The Second Dune, Shelby Hearon's second novel, was published in 1973 and won the Texas Institute of Letters Award as the best book of fiction of the year. Written when Hearon was forty-three and just before her divorce, the novel is seen from the point of view of suburban housewives and their mothers and daughters. Ellen Marshall, divorced and remarried, is troubled by her son's refusal to accept her second husband, but takes great comfort from the five-year old daughter of her second marriage. She hopes to be able to pass on to her daughter some of the knowledge that only women possess and to help little Ellen see that women need to break the bonds that society has forced upon them. As the narrator says early in the novel, ""Raised by women, schooled by women, we who are mothers now were taught to look across the gulf to men and count ourselves as they counted us."" Ellen hopes her daughter will be different just as she is slowly becoming different herself.
Shelby Reed Hearon lives in Burlington, Vermont, but her novels always have a strong Texas setting. Hearon is author of fifteen novels and seventeen stories. The Second Dune is the second Shelby Hearon novel to be reprinted by TCU Press. The first was the excellent A Prince of a Fellow. Hearon's most recent novel is Ella in Bloom, published by Knopf in 2000.