"When I get to heaven, one of the first things I'm gonna ask God is why he only let me figure out so many things later when I could've used 'em earlier," says Katie Shanahan as she remembers growing up in the heart of bluebonnet country near Cotton Patch, Texas. It was a childhood filled with playful animals, sweeping vistas of fragrant wildflowers, salt-of-the-earth people of the land, and a loving daddy who was a preacher and had been a football hero.
What her father, Ethan, found when he trailed a rabid dog, however, was the beginning of the end of life as young Katie knew it. Soon, a parade of unwelcome visitors descended upon Cotton Patch, churches were burned, and division came to the Shanahans' own church and even their home. Decades later, Katie remembers watching her father stand up against forces far more powerful than himself and how she learned that courage, loyalty, and honor are more than words - and they sometimes come with a high price.
Author John J. Dwyer's Civil War-era historical novels Stonewall and Robert E. Lee have sold tens of thousands of copies. They have built for him a large following of people appreciative of his poignant, gritty, often inspiring style. In When the Bluebonnets Come, Dwyer - a college history professor - turns his focus to a folksy, bittersweet tale of the modern Texas of his birth.