Book Talk: Shadows of the Past by O. L. Brown
Shadows of the Past is a heartwarming story of redemption and new love.
The lie is a necessity. Randell Cordell knows Blackberry, Minnesota, is a small town where everyone knows everybody. He knows the townspeople still remember what he did some twenty years ago. The town won’t be welcoming or forgiving. Randell is sure of that. In fact, he wonders if he will ever learn to forgive his sordid past. Years in prison and a short stint in the Battle of the Bulge did not give him the atonement he is now looking for. If anything, the years had punished him beyond reason, leaving nothing but the shadow of his past. Yes, he must make amends here in Blackberry. If he so much as hope for a future—any future—he must put his past to rest.
Randell was a handsome man in this twenties, happily married to his beautiful young bride, Louise. Louise spent her day teaching at the only school in town while her nights were devoted to her passion for writing. Randell, on the other hand, had a thriving cabinet shop patronized by the wealthy folks of Grand Rapids. In short, life was ideal, especially in the small cabin they rented south of the town.
Then Randell met Stella Cunningham. It was customary for Randell to stop for a couple of cold ones after work. On one such stop, there was Stella, a temptress waiting for a willing victim, and Randell was more than willing to give in to her devices. Stella was delicious. Randell could not pry himself away from the illicit affair that ensued.
To make matters worse, Louise had taken ill due to tuberculosis, but that did not move Randell to compassion. Instead, he chose to run away with the loose woman and leave his dying wife alone. The town never forgot or forgave what was done to Louise. She died alone in their small rented cabin. She died of a broken heart, her tuberculosis the official antecedent on paper.
Randell did not find the days with Stella as glorious as their first few. On the contrary, Randell ended up in a Wisconsin state prison after a bank robbery job gone awry. He was released because of good behavior and because he had volunteered to go to war in Belgium. He was discharged months ago, with nothing but a permanent stoop from years of breaking rocks in prison, a limp from a blast in Belgium, and a gnawing conscience drawing him back to Blackberry.
Now he goes around town incognito, visiting the cabin he shared with Louise and the cabinet shop he used to own. He knows he can’t undo the pain he caused his wife or change the opinion of others about him, but he is a man on a mission now—to give penance and find peace. Destiny, however, comes after him again, and he meets an orphaned little girl, his chance at the reconciliation and love he so desperately needs in his life.
Reviewed by Amy Alcott
Disclosure: This article is a personal endorsement of the professional reviewer. The BookWalker is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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O. L. Brown is retired from a career in the oil and gas exploration industry. He lives with his wife, JoAnn, in Mesa, Arizona during the winter, and in Highlands Ranch, Colorado during the summer months. He refers to his novels as “Happy Books.” They are written with a mild Christian theme to leave the reader pondering the vagaries of life and feeling happy and satisfied.