Margaret Larkin Jones

Author Editor Writer

The Journal of Country Music, with a cover feature book excerpt from Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline, by Margaret Jones





Reviews of Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline


The Washington Post:
"This fine biography of country music star Patsy Cline begins with a compelling and telling image. It's May 1957. Twenty-five-year-old Patsy is riding on the top of the back seat of a red Oldsmobile convertible in the Apple Blossom Festival parade in her hometown of Winchester, Va. For this momentous occasion, she has abandoned her trademark Western outfit in favor of a strapless evening gown, rhinestone earrings and high heels. She has returned in triumph, the recent winner of Arthur Godfrey's 'Talent Scouts," where she sang her hit song 'Walkin' After Midnight' before a combined radio-TV audience of 82 million people. But she is not the queen of this parade. The queen of the apple blossoms--'the ideal' of Southern womanhood--is a 19-year-old Englishwoman riding on a float way ahead of Patsy--'an aristrocrat through and through.' Patsy is not an aristocrat. She's a cowgirl, and she'll always be a cowgirl. ... Journalist Margaret Jones has relied heavily upon personal interviews--lots and lots of direct quotes here--to produce this comprehensive biography of country music's first 'crossover' superstar. The result is a chatty, intimate, compulsively readable picture of not only the tragic Patsy, but also of those who knew her and of the world which produced her and her music."

L.A. Weekly:
"Cline has never before been the subject of an unflinching, unbiased and, most important, Nashville-apolitical biography. Author Margaret Jones' Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline is the first portrait of the hillbilly torch singer with real fur on it--the book offers a depth, breadth and height of reality that is both fascinating and repellent. . . . "Patsy" goes a long way toward filling, with fistfuls of truth, the gaping cracks in Nashville's sanctioned history... It is essential reading for anyone seriously involved in a romance with country music."

Philadelphia Inquirer:
"...Patsy is a masterful study of an American master. It's the most meticulously researched and insightful of the three Cline biographies published thus far. Jones captures Cline in all of her vitality and passion, while showing how Cline rose from poverty to stardom."

Country Music Magazine:
"Author Margaret Jones is a virtual unknown, but her book, Patsy, deserves to be the definitive work on the subject. Jones has dug deeper, done more interviews, uncovered more facts, and gotten more history correctly than nearly any book on the market today. Richly detailed, it succeeds both as biography and as a research work on country music of the '50s and early '60s."

Women's Review of Books:
"Jones deftly weaves together salty interview quotes from such contemporaries as Loretta Lynn, June Carter (with whom Patsy did two-women shows) and Barbara Mandrell, then a child star, whom Patsy protected from crude adult shenanigans. Jones produces entertaining, lively sound bites and pithy evaluations. She also draws out the last days of Patsy Cline over fifteen pages--a novelist's technique, suspenseful and well-done and devastating to the end."

The New York Times:
(reviewed along with Hank Williams: The Biography, by Colin Escott):
"Colin Escott and Margaret Jones have written books that are biographies and social histories, too. They have pored over records and documents, talked to anyone who had anything useful or interesting to say, and kept the stories moving without pomposity or too much glibness. Ms. Jones likes to let her informants advance her tale and air their views; Mr. Escott runs a tighter narrative ship and is more knowing about the details of the music. Read separately they redeem these performers from years of sentimental memoir writing and movie making. Read together they give us a full-bodied portrait of mass culture, as it simultaneously elevates and mangles its artists and its art forms."

Nashville Banner:
(reviewed along with Hank Williams: The Biography, by Colin Escott):
"These excellent biographies attempt to place their subjects in the context of the music industry of their day and show how that industry, in Jones’ words, “was transformed almost overnight from a regional anomaly to a multimillion-dollar industry.” To say that both volumes are essential additions to the history of our own local culture could pretty well sum it up.… Both books have the potential to become the country hit of the year. If you close your eyes in between chapters, you can almost hear the music."