It All Comes Back To You – Beth Duke / #Extract #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater @bethidee



Alabama, 1947. 

War’s over, cherry-print dresses, parking above the city lights, swing dancing.

Beautiful, seventeen-year-old Violet lives in a perfect world.
Everybody loves her.

In 2012, she’s still beautiful, charming, and surrounded by admirers.

Veronica “Ronni” Johnson, licensed practical nurse and aspiring writer, meets the captivating Violet in the assisted living facility where Violet requires no assistance, just lots of male attention. When she dies, she leaves Ronni a very generous bequest―only if Ronni completes a book about her life within one year. As she’s drawn into the world of young Violet, Ronni is mesmerized by life in a simpler time. It’s an irresistible journey filled with revelations, some of them about men Ronni knew as octogenarians at Fairfield Springs.

Struggling, insecure, flailing at the keyboard, Ronni juggles her patients, a new boyfriend, and a Samsonite factory of emotional baggage as she tries to craft a manuscript before her deadline.

But then the secrets start to emerge, some of them in person. And they don’t stop.

Everything changes.




From Chapter One:

Violet Louise Thompson was beautiful and elegant at eighty-two and so scandalous in the manner she passed away Fairfield Springs was being sued for negligence. I alone knew why Violet was where she was when her heart stopped beating. With her permission, the world would soon find out.

She planted the seed of my writing career when I was a newly licensed practical nurse and had worked in the assisted living facility/nursing home for two months. Violet was relentlessly inquisitive; all it took was a few literary references from me in casual conversation.

“You love to read, don’t you? I’ll bet you dream of writing, too.”

I’d secretly been penning sappy poetry since the age of seven and changing song lyrics in my head to suit every situation. My tenth grade English teacher, Mrs. Herold, insisted I had enormous talent and imagination. My short story on mothers and daughters made her cry. Of course I dreamed of holding my own book in my hands.

“Doesn’t everyone, Violet?”

“Maybe,” she smiled, “but they actually pursue it. You’re spending your days tending to God’s waiting room.”

“I love my job.”

“Yes, but you have a knack for painting pictures with words. You’re obliged to use it. That short story you showed me was as good as anything Flannery O’Connor wrote.”

She’d been an aspiring novelist in her younger days and encouraged me every chance she got. “Encouraged” is too mild a word. She pushed me with the subtlety of a tsunami.

“Honey,” she said, watching me dab sweet potato casserole from Mr. Hardy’s chin, “have you started writing a novel yet?” She swept her chin-length hair back, lustrous and snow-white but immersed in a pale field of lavender before Kelly Osbourne even thought of it. Her brown eyes sparkled at the men who joined her in the dining room every day at the elderly equivalent of the Cool Kids’ Table. Johnny was always seated beside Violet, though Sam was obviously highly favored, too. James, Clifton and Harvey joined in the daily adoration.

“Not yet, Violet. I’m still trying to imagine the story I’ll tell.”

“You don’t need to imagine a thing,” she nodded and gave my hand a fluttery pat. “My life would make a pretty interesting novel.” She turned her gaze to Mr. Raintree, who smiled shyly and regarded his lime jello. The other men exchanged knowing smiles.

She had no family or visitors save one nephew through marriage who trotted in occasionally bearing a pot of (predictable) African violets. She accepted them with a gracious smile but walked them over to our long-term care patients as soon as Herb left. “He thinks he’s in the will,” she said, shaking her head at her nephew’s retreating form, strutting in tight jeans and a shrunken black tee shirt. “Herb’s a fawning fake. Look at him…thinks he’s Simon Cowell. His hair is dyed the color of burnt toast. I swear, Ronni, he tried out a British accent on me today.

Called me his favorite Aaauhnt-eee Vee.” Violet laughed and whispered into my ear, “Fairfield Springs is getting a lot of my money. Y’all are going to need a new entertainment room when I’m gone.”

“We sure will, Violet,” I told her. “You are the life in this place.”

This was undeniably true. Homecoming queen at seventeen and Fairest of Fairfield at seventy-seven, Violet wore her beauty effortlessly. The old ladies generally despised her, but the men—every single one—took in her smiles and laughter like parched ground drinks spring rain.

Fairfield employed a man named Emory who piloted an ancient white Lincoln Town Car for its residents. Violet referred to him as “my driver.” His Friday afternoons were spent waiting outside The Coiffure & Couture while she got her hair done, then dropping her off at the grocery store for fancy cheese and crackers. Violet’s last stop was Duffy’s Liquor Store, where she sauntered in and purchased the same fifth of bourbon, sugar cubes and maraschino cherries each week. Five o’clock every day she enjoyed a cocktail or two in her apartment. I was extended an open invitation but usually had to work through six-thirty unless I was working night shift, which made a visit impossible. By that point, Violet was entertaining gleefully in the dining room, sneaking salt onto tasteless chicken.

She didn’t need assistance of any kind, at least not for the first few years of her stay. Violet was there for love, pure and simple. The man she’d adored for more than fifty years―her biggest secret―was in extended care at Fairfield. Having Johnny, Sam, James, Clifton and Harvey by her side was icing on her social cake.

The facility surprised every visitor with its beauty. Fairfield drew a moneyed crowd from all parts of Alabama, especially the upper crust families in surrounding counties. There was nothing remotely comparable in the state, and it wasn’t unusual for people who’d played teenaged tennis together at area country clubs to find themselves reunited as they strolled around the gardens and lake.”

Thank you, Beth Duke and Random Things Tours


About the author

Beth Dial Duke is an Amazon #1 Best Selling author and the recipient of short story awards on two continents. She is eyeing the other five. Beth lives in the mountains of her native Alabama with her husband, one real dog, one ornamental dog, and a flock of fluffy pet chickens. She loves reading, writing, and not arithmetic. Baking is a hobby, with semi-pro cupcakes and amateur macarons a specialty. And puns—the worse, the better. Travel is her other favorite thing, along with joining book clubs for discussion. Please invite her to London…England or Kentucky, either is fine. Anywhere!


Author Link

Twitter @bethidee



Book Link

Amazon UK :