Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Splendor of Ordinary Days by Jeff High, with a giveaway

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, Tenneesse, 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 review:
   I try to be as honest as I can with book reviews, also while trying to be as kind as I can. This book review will have two parts: the good, and the bad.

  The good:
    Even though the review opportunity said you didn't have to read the first two books in the series before reading this third book, I found the first two on Amazon for a decent price and read them both before I read this one, so this is going to be somewhat of a review of all three books.

  I really enjoyed this series. The author has come up with a great and likable character in the 30-year old single doctor on his first practice taking over a clinic in a small town. The books are written in first person point of view, which isn't my favorite, but some authors can pull it off better than others, and this author pulls it off very well.

  The setting for the series sounds like a town anyone would want to live in who doesn't like the city. It is small, picturesque, and is full of all kinds of unique and colorful characters. Jeff High, the author, has a great talent for going from humor to a more thoughtful tone in just a few sentences. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasion while reading all three books. The dialogue between Luke and his imposing and stern housekeeper is pure gold and I found myself wishing there was even more.

  Romance plays a part in the series, but I wouldn't call the books romance novels. The third book does focus more on the romance of Luke and his girlfriend, but it isn't the main focus of the books.

  I honestly can't remember when I was more entertained by a series of books that were not suspense than this series. I read through all three of them in pretty much one sitting per book, and couldn't wait to read the next one.

The bad:
  The publicity group that offered this book for review didn't realize this book was general market and not Christian fiction. I discovered that in the first book, but it was such an enjoyable read, I decided to read all three. But here are my problems with the series:

1) Language. There is a lot of bad language in the book. None of the worst words, i.e. the "f-word", but several others. Even if I minded bad language in a book, I would still have felt it was out of place for this type of series, and feel it detracts from the rhythm of the story.

2) Alcohol. There was a lot of drinking in the book... even with pizza. I am one of those people who still believe everyone is better off not drinking, and especially Christians, and it was mostly Christians drinking all the time, which bothered me.

3) Sexual content. There was no actual sex, but the main character and his girlfriend talked about it rather freely and almost gave in a few times, even though they were both Christians..... and that fact never came up as a reason not to do it.

   My advice to the author would be to clean these books up a bit - take out the language, alcohol, and most of the sex talk, and publish them on the Christian market. I think they'd do remarkably well. Several of the characters in the book are Christians, and there is a lot of Christian discussion between the characters, so it wouldn't take much.

  As for me, even though I read 99.99% Christian fiction of the fiction I read, I like these books well enough to keep reading how many ever books there are in the series. They really are that good that I am willing to overlook the objectionable content.

  These books are compared to Jan Karon's books. I read a few of hers and wasn't that impressed. If you can handle some language and the other issues I mentioned, I would highly recommend this series over her books.

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.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.

  When several military veterans’ emotional wounds trigger anger and unrest in Watervalley, Dr. Luke Bradford learns some important lessons in service, courage, love, and sacrifice in The Splendor of Ordinary Days by Jeff High. As Luke struggles to understand Vietnam War veteran Luther’s past, and restore harmony in Watervalley, an unforeseen crisis shatters a relationship he values dearly.

Join Jeff in celebrating the release of The Splendor of Ordinary Days with a Kindle Fire HD 6 giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • Signed copies of all three Watervalley books
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 27th. The winner will be announced October 28th on Jeff's blog.