Review of The House Guest

5star-shiny-webWhen Maggie Anderson Davis inherited the Victorian home where she grew up, it was with the anticipation of continuing the family legacy of mingling the familiar with the unexpected. Small town Tilden, Nebraska, becomes ever smaller at Maggie’s kitchen table where stories grow, memories are rehashed, and gossip fuels minds. With a neighbor like Lee, the opinionated and brassy outspoken voice of reason, there is always lively fodder for conversation. From homespun advice to openly chastising the traveling salesman famous for reneging on his room and board when he appears on his sporadic visits to Maggie’s bed and breakfast, Lee offers comic relief in this beautifully written tale. Though Maggie is the rightful owner of her home and business,  William Bouchard is determined to acquire sole ownership of the family home. In her fight to maintain the dignity and history of the property, Maggie is thrown into a battle of wills and the reality of greed.

Some people obviously do not understand the importance of tradition and customs. Unfortunately those people are often family. Deborah Norris has created a lovely tale of family and community in her novel The House Guest: Persuasions, Perspectives & Prejudices. This story is a reflection of old time grace and nostalgia. I enjoyed the author’s voice and colorful connections with the many visitors who came the way of Maggie’s table. The House Guest is the perfect novel to compliment a hot cup of tea on a rainy day. I loved this novel. ~ Reviewed By Lisa McCombs for Readers’ Favorite

Tell Me a Story

Fairy Palace against sunset sky / Panorama of Pena National Pal

Imagination opens the door to a world we never knew existed. ~ Deborah L. Norris

My mother loved to read, and I was often the happy recipient of her uncanny ability to bring a story to life. I would sit comfortably on her lap or plopped cross-legged on the floor in front of her chair to be whisked away to a faraway magical land.

The Velveteen Rabbit. I was completely engrossed in every word of Margery Williams’ delightful tale, allowing my young mind to imagine the well-worn little rabbit snuggling with the boy or his deep conversations with the Skin Horse. “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” Of course, this one quote opened up an entire world of fantasy for me. If this were true, then my entire stuffed animal and doll collections had the potential to become real also. It was a life-changing concept for an imaginative seven-year-old.

And then there was The Ugly Ducking by Hans Christian Andersen. Tears would quickly well in my eyes when my mother read of how the little duckling was ostracized by his siblings and other farm animals simply because he was different. The redeeming finale of ugly duckling transformed into beautiful swan never failed to bring a round of cheers.

Of course, Cinderella was my hero, both while she was a mistreated young step sister and later when she became a lovely princess. I knew that all things were possible when one simply believed, because Cinderella said so. Besides, she had Gus the mouse to substantiate her claims.

There was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and a score of other classics never to be forgotten and first introduced to me by my mother.

Now we fast forward to over fifty years and the same scene between mother and daughter is played out. But, this time the roles have reversed. My mother’s eyesight has diminished to such a degree that she is no longer able to read. At this season in her life, it’s my joy to read to her. She too hangs on every word, smiling as a magical story unfolds. I’m still reaping a blessed return on her incredible investment. The beautiful circle of life ~ it continues on.