May 21, 2009
by Leanna Ellis
Dottie (Dorothy) Meyers lives on a small Kansas farm, alone but for her little dog Toto – oops … Otto. When a tornado rips through her property, it not only demolishes the home she’s lived in all her life, but knocks the middle-aged maiden out cold. She awakens three months later at Rainbow’s End, an assisted living facility in California. Near her bed are a pair of ruby slippers – a gift from the father she hasn’t seen since she was four.
Haunted by childhood memories and a longing to meet the Daddy she barely remembers, Dottie sets out on a journey to Seattle (the Emerald City). Traveling with her are three friends: Sophia, whose mastectomy left her constantly rearranging the “stuffing” in strategic places on her body. A free thinker, she jokes that her son sometimes thinks she’s lost her brain; Tim, Dottie’s elderly uncle by marriage. He gave his whole heart to Elizabeth, who’s younger brother is Dottie’s father. When Elizabeth died, Tim thought his heart died with her; Leo, Sophia’s wild and woolly son, who lives by himself in a cabin in the woods. He looks fearsome, and he makes a lot of noise, but Dottie soon discovers that a part of Leo is nothing more than a scared little boy who mourns the absence of a father in his life, just as she does.
And then there’s Duncan Meyers, who lives in Seattle in a house that’s nothing short of a mansion. Why did he abandon his family all those years ago? And why did he leave those unusual slippers for his daughter while she lay in a coma?
Dottie’s actress sister, Abby, is busy playing the part of the wicked witch in a traveling production of The Wizard of Oz. For some reason, she desperately wants Dottie’s ruby slippers … and she’s not alone. More than one person is out to get those shoes.
The little group of friends learn a lot of important lessons about themselves and each other on their way to Seattle. Focused on guarding the shoes and mentally clinging to the past, will Dottie fail to see the promise of a brighter future? Hurt and disillusioned by her father’s abandonment, will she ever again trust another man with her heart? In search of her Daddy’s affection, will she fail to see the flawless love her heavenly Father has offered all along?
It’s a modern-day Wizard of Oz with Cinderella undertones. But this is no fairy tale or fantasy, with magical resolutions and guaranteed happy endings. It’s a deeply moving story of hurt and healing, of love and loss, of hope and redemption. Immensely entertaining, it is chock full of wit, grit, humor and heartache. Truly unforgettable, Ruby’s Slippers has the potential to be a classic.
Don’t miss this one!
May 17, 2009
It’s 1905 in a sleepy, one-horse town in Missouri, where all has remained the same for a good, long while. But everything changes with the arrival of Donald “Duke” Dennison, the Chicago Cubs’ star player, who’s hiding out in Picksville while he sobers up.
Ellie Jane Voyant is the sheriff’s eccentric daughter. She’s tucked herself away behind the train station’s ticket window and buried the crushing pain of childhood taunts and adult snobbery. Ned Clovis, the deaf feed store clerk, has loved Ellie Jane for years, but keeps his feelings to himself and simply watches her from a distance. Morris Bennett, a twelve-year-old Negro boy with a burning desire to shake the dust of Picksville off his shoes, winds in and out of the lives of Picksville residents – young and old, rich and poor, black and white.
The actions of the little town’s celebrity guest start a ripple effect that will impact every resident. Duke’s a known womanizer, boarding in Ellie Jane’s home. Ned, who greatly admires the newcomer and harbors a lifelong passion for baseball, must either step up to the plate or concede the play for the girl. On a more public level, Duke discovers Morris’ natural-born skill with a baseball, and determines to give the boy a chance at success, despite daunting barriers of racial discrimination and family dysfunction.
Duke. Ellie Jane. Ned. Morris. Four isolated hearts, four hidden passions. Just when it seems there might be a happy ending for them all, tragedy strikes hard and fast. Can love and faith bring them through?
Allison Pittman hits one out of the park with Stealing Home. Absolutely stunning imagery, characters that live and breathe, and incredible internalization. A powerful, touching tale. Though baseball plays a large part in the storyline, this book is not about that sport. It’s about sin and redemption. It’s an example of love and faith, secrets and lies, weakness and strength. It’s finding the “sweet spot” - standing alone at the batter’s plate while the crowd roars in the background, every eye is fixed on you, and a whole team of opponents is out to bring you down.
Stealing Home throws some unexpected curve balls, and keeps the bases loaded at all times. Great job!
February 15, 2009
It’s 1887, in and around Denver, Colorado. Chief United States Marshal John Brockman, (already known to many readers as “The Stranger”) is back in the saddle, keeping law and order by capturing outlaws and adding stars to his crown by winning souls.
In Outlaw Marshal, Brockman brings several wanted men to justice, including well-known robber Whip Langford. As Brockman continues to visit Whip each time he brings a new inmate to the prison, he tries to lead the younger man to the Lord, but Whip doesn’t want to hear the story of salvation. Nevertheless, the two men find themselves developing a strong friendship.
Released from prison after saving the warden’s life, Whip winds up in Denver, where he meets Annabeth Cooper – a young widowed nurse, and a good friend of Brockman’s wife. Brockman hires him as a deputy, and now Whip is off fighting the crime in which he once partook.
It doesn’t take a lot to make Whip fall in love with Annabeth, but falling in love with Jesus is another story. It takes a hair-raising near-death experience to bring the former robber to his knees after being framed for murder.
Outlaw Marshal is an old-fashioned western with a twist – strong and persistent references to Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. It’s rather interesting to think of blatantly God-fearing Christian men in the role of old-western heroes…sporting not only the familiar star on the chest but a loaded gun and the ability to use it well. The Lacy’s paint a unique picture of Christianity in the wild, wild west while delivering a blatant biblical message.
May 31, 2008
Peach Street Follies is a charming tale of family life and love that rings with the incomparable warmth of truth. Lyndsey and Emily Pennington are sisters who live happily with their grandparents and Rosie, the family dog. Papa and Nana help the girls make every day a new adventure and the reader feels pulled into this loving family as the children go on a trip to the county fair … hatch a plot to catch the tooth fairy at work … even find a baby in a little red wagon on their doorstep. I found myself mentally in a mud puddle with the children on a special rainy day, and shivering with child-like excitement at the mysterious happenings during an overnight camp-out. When the girls and Nana create a very happy snowy-day birthday for a young friend, one almost tastes that first oh-so-delicious lick of chocolate frosting right off the beaters.
Susan Browning Pennington has created a warm and welcoming world that will be enjoyed by the young and the young-at-heart. This reader felt herself pulled cozily into the arms of a loving family. Pennington took me back to a childhood I thought mostly forgotten, and helped me remember what it was like to find adventure in every moment, and something exciting in every new day.
“To tree … or not to tree?”
by Lori E. Mazzola
This little book of talking trees, all children – young and old – must read. Packed with wisdom, full of fun, it holds a gift for everyone. Readers will be captivated with the world the author has created. There, a wish lets children fly … and trees can talk, and even cry! The characters, most extraordinary … a very important message carry. From a country home to a big rain forest, Mars and Venus are transported. They carry a secret and a special key, given to them by a weeping tree. But theirs is not the only one … Mom and Dad have secrets, too … so come! Join this special family on a quest to tree … or not to tree!