Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Splendor of Ordinary Days by Jeff High (Contemporary Christian fiction)

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 thoughts: Jeff High’s gentle, witty exposure of life in a Southern small town was a pleasure to read. His wordsmithing skills were particularly entertaining and a delight to read. I love his ability to “turn a well-turned phrase.” He makes you fall in love with each of the story’s characters – even the old curmongerly newspaper man.

The gentle life in Watervalley is disrupted by a bit of tension and some violence. Violence that is toned down by Dr. Luke Bradford’s splendid interference. Dr. Luke is the town’s only doctor and he has grown to love the townspeople in all their flawed glory. He especially has grown to love the beautiful Christine Chambers. Their romance is punctuated by their passion and desire which they manage to control.

Relationships with a neighboring Old Order Mennonite community are strained and the source of this tension goes back a few decades. Again, Dr. Luke manages to root around finding the source and the solution.

The title "The Splendor of Ordinary Days" is especially appropriate and the book gives the reader glimpses into these splendid ordinary days. This is a good picture of Southern life and I was very much encouraged that the characters were not portrayed as uneducated social misfits. I enjoyed it.

 Meet 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
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author and publisher to facilitate  this review. Opinions are my own, alone. I was not compensated for this review.


  1. I saw your link on Tina's Booknificent Thursdays. It sounds like a wonderful story and I enjoyed reading about the author. It's obvious that his own life experiences inspired the setting and characters. Take care! Tina from Amanda's Books and More

  2. This book sounds like something I would love as I adored Jan Karon's Mitford series. I'll definitely be checking it out! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!


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