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Short Story Collection Review   



Mossy Creek
by Deborah Smith, Sandra Chastain,
Donna Ball, Debra Dixon, Nancy Knight,
and Virginia Ellis
BelleBooks, 2001
ISBN: 0-9673035-1-6


Mossy Creek is the first book of the Mossy Creek series by the six authors and partners in BelleBooks, Inc.   Set in a small north Georgia town filled with eccentrics with tales of heartbreak and renewal, Mossy Creek wraps the reader into a cozy quilt.  The novel works where other of this format fail by harmony of storytelling in six voices – Deborah Smith, Sandra Chastain, Donna Ball, Debra Dixon, Nancy Knight and Virginia Ellis.  As the reader moves from one story to the next, there is no jarring of change in voice, but more like a gentle nudge as each Mossy Creek citizen comes to the mic to tell their story.

The continuity on the novel is held together in the form of letters from Mossy Creek Gazette columnist Katie Bell to a local descendant Lady Victoria Salter in England.  The Salter women always fall in love with Bigelow men, and their only choice is to run away or suffer a marriage tested by the community. 

“Ida Shoots the Sign.”  Mossy Creek Mayor Ida Hamilton Walker takes her role as protector of the town motto to heart.  Her nephew Governor Ham Bigelow wants to change the motto from “Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere and Don’t What to” to “The Town that is Going Somewhere, and Does Want to.”  Ida is arrested for shooting the state green signs, but the trouble really begins when she joins the Foo Club.  

“A Day in the Life,” is a whirlwind introduction to many of the Mossy Creek citizens through the morning of Sandy Crane as she heads to her job interview at the police department.  Sandy stops a substitute home health care worker from snooping around Miss Lorna’s house.  Miss Lorna is fine as she greets them with her loaded shotgun.  Sandy’s hairdresser Rainey decides that Sandy must have a new do for her interview and starts the dyeing process.  A commotion in the square leads everyone out to find Ingrid’s Chihuahua Bob being captured by a hawk.  The chase is on, as Sandy remembers she still has Miss Lorna’s shotgun.  Sandy saves the dog, but not her hair.

“Casey at the Bat,” is the tender and humorous story of Casey Champion Blackshear.  Casey saw stars so to speak when she ran into Hank Blackshear.  Her infatuation bloomed into love.  Her goal as an Olympic soccer player was cut short by an accident on her wedding day.  Hank with the help of spunky girls and a miniature horse, manage to get Casey back at home plate.

“The Hope Chest.”  Maggie Hart owns Moonheart’s Natural Living, a new age fragrance shop with candles, soaps, teas, and such.  Her mother is the local kleptomaniac, taking glass slippers, a tiara, and a wedding dress.  Maggie is ready to settle for marriage with a forest ranger, but a former pro football player and now a long-haired artist has caught her heart.  Maggie’s mother is pushing them together as she puts together the items for her unique hope chest.

“The Ugly Tree.”  Stories of love in the December years are rare and true treasures of undying love.  Ellie Brady is in the nursing home and each morning her husband Ed drives in to share breakfast with her.  But Ed has cataracts and the police chief takes his driver’s license away.  The community comes together to make sure Ed makes his daily visits and that their Santa Claus will make his annual visit.  But an accident with the governor’s car as Ed drives a John Deere tractor into town put a twist in the plan. 

This is just a sampling of the stories.  “I hope to shout,” for more from Mossy Creek. 


Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

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