Review of “Leora’s Dexter Stories” by Author D. C. Gilbert

A Bit of Joy in Troubled Times

Book Description

The undertow of the Great Depression becomes poignantly personal as we experience the travails of Leora and Clabe Wilson, a displaced Iowa farm family. Gritty determination fuels this family’s journey of loss and hope, a reflection of what many American families endured during those challenging times.

In this true story the Wilsons slowly slide into unemployment and poverty. Leora must find ways to keep her dreams alive while making a haven for her flock of seven children in one run-down house after another.

My Thoughts …

Author Joy Neal Kidney has done it again.

After enjoying her first book, Leora’s Letters, I ordered a signed copy from the author when Leora’s Dexter Stories was released. I was not disappointed.

In this amazing second book, Author Joy Neal Kidney shares the struggles, trials, and heartbreaks her family experienced during the Great Depression while living in rural small-town Iowa. Leora’s Dexter Stories is a touching and enlightening story of family, struggle, pain, perseverance, and success.

Joy is the oldest granddaughter of Leora Wilson, who in this true story, faces the daily challenges of keeping a roof over her family’s head, putting food on the table, dealing with tragic losses, and ensuring her seven children’s dreams of success remain in focus. Along with her husband, Clabe, Leora Wilson exemplify what so many American families endured during this difficult period in American history.

However, it was not all gloom and despair. There were also times of fellowship, caring friends and family; and yes, moments of joy. Family trips to the fair, children’s school sports activities and other accomplishments are recounted, as well as moments of humor and laughter (I loved Rusty the Squirrel). Leora’s Dexter Stories is a book that will touch your heart.

While not a collection of short stories, each chapter is short enough and so well crafted, the reader can easily read a them one at a time, and return later to continue with no trouble picking up where they left off. Because of vacation and a crisis at work, this is exactly how I read this book. However, at the same time, it is a book you will not want to put down.

I highly recommend this wonderful book. It is my opinion that this book should be required reading in America’s school systems. I can’t help but think that learning and remembering a bit of what the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of this current generation endured and sacrificed to provide them with the freedoms they take for granted, and a country they often misunderstand, would be a good thing.

About the Author

Joy Neal Kidney, is the oldest granddaughter of the book’s heroine, and is the author of Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss For an Iowa Family During World War II. She is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and married to a Vietnam War Air Force veteran. Joy lives in central Iowa and is a regular storyteller for “Our American Stories.”

Review is by author D.C. Gilbert

DC Gilbert was born in Ilion, NY, but grew up in North Adams, Massachusetts, nestled in the heart of the Berkshire Mountains.

An avid reader, he particularly enjoys military history, epic sagas, spy novels, and historical fiction. In addition to serving in the U.S. Army from 1979 to 1983, Darren has over 33 years of martial arts training, including managing his own karate dojo for 12 years.

He has earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Tennessee and Western Governors University, respectively. Darren is also a graduate of Executive Security International’s Executive Protection Program and is a Certified Protection Specialist.


As well as being an avid reader, DC Gilbert loves to write. His novels, Serpents Underfootand Montagnard, as well as a collection of true short stories, Adirondack Bear Tales, are all available from and are receiving great reviews.

Kirkus Reviews gave both Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard excellent reviews, and Montagnard received the Literary Titan Gold Book Award for August 2020. You can click on the title to read the review. Kirkus Reviews is the industry gold standard for book reviews.

Darren is a member of the Military Writers Society of America and the Knoxville Writers Guild.

Writing and Blogging

In addition to writing novels, Darren enjoys blogging and has been doing so for about 10 years. He posts information about his books and related activities, book reviews, food reviews, stuff about German Shepherds, short stories, pro-military stories, and occasional political musings on his blog.

Upcoming book …

Darren is currently working on the third installment in the JD Cordell action series called Reciprocity. This exciting third adventure will center around human trafficking and include a return to Thailand, a visit to the Philippines and Mexico, and of course, more thrilling action and martial arts!


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