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   Short Story Collection Review   


From the Heart: Stories of Love and Friendship
Compiled by Kendall Bell
Coastal Villages Press, 2003
Trade paper, $14.95 (186 pages)
ISBN:  1-882943-15-5
  After September 11, 2001, Beaufort Gazette (South Carolina) editor Kendall Bell was trying to come to terms with the terrorists attacks and look for examples of love and kindness in mankind. He came up with the idea to collect love stories for an anthology. However, as stories started coming in, “love” took on many meanings — husband and wife, parent and child, friends, and pets.

By the time Bell selected the fifty-one stories that make up From the Heart: Stories of Love and Friendship, he had created a book that inspires goodwill and loving memories. The authors are from across the United States and international.  Another element that makes this book stand apart is that the collection is truly personal essays and in many cases you can see how the event/person directed their life path through their author biographies.

"A Good, Big Dog" was originally a post on the Southern Porch List here at Southern Scribe.  Jill Holland, who designed the Southern Scribe logo, was sharing the recent loss of her companion and pet golden retriever -- Pirate.  The depth of grief and joy caused the group to encourage her to publish the story.  Kendall Bell, another member of the group, requested the story. The final version is one that touches all pet lovers who realized that our animal companions are combination children and dear friends.

True crime author Jaclyn Weldon White shares the death of her daughter Caroline in "The Last Gift."  Her young daughter died of an unknown heart condition two weeks before her wedding.  The special gift she left behind was in the form of her kitten Tigger.  The antics of the lively kitten reminded White of her vibrate daughter and helped the healing process.

Other stories deal with how a person inspired or helped them become loving and confident adults.  In "Love Story," Vivian Babb Johnson shares how her loving in-laws helped a young wife from a strict family and with an absent husband in the military, become a daughter in the true sense sharing laughter, creating memories and learning how to create a home for her husband that would bring a lifetime of happiness.

From the Heart: Stories of Love and Friendship is already in its second printing, and stories are being collected for the next edition.  For submission guidelines go to .


Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews


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