Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chesapeake Weddings by Cecelia Dowdy

Chesapeake Weddings contains three novellas under one cover. Written by Cecelia Dowdy, there are three stories within the pages:

1. John's Quest, the endearing tale of Monica Crawford, who becomes the guardian of her sister's blind son, Scotty, when the mother abandons him unexpectedly. The heartaches and concerns Monica feels for the child are tender and empathic, and are only enhanced when John French arrives on the scene to tutor Scotty, who is woefully behind in academics due to his biological mother's neglect. Monica can't quite decide whether or not to trust John French, but as they learn to know one another, her fears are put aside and she allows herself to fall in love. Does he learn to love her back? Well, I'm not going to spoil the story for you here. But, do read it.

2. Milk Money begins when Emily Cooper meets Franklin Reese. She is elbow-deep in the birthing process of one of her favorite cows. Not recognizing Frank as the accountant sent to audit the farm's books, she puts him straight to work helping her with the complicated birth. What ensues is a down-home romance that will kindle warm hope in any reader's heart. Complicated sub-plots regarding Emily's step-mother and two step-sisters only adds drama to the measure, so it's sure to be a story you won't soon forget.

3. Bittersweet Memories are all that Karen Brown has left. Karen, a character first introduced in John's Quest, returns home to live with her mother because her fiancee has disappeared, along with his "other" girl friend and a small fortune stolen from the church's treasury. She arrives at her mom's heart-broken and distrustful of men in general. Instead of her mother, Karen finds Keith Baxter, her mother's next-door-neighbor, working on the kitchen plumbing. Karen is a little snappy with him, but soon apologizes and a friendship ensues. But, can the friendship ever become romantic when Keith has sworn off marriage and is still unhappy with his brother? And, Karen doesn't know how to trust another man in her life, especially one whom her mother has apparently told "everything", leaving Karen with very little to share with him in the way of conversation. This story has its own twists and turns, but the reader will be surprised and pleased at the outcome.

All three novellas are Christian-oriented and, while not being preachy, they present a way of living that coincides with Bible-centered study. Cecelia Dowdy has woven into her characters their flaws and failings, then allows them to lift themselves out of the rubble and begin anew along a Christ-like path. At the conclusion of Chesapeake Weddings, the reader is asked to choose a favorite between the three novellas, and mine is Bittersweet Memories, though it was difficult to decide. I like the obstacles both main characters overcame in the story and I liked the family dynamics, as well.