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Riding with the Queen "Jennie Shortridge writes with an easy grace and a backbeat of the blues that lends a quiet authority to this novel of a woman trying to stay halfway sane in a wholly crazy world."
—Summer Wood, author of Arroyo

Read more praise here.

Full of big dreams of the fast life, Tallie Beck hit the road at the age of seventeen to become a rock and roll star—and vowed never to look back. Now, at thirty-four, she's little more than a down-and-out singer who smokes and drinks too much and knows better than to make promises she can't keep.

Dumped by her latest band and low on cash, Tallie has no choice but to go back to Denver. Back to her crazy mother and her resentful younger sister, Jane, who's never forgiven her for leaving. And after so many miles on that long, exhilarating, scary—and often lonely—road, she's looking back to trace some wrong turns and figure out a way to where she really wants to go.

From an authentic new voice in fiction, and written with a sharp understanding of both family conflict and family love, Riding with the Queen is a story of running away, running on empty… and finally, learning to run your own life.

NAL/Penguin trade paperback, October 2003, ISBN: 978-0451210272


Author's notes
Chapter 1
Reading Group Guide
Listen to the Music
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Riding with the Queen "Shortridge does a fine job of molding her heroine into a sympathetic, even admirable character…hits all the right notes."
—The Miami Herald

"An absorbing novel of a family with hard edges but an unbreakable bond….Shortridge's finely crafted sentences often use a single telling detail to suggest the larger picture. It's a notable debut."
—Rocky Mountain News

"Imagine a blend of Margaret Atwood and Dolly Parton—Shortridge sneaks up on you…Funny, sexy, smart…Shortridge has done something few writers accomplish. Her first novel is a delight, a tightly-woven tale of a nearly-on-her-last-legs country singer who finds that while you can go home again, there may be reasons not to like it. That is, until life makes you look at yourself and your relationships more honestly."
—Statesman Journal

"A promising debut."
—The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Compelling…Shortridge's book chronicles the growing-up process from Tallie's perspective, providing a haunting inside look at the world of musicians on the edge between success and failure."

"A kick-in-the-pants read. Tallie Beck is as brassy a blues singer as you'd ever want to meet."
—Katie Schneider, author of All We Know of Love

"Like the novel she inhabits, Tallie Beck is funny, sexy, smart, and heartbreakingly real. A wonderful debut."
—Louise Redd, author of Hangover Soup

"A little bit country and a little bit rock 'n roll, this skillfully written novel is gripping from the get-go."
—Caroline Hwang, author of In Full Bloom