Shelf Media hosts the annual Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition for best self-published or independently published book. In addition to prizes, the winner, finalists, long-listed, and more than 100 notable books from the competition are featured in the December/January issue of Shelf Unbound.
Glen Kinsella has just finished opening all his high school graduation cards proclaiming him to be on the doorstep of an exciting life. But as the summer of 1970 begins, Glen is living with his deluded grandfather and an array of desperate residents in a Midwestern prairie town that has withered to near-extinction – a town populated primarily by the sagging shells of long-abandoned houses. Hope is not one of Glen’s traits. In high school, he was known as the retard’s brother. He never had a date, nor even tried to be on speaking terms with someone as sophisticated as Suzanne. But as his grandfather always said, anything is possible in Corcoran. And in the summer of 1970, that prediction appears to be finally coming true. After decades of planning the revival of his beloved town, Glen’s grandfather convinces a group of women whose husbands have been sent to Vietnam to live in Corcoran. Soon they begin renovating an old ballroom, where Suzanne will perform for the grand opening. But all this new life is threatened when a disgraced war vet arrives, harboring a secret about one of the husbands that will thrust the town into the center of political controversy.
About The Author: Patrick M Garry
Patrick Garry is a law professor with a Ph.D. in Constitutional History. He has written fifteen scholarly and popular audience books in the areas of law, history, politics and religion. Those books have received numerous awards and have been featured in hundreds of media interviews, academic conferences, and book reviews. His general audience books alone have been the subject of dozens of radio and television news programs.
In addition to his works of nonfiction, he has also published eight highly acclaimed books of fiction. Garry’s novels have not only been reviewed by hundreds of professional book reviewers, but they have also received more than 75 different literary awards.
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“It always takes you awhile to warm up, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, warm up to being serious with me.”
She smiled, and I laughed. And over the back of the pew she crossed her arms and rested her head upon them.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that God might be contagious,” she said, still smiling.
“You mean being in here?”
“No, I mean belief. Belief can be contagious. Once you start believing, even it it’s in something small, you learn how to believe – and then you can believe in the really big things.”
“So faith is a paint-by-the-numbers deal? I always thought it was a matter of revelation.”
“Right, the bolt of lightning scenario. And maybe that’s what it is. All I can say is what I’ve been feeling. You know, there’s nothing but belief around this place – Ardelle believing in Interlachen, Julia and Lillie believing their husbands will come home, your grandfather…well, on and on I could go. But it makes me want to believe. And not just in that creaky old building.”
“Doesn’t everyone want to believe, in something?”
“I don’t know,” she chuckled. “Sometimes I think the world is too strangled by doubt to even want to believe. I mean, my parents – they’re too consumed with their shallow notions of freedom to even believe in love. And my sister – she’s too addicted to rebellion. You say the world wants to believe? I don’t think so.”
“Suzanne, I wouldn’t take this place all that seriously. Granted, there’s a lot of belief here, but I think it might be just a substitute for reality.”
“This almost scares me to say, but I really think Ardelle believes in me. And I think your grandfather does too, although you’d know better than me. I’ve never felt anyone believing in me before.”
The way she spoke, with her lips uttering the words that brought a slight glistening to her eyes, made me want to rush out an exclamation that I too believed in her, even if I wasn’t completely sure that I did.
Article originally Published in the December/January 2020 Issue “2019 Indie Best Award Winners”