by Anita Mae Draper
Ozark Weddings by Anita Higman & Janice Thompson (Barbour Publishing 2010) contains 3 stories set in the Ozark Mountains.
Everett Holden is a loner and he likes it that way. An accountant who works out of his home, he has no time for friends or leisure. Imagine his shock when he realizes his new house comes with an eccentric extrovert neighbor with a delinquent duck.
Locally famous children’s book illustrator, Larkspur Wendell, loves life. When she sees a lonely introvert move in next door, she takes it upon herself to ensure he experiences life to the fullest . . . whether he wants to or not.
The Love Song
After an emotionally painful childhood, Clair O’Neal feels like she’s invisible to the rest of the world. Quiet and unassuming, she hides away in a bookstore with her only friend, the senior lady who owns the store. Then one special night, as she attends a party on behalf of her boss, Clair catches the eye of not one, but two attractive men.
Ever since musician Hudson Mandel first laid eyes on Clair, she’s been on his mind. She even inspired him to create a song just for her. But, he needs to get his personal life in order before he can actively pursue Clair. While he’ doing that, he sees her spending time with image consultant Glenn Yves and it seems to be more than just a professional relationship.
Castles in the Air
Nori Kelly is thirty years old and wants to get married and start a family. She needs a beau for her plan to succeed, but there doesn’t seem to be one in her vicinity. Can a book on how to catch a ‘dreamboat’ really be the answer to her prayers?
Zachary Martin is the epitome of a geek, right down to the thick glasses, white socks and brilliant mind. A successful geophysicist, he has all the money he needs. What he wants, though, is for the woman-next-door to look at him with the same love he feels for her. Fat chance that will happen when she can’t seem to abide his presence. But what will she do if he loses the ‘geek’ image and presents himself as just a friend?
This book is a fun read with quirky characters. The authors have chosen completely different and complex characters to lead the stories and it seems they’ll never scale the high wall which divides them.
Can people really change? If they do, can you trust that the change was what they wanted, or merely a reflection of what someone wanted for them? These questions came to mind as I read these stories, because each of these characters change in a profound way.
May I tell you my favorite of the 3 tales? At first it was the first story, then the second, but while reading the third, I decided that yes, that was my ultimate favorite. You see, I saw a bit of me in each of the heroines and yet my faith journey paralleled Nori’s in the final story. She shows a child-like faith to follow God and yet when tragedy almost unrails her dreams, she realizes she hasn’t been following God’s chosen path at all. And then she must face her fear . . . are her dreams what God has planned for her life?
If you get a chance, read this book. At the very least, you'll enjoy the colorful characters. And at the most, you might see how your life can change for the better.