Friday, October 16, 2015

The Spendor of Ordinary Days by Jeff High - REVIEWED

About The Book: (from the publisher)

Readers of Jan Karon’s Mitford series and Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country series will fall in love with Jeff High’s funny, heartfelt Watervalley series.

The pastoral charm of small-town Watervalley, Tennesse, can be deceptive, as young Dr. Luke Bradford discovers when he’s caught in the fallout of a decades-old conflict…

After a rocky start as Watervalley’s only doctor, Luke Bradford has decided to stay in town, honoring the three-year commitment he made to pay off his medical school debts. But even as his friendships with the quirky townsfolk deepen, and he pursues a romance with lovely schoolteacher Christine Chambers, several military veterans’ emotional wounds trigger anger and unrest in Watervalley.

At the center of the clash is the curmudgeonly publisher of the local newspaper, Luther Whitmore. Luther grew up in Watervalley, but he returned from combat in Vietnam a changed man. He fenced in beautiful Moon Lake, posting “Keep Out” notices at the beloved spot, and provokes the townspeople with his incendiary newspaper.  
As Luke struggles to understand Luther’s past, and restore harmony in Watervalley, an unforeseen crisis shatters a relationship he values dearly. Suddenly Luke must answer life’s toughest questions about service, courage, love, and sacrifice.


My Thoughts:
“…and as the years pass, we lose sight of the splendor of ordinary day.”  (p.121)

When Leyland speaks these words to Luke Bradford, I like to think it was a bit prophetic, because Luke’s thoughts were jumbled about a lot of things at that point in the story.  He gained some much needed perspective from this older but wiser man of Watervalley.  Luke returned to his town and their people with a renewed sense of transparency and purpose.  What he learns in the aftermath of this realization changes his life in profound ways.

Well, I’ve been introduced to another set of eclectic characters that I’ve fallen in love with!  Watervalley is filled with interesting people like the reclusive but peaceful Leyland and curmudgeons like the editor of the town’s paper, Luther. There is conflict and mystery between Watervalley and the neighboring Mennonite community.  There is a tender romance blossoming between Luke and Christine.  This is a town that you can feel at home in, and a place that welcomes you like a comfortable blanket.

This novel is my introduction to Jeff High’s writing, and I am a fan!!  Granted, Leyland’s language leaves a lot to be desired, but the source of his vitriolic personality is something that has changed the landscape of several lives.  He is a very realistic picture of what bitterness does to change someone’s life.  In short, all of Jeff High’s characters are very easy to know and recognize – and love.  He paints beautiful word pictures and his story touches your heart over and over again.

I’ll be revisiting this series – and catching up with the other books of Watervalley very soon!

About the Author:
After growing up on a farm in rural Tennessee, Jeff High attained degrees in literature and nursing. He is the three-time winner, in fiction and poetry, of an annual writing contest held by Vanderbilt Medical Center. He lived in Nashville for many years, and throughout the country as a travel nurse, before returning to his original hometown, near where he now works as an operating room RN in open-heart surgery. He is the author of the Watervalley novels, including More Things in Heaven and Earth and Each Shining Hour.

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