part that doesn’t keep a scorecard and that lasts “through every circumstance.”
For the Baldwins, it is just not that clear-cut, especially for Fred. He’s a churchgoing, Jesus-believing man, but what should seem black-and-white gets a little muddied by the red of his family’s bloodline, the browns and greens of the trees growing on his ancestor’s property, and the creamy complexion of his wife’s skin. His son, McKinley, believes love should be black-and-white, but the who, the how, and the why of it are all colored by their situation, the past, and traditions.
And my art mirrors my life.
When I think of steadfast and enduring and looking at life through black-and-white lenses, I see my parents. Daddy and Mama met and married about sixty years ago, and their commitment has shown their daughters, sons-in-law, extended family, and their community what everyday love looks like—from beginning to end, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. Yet Daddy also has communicated lessons with us about what it does not look like by sharing the impact of bigotry and racism on his life. True stories about traveling from California to North Carolina during the sixties and being driven off the road, losing a job because his white manager didn’t like that he could read, having family land rezoned and taken. I’ve passed on our family history to the folks gathered around my table and those gathered around my books. I’m sad to say I’ve had plenty of my own and Hubby’s experiences to add to them.
This is when loving gets hard, when black and white rears up as one of our differences. It gets difficult for me at times when I see and suffer from injustice, when I feel less welcome in a room because I’m the only person of color, or when I worry my son won’t get a promotion because of his braids. Just like my characters, I wonder why I’m considered “other” or “less than.”
But my outrage doesn’t mean the answer is any less defined—for Fred, Paulette, and McKinley, and Daddy, Mama, and me. We believers don’t get a pass to ignore our higher calling, no matter our color or culture or how justifiable our frustration and sadness. Quite the opposite. Knowing our struggles and our limitations, and all too familiar with His people’s hatred, Jesus yet pointed to love when asked to name the most important commandment, instructing, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Our neighbors, including people whose noses are wider, straighter, or flared at the nostril. Who have curlier, longer, or blonder hair. Babies who scream from Sacramento to Miami. Folks who call out your name and who step on your toes. The guy who drove across your grass and his wife who broke your favorite dish. Former Facebook friends who voted differently. Even future in-laws who might not homeschool your grandchildren. We’re called to love others the way we love ourselves, as God loves us. Sure, lines blur; people try to redefine truth; men and women fail. But love doesn’t.
Robin W. Pearson’s writing sprouts from her Southern roots, her faith in Jesus Christ, and her love of her husband and seven children. All lend authenticity to her novels. After graduating from Wake Forest University, she has corrected grammar up and down the East Coast in her career as an editor and writer that started with Houghton Mifflin Company more than twenty-five years ago. Both her Christy Award–winning debut, A Long Time Comin’, and her second novel, ’Til I Want No More, have earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Follow her on her blog, Mommy, Concentrated, where she shares her adventures in faith, family, and freelancing.
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of Walking in Tall Weeds to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Walking in Tall Weeds by Robin W. Pearson?