Review: Glory Lands by Vastine Bondurant

A Texas Piney Woods Story

Rural East Texas, 1931. Preacher’s son Emory Joe Logan and a fiddler from Shreveport, Glory Lands, meet and form a tender bond. When they are caught and arrested for homosexual acts by Sheriff Elihu Bishop, the lawman’s sanctimonious bigotry threatens to rip the young men from their families.

Emory Joe’s father, Pastor Charles Logan, is brought to his knees in terror, confusion, and anger. He still regrets not standing up against Bishop when the lawman murdered a youth in cold blood nine years ago.

Now there’s no longer a choice for the preacher to stand up to the lawman. Cold-blooded justice, bigotry-disguised-as-religion, and hatred take on a whole new meaning when they’re standing on his doorstep, ready to take the son he loves.

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

“Softly and Tenderly”—Will L. Thompson

This book..... I truly don't know where to begin. There have been lots of 5 star books for me. I'm a star slut, what can I say. There have been many of those 5 star books that I have said "that book will stay with me for a long time". Some of those books are still with me and some are not. This book, I will never forget. It will be the story I tell in the nursing home long after dementia has robbed me of my faculties. Everyone will think it's nonsense but I'll recount the details of this story as though I witnessed them firsthand. That is the power these words had on me. I have heard people say that a book changed them. I may have said similar words myself without realizing, until now, just how much a book can change a person.

This was not an easy book to read. In fact the first few pages are downright brutal. Then you get to witness a love so pure and beautiful it brings you to tears. Lots of tears. Of course those happy tears are nothing compared to the tears of agony that just about destroyed me toward the end of this book. I sobbed and wept without control. I finally had to put the book down and take a walk outside to calm down because I could no longer see the words for the tears. I know this all sounds very melodramatic but I kid you not, these words, this story.....just absolutely amazing!

The hopeful note this book ends on is the only thing keeping me together right now. The strength of these characters and the knowledge that their love for one another got them trough the events described in this book will inspire me for the rest of my days.

Everyone enjoys different types of books. This one may not affect you the way it did me but I challenge you to read it and not cry for Emory Joe and Glory Lands.

**This review has been posted on Goodreads. This is for you, Lori! <3 font="">


  1. A truly lovely review, Justin, for which I am honored! What beautiful words. Thank you!

  2. I know J is busy so I'll just say thank you on his behalf. It truly was a beautiful book and a pleasure to read (and I agree J's review rocks!)

  3. Thank you both for the kind words and thank you Vastine for sharing Emory Joe and Glory Lands with us. I look forward to reading your next book.