Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: Pure Heart

Summary: Troylyn Ball and her husband, Charlie, an engineer and real estate developer, had spent their entire lives in Texas. But after a near fatal trip to the emergency room with their non-verbal, wheelchair-bound son Marshall, they admitted the dust and the heat were too dangerous. To save their boys, the Balls cashed out, sold their beloved farm, and moved to Asheville, North Carolina.

Nearing fifty, Troy thought her chance at adventure had passed. But in this booming little Appalachian Mountain city of hippies, farmers, artisans, and retirees, she unexpectedly discovered a support network and something she’d never had in twenty-five years of providing round-the-clock care for her special needs boys: the freedom to pursue her own dreams. She struck up a friendship with a legendary eighty-year-old raconteur from the mountains, met his friends, and soon found herself in a rickety country shack with an ingeniously inventive retired farmer trying to create the best recipe ever for traditional mountain moonshine.

But when the real estate bubble burst and the collapse of her husband Charlie’s new venture in Asheville left them deeply in debt, Troy realized her ten-year business plan for Troy & Sons Platinum Whiskey wasn’t enough. If she was going to save her family—and she was definitely going to save her family—she needed to become the most successful woman in the legal whiskey business. And she needed to do it fast, before the bank took her house, her business, and everything she’d worked so hard to achieve.

Full of eccentric characters and charming locations—from a "haunted" cabin in the mountains to the last farm in the world to grow heritage Crooked Creek corn—Pure Heart is a charming story of a woman who set out to find a purpose in the most unexpected of places, and ended up finding happiness, contentment, and a community of love and respect. -- Dey Street

PURE HEART: A SPIRITED TALE OF GRACE, GRIT, AND WHISKEY by Troy Ball with Bret Witter first caught my eye at last year's SIBA conference. Maybe it was because next to the book display, there were people handing out shots of whiskey? I have to admit that Ms. Ball's story intrigued me. A mother to three sons, two with severe disabilities, decides to start her own moonshine business!

Troy Ball is quite the character! She's definitely one of the most persistent individuals I've ever encountered in a non-fiction book, and I found her story so inspiring. Not only was she an incredible mother -- she pretty much provided 24 hour a day care to her special needs sons, but she also decided at almost 50 (gasp!) to start her own business. And she didn't just start a business, she researched moonshine and developed her own special recipe... and became the first woman distiller of whiskey in the world.

Ms. Ball's story is definitely an interesting one! And it's definitely about more than starting a whiskey company. I was impressed and inspired (and a bit in awe) by how she handled every difficult thing that came her way. A life long Texan, she and her husband realized they had to pick up and move to a climate better suited to their kids, and that means they had to start over with their family business. She tended to her children in a way that is almost unfathomable to me, and she also managed to deal with some pretty huge financial issues.

When she finally decided it was time for her to do something for herself, she thought maybe it was making and selling moonshine. Of course, her family's money problems kind of forced the issue for Ms. Ball. With the passion she showed for everything in her life, she began meeting with old moonshiners to discover their secrets. She even researched the best ingredients, forged relationships with suppliers, and worked in a metal building trying to perfect her recipe. Once she had her whiskey recipe down, she focused on bringing the product to market which is a fairly difficult task in North Carolina.

I enjoyed PURE HEART quite a bit. Ms. Bell's story is an interesting as it is inspiring. As someone approaching her 50s, I loved that she was able to do accomplish everything with her business; and the message that it's never to late to discover your passion was something I needed to hear. I recommend this book to fans of inspirational memoirs, but also readers who are interested in the distilling of liquors and the challenges a small business owner can face.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

I enjoyed this book too and really felt like Ball captured the spirit of Asheville.

The Book Sage said...

I'm always happy to hear about a good memoir. Thanks.