Tech alumna publishes novel

February 5, 2017


Emily Bestler Books

News Editor | kjk019@latech.edu


The hope and the heartache of young love, young life and young marriage are all explored in “The Young Wives Club” by Julie Miller Pennell.


Pennell, a 2005 Tech journalism graduate, explores the realization of ambition and the sparking of independence of four young women against the backdrop of a small Southern town.


The story details the lives of four friends — Claire, Gabrielle, Laura and Madison — from Toulouse, Louisiana. A portrait of the state, from the hospitality to the crawfish, is drawn throughout the book. As a Colorado native, this book to me embodied all that I have discovered Louisiana to be — a true slice of the South. Pennell, a native of the state, accurately portrays the atmosphere and culture via the story and its settings.


Pennell re-creates all the confusion and romance associated with the drama of love at a young age. The lighthearted feel of the novel is contrasted with more serious themes of trust and trials. She creates characters and situations that resonate with any number of things we may face in our own lives. The tests and challenges each woman must face are raw and relatable yet spun into the story with a touch of hope.


Gabrielle, once a college-bound student dreaming of a higher education, finds her dreams shattered, and she struggles with honesty in her relationship out of embarrassment with her current situation. Her struggle with telling the truth resounds with many people, and draws attention to the fine line standing between a little lie and a lie that could have serious repercussions.


Descriptions of Claire conjure up the picture-perfect example for Southern hospitality and selflessness. A devoted pastor’s wife and mother, Claire appears to be living the ideal life. Yet, deception still manages to plague her relationship. For me, she was a reminder of something often forgotten —  just because someone seems to lead an untroubled life, doesn’t mean this is truly the case.


Laura and Brian, her new husband and a football star, have had their lives planned together since they were young. Their future is put on hold, however, when Brian suffers an injury that could very well end his career. Laura serves as an example of the idea that life doesn’t necessarily go exactly as imagined, but even in the face of uncertainty, a new path can be carved out.


Madison is a witty, wild child who is determined to play it cool in the face of whatever life places in her path. She uses her sarcasm and dry humor to combat the challenges that arise in her own life, from her parents’ monetary struggles to her roller-coaster relationship with an aspiring musician. She resonates with the image of a “tough girl,” yet still shows kindness and compassion.

Each of the girls has her own story to tell, yet the lessons of each girl’s struggle seamlessly blend together to create an inspiring tale. Together, these four friends help each other through the tumultuous start into adulthood and stand by one another.

If you enjoy a book as welcoming as a warm Southern breeze, “The Young Wives Club” is for you.

Join Gabrielle, Claire, Laura and Madison on their heartwarming and empowering journey as they take on the world beyond high school and the challenges it presents. The book is set to be available for purchase Feb. 14, 2017.


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