Bruckheimer, Linda 1946(?)-
BRUCKHEIMER, Linda 1946(?)-
Home—KY, and Los Angeles, CA. Agent—Hilsinger-Mendelson, Inc., 6100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 1660, Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Writer and producer. Mirabella magazine, West Coast editor; writer/producer for Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) specials. National Trust for Historic Preservation, trustee.
Dreaming Southern (novel), Dutton (New York, NY), 1999.
The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way (novel; sequel to Dreaming Southern), Dutton (New York, NY), 2004.
Linda Bruckheimer has enjoyed the glamour and prestige of Hollywood, California, both as a successful writer and editor and as the wife of film producer Jerry Bruckheimer. She was born in Texas, where her father was stationed with the U.S. Air Force, and while she was still an infant, the family moved to Kentucky. Her father took them to California when she was fifteen, leaving behind a failed construction business and unpaid bills. As an adult, Bruckheimer returned to visit her Kentucky family, including her grandmother, and in 1991, she and her husband bought Walnut Groves, a Greek Revival house listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house, built in 1820 by Samuel Boone Merrifield, became their retreat, and they renovated and restored buildings on the property and bought more acreage. They added guest cabins, one of which had belonged to sixteenth U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's great-uncle Richard Berry, Jr.
Bruckheimer decided to do the same for the nearby town of Bloomfield, population approximately one thousand. She bought the historic 1899 Wells Building and four more structures which have been renovated to provided recreation for the town's families, as well as create boutique retail spaces. The Wells General Store & Mercantile now resembles its former self of a century ago. She enlisted University of Kentucky architecture students to help in redesigns and horticulture students to help in rethinking the way crop lands could be used.
Bruckheimer has also written two novels of the South. Her first, Dreaming Southern, is reminiscent of her own family's trip west. In the story Lila Mae Wooten and her four children travel from Kentucky to California to meet up with Lila's husband, who has gone ahead of them. The trip stretches out to a month, as Lila Mae deals with her smart-aleck children in a 1953 Packard that is pulling all their possessions in a trailer, and makes side trips whenever the mood strikes her. Patty Friedmann wrote in the New Orleans Times-Picayune that "because this book consists mostly of a string of on-the-road vignettes, many of the people and circumstances we encounter tantalize in the same way scenery does when passed at the speed limit." At the end of the story, Bruckheimer jumps ahead thirty years. "The jarring contrast makes a bittersweet comment about how quickly the children grow up and leave," noted Ron Charles in the Christian Science Monitor.
In the sequel, The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way, Lila Mae has returned to the fictional town of Blue Lick Springs, Kentucky, and her three daughters, Rebecca, Carleen, and the youngest, Irene, are about to help her celebrate her seventy-fifth birthday. Carleen is a newspaper columnist who is about to find love, and Rebecca is in a struggle with developer Horace Clarence Castle III, who is buying up old buildings in order to raze them. Irene, who has not quite grown up yet, moves in with her grandmother, whose farm is also being threatened by development. Booklist critic Meredith Parets felt that although Bruckheimer plays many of the struggles between pro-development and anti-development factions "for laughs," "she is serious about the threats to the economic health and character of American small towns."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 1999, Toni Hyde, review of Dreaming Southern, p. 828; April 1, 2004, Meredith Parets, review of The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way, p. 1345.
Chicago Tribune, November 18, 1998, Thomas S. Watson, "Small Town's Restoration a Real-Life Hollywood Story: Producer's Wife Responsible for Preserving Historic Sites," p. 8.
Christian Science Monitor, January 28, 1999, Ron Charles, review of Dreaming Southern, p. 17.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004, review of The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way, p. 193.
Library Journal, February 1, 1999, Nancy Pearl, review of Dreaming Southern, p. 118; October 1, 1999, review of Dreaming Southern, p. 49.
New York Times Magazine, November 28, 1999, Pilar Viladas, "You Can Go Home Again," p. 141.
People, June 21, 2004, "Blue Grass Roots: Hollywood's Fine, but Author Linda Bruckheimer Likes Her Old Kentucky Home," p. 108.
Publishers Weekly, November 30, 1998, review of Dreaming Southern, p. 51; April 26, 2004, review of The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way, p. 43.
Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), January 17, 1999, Patty Friedmann, review of Dreaming Southern, p. D6.
Courier-Journal Online (Louisville, KY), http://www.courier-journal.com/ (May 2, 2004), Byron Crawford, "Novelist Writes What She Knows: Kentucky."*