Books and Where to Buy Them

PLOWED FIELDS (Full Version)

(Scroll down the page to see the Trilogy Edition offerings)


Morgan Bay Books HARDCOVER March 2019, ISBN 9781732784505


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Morgan Bay Books PAPERBACK March 2019, ISBN  9781732784529 


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Morgan Bay Books EBOOK March 2019, ISBN  9781732784512 


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A family you won’t forget …

     Infused with warmth, heart and hope … 

          Glazed with the sorrow of a devastating truth.


  

It’s December 1960, and a cold wind is blowing a rare white Christmas toward the Baker farm in South Georgia. Joe Baker, an intense young man hell-bent on achievement and responsibility, finds himself torn between his own desire and ambition and loyalty and responsibility to his family. The oldest of six children, Joe can be counted on to make all the right moves, but what happens when his instincts fail him?


Plowed Fields is a family saga, played out between the turbulent years of 1960 and 1970. Besides Joe, the story features a cast of characters searching for a place to belong as they confront the hardships of their time.


The Baker family is anchored by patriarch Sam, whose pirate’s appearance disguises a gentle giant of goodness, and his son, Matt, who is capable of strength and force when necessary but unafraid of tenderness when the moment requires a softer touch. Matt’s wife is Caroline, a practical woman whose pride occasionally gets the best of her Christian values.


Plowed Fields also features Lucas and Beauty Bartholomew, a black man and woman struggling to build a better life for their family; Bobby Taylor, the epitome of a racist Southerner and then some; and Paul Berrien, a banker turned sheriff who has a shadow hanging over his aristocratic birthright.


Framed within that white Christmas, the Baker family seems poised on the brink of a grand experience. As the decade unfolds, they move from the tobacco field to the battlefield, from main street to city lights, from the church door to the gates of Hell. They battle drought, fire and other hardships, until long-simmering animosity unleashes the unthinkable and leaves them aching to understand its shattering consequences.


Beautifully written, slow-burning and haunting, Plowed Fields is a mesmerizing saga of people coming together and falling apart, relying on God and losing faith, and pushing forward and fighting back in times of crisis.


  

Praise for Plowed Fields


"If Pat Conroy had been raised on a tobacco farm in South Georgia, this is the novel he would have written. Plowed Fields is a powerful story about a time in history that left more scars than we care to remember. With his rich detail of farm life, complex characters and sure sense of storytelling, Jim Barber has captured a time and place in Americana with lyrical precision and stunning beauty. Amid the darkness and evil, he has infused this story with warmth, heart and hope as promising as a newly plowed field."


Becky Blalock, author of Dare

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The Plowed Fields Trilogy

Book One

The White Christmas and The Train


Morgan Bay Books PAPERBACK March 2019, ISBN 9781732784536


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Morgan Bay Books EBOOK March 2019, ISBN 9781732784543    


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Read an excerpt



Imagine a family like The Waltons living and loving on a tobacco farm in South Georgia during the 1960s, and you will have a strong sense of Plowed Fields. The story certainly has a wholesome quality—some might even say sentimental—but it’s also “glazed with the sorrow of a devastating truth.” Jim Barber has written a stunning debut novel.


On a cold December day in 1960, Joe Baker finishes plowing the largest field on his family’s farm in South Georgia and acknowledges the well of restlessness running deep inside him. Joe appreciates the good life provided by his parents, but his heart yearns for something else.


So begins Plowed Fields, setting the stage for a conflict that will nag at Joe for the next decade as he tries to reconcile his own desire and ambition with loyalty and responsibility to his family.


Originally published in its full-length version, Plowed Fields is also available in a trilogy edition. Book One begins with “The White Christmas,” introducing Joe and his family, along with a host of friends and acquaintances who will shape their fates during the next decade.


The Baker family is anchored by patriarch Sam, whose pirate’s appearance disguises a gentle giant of goodness, and his son, Matt, who is capable of strength and force when necessary but unafraid of tenderness when the moment requires a softer touch.


Plowed Fields also features Lucas Bartholomew, a black farm worker, and Bobby Taylor, the spitting image of a civil rights-minded Yankee's vision of a racist. Tensions erupt early between the Bakers and Taylors, sparked by a senseless act and fueled by Bobby’s campaigns for the sheriff’s job against Matt’s best friend, the aristocratic and troubled Paul Berrien.


In “The Train,” Joe confronts racial prejudice in his school and community and feels the strain of taking an unpopular stand. A girl claims his heart and a heroic deed plants a seed of hate that will fester as the decade unfolds.


Beautifully written, slow-burning and haunting, Plowed Fields is a mesmerizing saga of people coming together and falling apart, relying on God and losing faith, and pushing forward and fighting back in times of crisis.



Praise for Plowed Fields


Plowed Fields explores the hard choices we make, the love we give and the joy, sorrow and hope that shape our lives. It is a deeply moving story of “ordinary people” navigating through extraordinary times. Ultimately, Plowed Fields paints a portrait of faith lost and found. Joe Baker and his family will resonate with you long after the last page is read. I hope there’s a sequel.


