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.
After growing up in rural Tennessee, Jeff High attained degrees in literature and nursing. He is a three time winner, in poetry and fiction, 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 cardiac surgery.
The Splendor of Ordinary Days is reminiscent of Jan Karon’s Mitford series with its rural Tennessee setting and slightly quirky characters. Yet this third book in the Watervalley series has a bit of an edge to it — characters face complex challenges and troubles. Told through the first person voice of outsider and town doctor, Luke Bradford, Jeff High’s novel is a good pick for those looking for a small town getaway with heart.
Luke Bradford has settled into his role as the only doctor in the rural community of Watervalley. Although his dreams of becoming a researcher have been put on the back burner, his relationships with townspeople and his girlfriend have become an important part of his life. Old and new friends have come to make Watervalley feel like home.
Small town life is at the center of The Splendor of Ordinary Days. Although part of a series, I found this novel easy to get into. Life is real in Watervalley and many of its citizens struggle with past hurts and resentments. Characters deal with PTSD, alcoholism, and infertility. I particularly liked that the author built much of the story around the challenges of our nation’s veterans — past and present. For those who choose only books from the Christian genre, this book may not be for you. There is mild profanity throughout and no central spiritual message. But if you are looking for a well-written novel dealing with the realities of life in a small town setting, check this one out.
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(Thanks to the author and LitFuse for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)