The kitchen table. In my family, it was here that important discussions had their genesis. Opinions were readily expressed on religion, politics, family values, money matters, raising children, taking care of the elderly, education, social responsibility and death. Typically, the children listened, and the adults talked. That said, at a very young age I had a clear idea of the persuasions, perspectives and prejudices of those who sat around the kitchen table with their cups of strong, black coffee. Occasionally, discussions were heated, and tempers flared. For emphasis, there was an occasional smack of the hand on the table top. But, at the end of the day these same strongly opinionated kinfolk showed their unending love and respect for each other with hugs, kisses and goodbyes – until the next spirited visit took place.
About The House Guest, Tony Parsons writes: “A very well-written historical fiction novel. It was very easy for me to read/follow from start to finish with never a dull moment. There were lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns and a great set of unique characters to keep track of. This would also make another great historical family fiction movie, or mini TV series. A very easy rating of 5 stars.”
REVIEW OF THE HOUSE GUEST
The House Guest by Deborah Norris is a relaxing novel with Maggie Davis as the protagonist; owner of a grand Victorian Manor turned to a bed and breakfast. Her daughter Jenna and her outspoken neighbour Lee are her two lifelines which keep her moving; along with a few newcomers who frequent this manor bringing with them tales of their own.
The quaint Tilden town, the conversations and discussions of the house guests around the kitchen table, and the screen door shutting at the back porch of Maggie’s home and the kitchen door swinging open; perfectly reflects old time grace. The story connects the readers to the importance of culture and to value family ties.
The author’s colorful writing style reflects actual events which occur in our lives someday or the other, engaging me till the end and I would highly recommend this book to all who enjoy nostalgia with a tint of humor and a bit of mystery as well. ~ Pervin Bharucha, Amazon Reviewer
Where have all the days gone? My babies grew up, and my parents grew old. Seasons have come and gone many times over, like a spinning carousel. Everything seems as though it occurred just yesterday, but the mirror tells me otherwise. ~ Deborah L. Norris
The old house was nothing at all like what she had described to me through the years. From her vivid recollections, I saw in my mind a lovely, well-kept home with spacious rooms and beautiful furnishings. According to her, it was a glorious place that remained alive with the laughter of children and happy conversation around the kitchen table. Now I stood in the doorway of this dilapidated structure, and found it all but difficult to disguise my shock. She walked slowly into the rundown keeper of her childhood memories, and raised her head as if to draw in the yesteryear aroma of homemade bread cooling on the kitchen counter. She smiled with utter delight, her hands clasped tightly to her chest. It was in this moment I realized she had described precisely what she would always remember. ~ Deborah L. Norris
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SAMPLE EXCERPT FROM THE HOUSE GUEST: The gold Lincoln Continental traveled slowly down the snow-covered lane and onto the main road leading toward the school. Jenna sat in the front seat between Noah and Maggie, dressed in her sheep costume and rehearsing her play lines under her breath.
“No need to be nervous, Miss Jenna.” Noah knew instinctively that she was uneasy about the upcoming performance. “From what I’ve heard, sheep have very good memories,” he said, reassuringly. She glanced up at him and smiled, black felt nose firmly in place.
Maggie placed her hand on Jenna’s. “You’ll do just fine, sweetheart.”
Anna echoed encouragement from the backseat. “Above all, relax and have a good time, dear.”
“I’m just wondering if they’re providing refreshments for those of us who will be subjected to sitting through a two-hour program.” Lee gazed out the side window, already restless.
Within a few minutes, they were parked in front of Tilden Public School and making their way into the building to locate seating in the large auditorium. Once everyone was finally seated, the sixth-grade band began playing a slightly familiar Christmas carol while the other students quickly assembled on risers for the performance. Jenna anxiously scanned the audience, and then waved shyly when she spotted her family. Following suit, Lee waved while simultaneously leaning in Anna’s direction to whisper, “Lord have mercy, that sounds nothing like Joy to the World!”
During a rousing rendition of Jingle Bells, Lee began shifting back and forth in her seat. She leaned again to whisper to Anna, “These chairs are terribly uncomfortable.” Shifting to the side once more, she added, “Besides, a person shouldn’t be expected to endure much more than about ten minutes of a program involving children.”
“Lee, try to stay focused for heaven’s sake,” Anna whispered, annoyed that Lee was such a distraction. “You’re worse than a fidgety child.”
The final song couldn’t have come any sooner as far as Lee was concerned. O Holy Night was performed by the combined grades and received a standing ovation. As soon as the program was over, and the crowd officially dismissed by Mr. Donovan, Lee marched directly for the refreshment table with the hope of soothing her irritation – and her weary behind. The long line that had already assembled didn’t deter her – she cut in, snatched two coconut macaroons from a plate, and turned to find Anna. “Pray till, there was a child in the choir that couldn’t carry a tune in a blessed bucket!” She tried, albeit a lame attempt, to keep her voice down. “Why is it that the ones who can’t sing are always placed right smack dab in front of a microphone, for crying out loud?”
“It was a wonderful program, Lee. They all performed well, and Jenna didn’t miss a beat.” Anna was determined to be the positive voice between the two, as they made their way out the front door and to the parking lot.
“Lord have mercy, it was an assault on the ears,” she complained. “Again, it’s why children should be seen and not heard.” She sighed loudly. “I don’t drink, but if I did…” Lee trailed off, still shaking her head as they walked toward the car to join the others.