I want to welcome Jan Sikes to Fiction Favorites. She has a new book and is here to describe it to you. Jan and I have been friends for a long time and also are colleagues on Story Empire so it is a pleasure to have her here today. Also, I have read this book and found it to be a delightfully heartwarming story that is perfect for the holidays. Jan is a very talented author so without any delay here is Jan to tell us about Mountain Laurel Christmas.
A child who is born ‘different’ faces many challenges. My story is set in the 1960s and ‘70s and during that time, differences were not celebrated as they are currently.
My character’s little brother, Timmy, was born that way. His brain never developed normally.
Here’s an excerpt:
Timmy had been born different. They said his brain never developed the way it should. He’d sit for hours, fascinated with the dust that danced on the sunbeams through the windows, lost in his own little world. Oh, how Papa doted on him. From the time Timmy could wrap his fingers around the neck of a fiddle, he’d spent hours patiently teaching him to play.
Timmy developed an uncanny talent, which is often the case. But in the Cumberland Mountains in the 60s, local authorities decided Timmy needed to be placed in an institution that could provide for his special needs.
Here’s an excerpt from my character’s POV:
Not long after we lost Papa, the local welfare lady came. I hid under the porch and listened.
“Mrs. Anderson, we’re sorry for the loss of your husband, but it has come to our attention that your young son, Timmy, may need to be placed in an institution where he can get the specialized help he needs.”
The welfare lady droned on and on.
From my hiding place, I didn’t need to see Mama’s face to know she gave the lady a blank stare. That’s all she’d managed to give any of us for months.
By the time the welfare lady had driven her ’49 Ford down the dirt road that had brought her to our shack, I knew she’d be back to get Timmy. I crawled out from under the porch and kicked at the dust that settled under my feet.
A pivotal point in this story focuses on Timmy and I don’t want to leave any spoilers. so I’ll stop here.
The movie, “Rainman” comes to mind. Another movie was “Mercury Rising” where an autistic little boy could decipher complicated computer code in his head in an instant.
Can you think of any other instances where the uncanny abilities of a mentally challenged person is spotlighted?
Mountain Laurel Christmas Blurb:
Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.
Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.
It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.
It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?
My Five Star Review
This novella is perfect for the Christmas season. It has all the elements that come together to give the reader a heart-warming experience. Cole Kight is a big country music star who came from humble beginnings. His dad died in the mine, and his mother was too broken-hearted to take care of the family. Cole always felt he should have been able to prevent the eventual break-up of the family. But, now alone, he can’t fill the void in his heart that the guilt of letting his family down has created. The authorities take his brother and sister away, and he doesn’t know where they are. If that isn’t enough to make a reader wonder if the story has a happy ending? I don’t know what it is.
More story courts spoilers, so let me leave it at this. This book will bring a smile to your face and make you glad you read it. Jan Sikes is a very talented writer, and this is one of her best short stories.
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