Sam Heys, author of The Winecoff Fire and Big Bets

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Book Two

Angels Sing, The Garden, Faith and Grace and The Fire


Morgan Bay Books PAPERBACK March 2019, ISBN 9781732784550


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Morgan Bay Books EBOOK March 2019, ISBN 9781732784567


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Read an excerpt



Jim Barber has captured a time and place in Americana with lyrical precision and stunning beauty. Amid the darkness and evil, he has infused this story with warmth, heart and hope as promising as a newly plowed field.


In Book One of the Plowed Fields trilogy, we met Joe Baker and his large family as a rare white Christmas descended on their South Georgia farm. It was 1960, and the family seemed poised on the brink of a grand experience in the years to come.


As the decade progresses, the Bakers see their fortunes rise and fall, beginning with an illness that shakes the family at its very core. Prosperity comes calling when it’s least expected, but a harrowing ordeal forces a reckoning with faith that nearly shatters the family.


In Book Two of this three-part novel in episodes, Joe and his family give us an intimate portrayal of the farming life. They also encounter more unexpected turmoil with their friends and neighbors, including Lucas Bartholomew, Bobby Taylor and Sheriff Paul Berrien, stoking the conflict that will bring the family face-to-face with fire and famine, war and peace, and good and evil.


Amid a severe drought, this mesmerizing family saga builds to an exciting climax as one violent act leads Joe to mete out his own vicious brand of retribution. Ultimately, the Bakers will need an act of daring and courage to save them from utter ruin.


In Plowed Fields, author Jim Barber has created a place and characters that feel like home and family. The pages drip with the sweat, grime and grit of field work, the bone-tired stress of trying to make ends meet and a passion for life in this magnificent story of one’s family’s search for belonging. Book Two will leave you eager to for the conclusion of the Plowed Fields trilogy.



Praise for Plowed Fields

  

Not since Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove have I read such a solid, unembellished, detail-rich portrayal of rural life lived out in fiction. In fact, while reading Plowed Fields, it seemed I was watching an intriguing TV miniseries. Plowed Fields is all that a family saga should be—natural, endearing, superbly written and enchanting. Add to that "fresh" and "exact!" The characters come alive under Jim Barber's control. Jim Barber is a master storyteller; so by definition, that makes Plowed Fields a masterpiece. Readers are in for a glad experience.


Janice Daugharty, author of Earl in the Yellow Shirt and The Paw-Paw PatchBuy an autographed copy

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BOOK THREE

The War, The Dream and Horn of Plenty


Morgan Bay Books PAPERBACK March 2019, ISBN 9781732784574 


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Morgan Bay Books EBOOK March 2019, ISBN 9781732784581


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Read an excerpt



For much of the Sixties, Joe Baker has wrestled with reconciling his own desire and ambition with loyalty and responsibility to his family. The oldest of six children, he has led his brothers and sisters with quiet charisma, like a benevolent dictator whose subjects trust him without fail. But what happens when his instincts fail him?


When we first met Joe and his family, it was December 1960, and a rare white Christmas was blowing toward their farm in South Georgia. As the decade unfolded, they battled drought, fire and other hardships that threatened the family’s livelihood.


In Book Three—the riveting conclusion to the Plowed Fields trilogy—the Bakers and their neighbors move from the tobacco field to the battlefield, from main street to city lights, from the church doors to the gates of Hell.


Tom Carter, Joe’s best friend and his sister’s fiancé, finds himself slogging through the muck and mud in Vietnam, while an old flame entices Joe to participate in an antiwar demonstration. The resulting firestorm consumes the community, their friends and the Bakers themselves.


As the tumultuous events of 1968 give way to the final year of the Sixties, Joe fulfills his dream of becoming a newspaper reporter and immerses himself in the South’s last stand against school integration. The ensuing battle pits old adversaries like Lucas Bartholomew and Bobby Taylor, as long-simmering animosity unleashes the unthinkable and wields devastating consequences.


In Plowed Fields, author Jim Barber tells about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances, making good decisions and bad mistakes, pulling together and falling apart, and dealing life and death in the process. Ultimately, it is a brilliant Southern saga of reconciliation and redemption as Joe and his family rediscover the value of forgiveness and belonging.



Praise for Plowed Fields

  

"Set in the recent past, this is the perfect novel for our time of national uncertainty, cynicism, and corruption of values emanating from the very top. In nine episodes, Plowed Fields gives us the turbulent 1960s as lived in Georgia by the Baker family. Their haunting saga of desire and responsibility—of revolution and resolution—has a great deal to say to us today. In the words of the aphorism often attributed to Mark Twain, 'History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.'"


Alan Axelrod, author of The Gilded Age, 1876-1912: Overture to the American Century and How America Won World War I

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