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Sunday, January 28, 2024

About the Book

Book: LaDelle & Jubilant

Author: Cathy McIlvoy

Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian Fiction/Southern Fiction/Black/African American Historical Fiction

Release Date: August 14, 2023

Set in the 1930s, this Southern feel-good novel about a controlling widow and the troubled nephew she’s asked to care for invites you on a journey of faith and surrender while weaving in the amazing true-life character, George Washington Carver. 

LaDelle Harris, a fiery 51-year-old widow and head librarian at the Tuskegee Institute, likes things her way: orderly and predictable. So, the last thing she wants is to take care of her 12-year-old nephew, Jubilant, for the summer— or maybe forever. But when her estranged brother, the Reverend Ashton Bartley, suffers a heart attack and she’s asked to look after his son, she can’t say no.

While LaDelle focuses on doing all she can to keep Jubilant from creating chaos in her well-ordered life, it seems Abel Fisher, the manager of the Piggly Wiggly, is taking an interest in her. Amid all that’s happening, Jubilant is bent on returning to Huntsville to be with his daddy.

Can a menopausal woman with a need for control and a troubled pre-teen boy make peace with God and each other as they struggle with their fears and issues? Some gracious neighbors and Professor George Washington Carver may be able to help.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

LaDelle & Jubilant is Cathy McIlvoy’s first published work of fiction and was initially inspired by her admiration for George Washington Carver. Her interest in him and Tuskegee grew as she taught her sons about this genuine man of faith. She especially wanted her two youngest, bi-racial sons to know about this scientist with his impressive accomplishments and commendable character, who looked like them.

Cathy’s desire to learn more about Professor Carver put her on a plane from California to Alabama, where she soaked up all she could and enjoyed more than one unforgettable meal of catfish, grits, and sweet tea. Her time spent on campus at Tuskegee University, including several visits to the George Washington Carver Museum located on campus, fueled ideas for LaDelle & Jubilant and continues to be a highlight in her life. Cathy was also fortunate to receive an endorsement for her book from Dana Chandler, Archivist at Tuskegee University.

Today, Cathy and her husband make their home near one of their sons in Louisville, Kentucky where she writes, and they minister to pastors, leaders, and missionaries through Standing Stone Ministry. In addition to having four grown sons, Cathy and her husband are blessed with amazing daughters-in-law, a growing brood of grandchildren, and—though calling them a blessing is a matter of debate between her and family members—two persnickety cats.

More from Cathy

“A personal relationship with the Great Creator of all things is the only foundation for the abundant life. The farther we get away from self, the greater life will be.”

-George Washington Carver.

A Note About George and My Journey With Him

Although Professor Carver doesn’t appear in LaDelle & Jubilant until chapter nine, he’s not only an important character, but the impetus for writing the book in the first place!

The truth is, I am fascinated by George Washington Carver and want everyone to know about him. Due to his accomplishments, he was often referred to as “The Wizard of Tuskegee,” “The Peanut Man,” and, my personal favorite, “The Black Leonardo.” An agricultural chemist, professor, artist and more, George was a renaissance man in many ways. Though born into slavery and sickly as a child, God had big plans for him, and George was faithful. He viewed his work as worship to the Lord and service to his community and beyond.

After doing much research about George, the South, and the history of Tuskegee University, it felt surreal to travel to Alabama and spend time where Professor Carver had lived and worked for 47 years. For several days, I soaked up all I could—the George Washington Carver Museum, Booker T. Washington’s home, called The Oaks, the stately brick buildings on campus, and the thriving agricultural area which is still used for instruction. As a middle-aged Caucasian woman, I’m sure I stood out at this historically Black university as I ate in the student cafeteria and roamed the grounds, poking my head into buildings and snapping photos.

After engaging all my senses and imagination while exploring the place George called home for most of his life, I flew back to California with a belly full of sweet tea and my mind full of fresh insight and inspiration. Years after that trip, I finally finished LaDelle & Jubilant!

I hope you are entertained and inspired by my historical, character-driven novel. I also hope it compels you to look further into the life of George Washington Carver.

Happy reading!


I am sitting here trying to figure out how to do a review that will do this story justice. The opening pages set the tone for an inspiring relationship between two unlikely people. With a touch of history about a very well know man, George Washington Carver I appreciated how the  author reminded us of how important agriculture is to each of us. I did learn a few interesting facts about this man that  readers may be surprised by.  

LaDelle is described by some as a spitfire. With her determination to achieve things she certainly lives up to that name. I laughed as she went into the store like a knight ready for battle. When she is on a mission, watch out everyone. The times are tough and she wants to buy food to last but the prices are outrageous. Oh how I wish we could pay those prices for meat today.  Her little infatuation for someone who works at the store is very charming. Will she allow herself to love again? 

Jubilant is traveling to go stay with his aunt LaDelle  while his father recovers from a heart attack. The description of Jubilant’s  dad made me think of my own father. I’m a preachers kid and some feared my dad. He wasn’t all that tall but his presence could be very intimidating. Jubilant is wondering how long he will have to stay with his aunt. He doesn’t know her well and what he has heard about her makes him nervous. 

As the author began to reveal the two main characters and their flaws they became  real to me. I loved the bond that developed between LaDelle and Jubilant. LaDelle’s heart becomes filled with love for her nephew and it brought her a renewed felling of belonging. God had brought this young boy to her for a reason. The faith element is very strong throughout the book and illustrated how important it is to never give up. Jubilant will also learn that he has a gift and uses to encourage his dad as he recovers from his illness. 

The two main characters did go through some trying times but it also helped them grow to trust and lean on others as well as God.  I loved when this was said in the story by Professor Carver; “When a person is given a task, he will also be given what is needed to complete the task at hand, no matter his age.”  

Through all the ups and downs in this story one stood out the most. We all need friendship, God and family. I loved LaDelle so much and how she grew to love her nephew and  realized how much she needed to be around  family. I appreciate the history in the book and how the author was able to incorporate some famous people into the story. As I close out my review I have this feeling in my heart of compassion and grace for others. LaDelle is someone who we can all learn from. We can find ourselves bitter over the past but when God opens a door to find a new direction for you, walk through it with excitement.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 25 (Author Interview)

The Lit Lady, January 25

Lighthouse Academy Blog, January 26 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 27

Texas Book-aholic, January 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 30

Books I’ve Read, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 2

Simple Harvest Reads, February 3 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, February 4

An Author’s Take, February 5

Artistic Nobody, February 6 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, February 6


To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

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