This Familiar Heart: An Improbable Love Story (Paperback)

This Familiar Heart: An Improbable Love Story By Babette Fraser Hale Cover Image

This Familiar Heart: An Improbable Love Story (Paperback)


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In this intimate rendering of a relationship we learn how deceptive surface impressions can be.

Leon Hale, author of Bonney’s Place, was sixty years old, a “country boy” who wrote about rural Texans with humor and sensitivity in his popular column for The Houston Post and, later the Houston Chronicle. Babette Fraser at thirty-six was a child of privilege, a city girl educated abroad, struggling in her career while raising a young son. No one thought it could work.

Even Hale himself held serious doubts. But it did endure. The interior congruencies they discovered through a long and turbulent courtship knit them tightly together for the rest of his life.

And when he died during the Pandemic isolation period, searing levels of grief and doubt threatened Babette’s understanding of the partnership and marriage that had sustained her for forty years. Had he really been the person she thought he was? Had he kept secrets that would forever change her view of him?

In candid, evocative prose, she explores the distorted perceptions that often follow the death of a cherished spouse, and the loving resolution that allows life to go on.

BABETTE FRASER HALE is the author of A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers, 2022 winner of the debut fiction award from the Texas Institute of Letters. Her stories have won the Meyerson Prize from Southwest Review and been included among the “Other Distinguished Stories” in Best American Short Stories, 2015. In addition to writing short fiction, at various times she has been a magazine feature writer, columnist, contributing editor, book editor and publisher. She lives in Texas. 

Product Details ISBN: 9780975272756
ISBN-10: 0975272756
Publisher: Winedale Publishing
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
Pages: 308
Language: English
"The reader who expects a sentimental, smiling-through-tears compilation of anecdotes about a beloved Texas writer is in for a surprise. Babette Fraser Hale's memoir is rivetingly honest. Her portrait of Leon Hale is rich, loving, sympathetic and unsparing."
—Emily Fox Gordon, award-winning essayist and author of the novel It Will Come to Me and two memoirs, Mockingbird Years: A Life In and Out of Therapy and Are You Happy?: A Childhood Remembered. Her work has appeared in two Pushcart Prize Anthologies.  

"Their lengthy courtship was marked by joy, passion and mutual uncertainty. Their marriage was full of love, laughter—and lessons in compromise. Babette Hale shares the story of her love and life with Leon Hale in an unforgettable memoir. 
—Judy Alter, award-winning novelist, author of The Gilded Cage and many others  

"This Texas love story is engrossing: finely written, poignant, joyful, sad…..everything any story involving Houston’s iconic and beloved columnist Leon Hale should be."
—Karleen Koen, writer, editor, New York Times best selling author of Through a Glass Darkly and other novels.  

"A roam through the later life of cherished columnist Leon Hale. Fresh and fascinating!"
—Patricia Pando, writer, columnist, Texas historian