Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In the Land of Second Chances

Wilma Porter owns The Come Again Bed and Breakfast in Ebb, Nebraska, and there is little that happens in that small town that she's not privy to, but when traveling salesman Vernon L. Moore rents a room from her and tells he that he sells “hope” and “games of chance,” she is one of many who will roll her eyes and scoff at his optimism.

In the Land of Second Chances by George Shaffner is a sweet, little novel, and once bitten by its humor and quirky, yet realistic characters, it would be very difficult not to follow to its end.

Ebb, Nebraska, sports the usual suspects who need something to change in their lives, and Vernon Moore seems the man to sell them that change. Even though the handsome Moore flirts with the town’s unusual amount of divorcees, he gives the most time to those suffering in some type of life crisis. He patiently listens to their stories of hardship and despair and somehow asks them just the right kind of questions to help them consider options that would alter the direction in which their lives are headed. Among these hopeless are the father of a dying child and a widow, whose failed attempt at a long happy marriage causes her to become reclusive.

What is Moore really selling? Will anyone buy it? Is Moore of this world?

With clever little chapter titles like The Last Paradox, Empathy for God, or The Last Oasis of Nice, Shaffner keeps the pages turning in this modern fable of forgiveness, redemption, and hope.

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