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.
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
When 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