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Ordinary Springs

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Overview

Lenore Hart's debut novel Waterwoman perfectly captures the shimmering dimensions of relationships-among families and between lovers. Now, Hart moves into different territory-into the heart of a girl just old enough to turn her life upside down...

In Ordinary Springs, Florida, everything changes for Dory Gamble the summer the strangers moved in next door-the man thin and sick, dependent on his beautiful, city-sophisticate wife. Dory sees the ...
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Overview

Lenore Hart's debut novel Waterwoman perfectly captures the shimmering dimensions of relationships-among families and between lovers. Now, Hart moves into different territory-into the heart of a girl just old enough to turn her life upside down...

In Ordinary Springs, Florida, everything changes for Dory Gamble the summer the strangers moved in next door-the man thin and sick, dependent on his beautiful, city-sophisticate wife. Dory sees the way her father looks at the new neighbor-and she feels rage hot as the sidewalks at noon. She's been through one betrayal, when her mother left them both behind and hit the road. She's not about to sit around waiting for another one.

Author Biography: Lenore Hart was chosen as one of the five most promising writers in the country for 2002 by Poets and Writers magazine.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dory Gamble's mother disappeared when Dory was just two, leaving Dory and her father in tiny Ordinary Springs, Fla., where lovelorn town ladies circled like buzzards, but the abandoned twosome counted only on each other. Hart (Waterwoman) spins a homespun tale in fine Southern soap opera tradition, as Dory grows up and goes a little wild in the 1950s. The trouble starts when sultry Myra Fitzgerald and her invalid war hero husband, Frank, move in next door. One night, as Myra and Dory's father explore their feelings for each other in the next room, Dory finds herself an accidental accomplice in Frank's suicide. Haunted by guilt and alienated from her father, Dory submits to the advances of a childhood friend the night she turns 16. Her plan is to skip town with money she stole from her dad's hardware store, but she winds up back at home, with the authorities fingering her for Frank's death. It's reform school time-until Dory escapes and winds up at a roadside diner and reptile farm where she works as a waitress, lives in a tepee and gives birth to a daughter. More surprises are still to come-including one about her mother. Gritty, fierce and a little over the top plotwise, Hart's novel is a fine vintage portrait of a tough girl whom life teaches to be tougher. (Jan. 4) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Teenager grows up fast in small Florida town-and then the plot really takes off in Hart's second outing (after Waterwoman, 2002). In expressive prose that avoids "southern fiction" preciousness, Hart brings us Dory Camber, daughter of Owen, hardware-store owner in sleepy Ordinary Springs. Dory's earliest memories are fraught with questions. Where did her mother, Vera, disappear with that suitcase after telling toddler Dory a bedtime story? Why did her father bury her mother's clothes? Why are her parents' former best friends, the McMillans, now standoffish? Why is her father so distant? Dory works as her father's housekeeper and helper at the store, and she assumes she's first in his secretive heart-until the Yankee city-slicker Fitzgeralds move in across the street. Dory realizes with horror that her father, oblivious to the blandishments of every other female in town, is falling hard for the Capri-clad, spike-heeled, Dali-loving Myra Fitzgerald, whose WWII vet husband, Frank, is bedridden. While Owen and Myra are otherwise occupied in another room, Dory unwittingly becomes an accessory to Frank's suicide. And then, when her father announces that he's to marry Myra, Dory loses her already tenuous grip on self-restraint and, the night of her 16th birthday, has an assignation with childhood friend Pearce McMillan under a carnival truck, empties the cash register at Owen's store, and tries to run away, only to be apprehended by the sheriff, who has zeroed in on her role in Frank's death. From there, it's on to reform school, escape (her expertise with hardware serves Dory well), a stint at a roadside diner and tourist trap, the birth of daughter Rose, an affair with a half-Seminole 'gatortrapper, and a newfound determination to return to Ordinary Springs for a vigorous spring-cleaning of her father's house and its resident demons. Unerring eye for 1950s detail lifts this soap-operatic story above the ordinary, even if the plot springs are a bit too visible.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786276615
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 6/13/2005
  • Series: Thorndike Core Ser.
  • Edition description: LARGEPRINT
  • Pages: 517
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lenore Hart was chosen as one of the five most promising writers in the country for 2002 by Poets and Writers magazine.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    delightful coming of age 1950s tale

    In Ordinary Springs, Florida, sixteen years old Dory Camber has lived with her father Owen, owner of a hardware store ever since her mother Vera deserted the two of them when she was an infant. Dory ponders that Vera vanished after reading a bedtime story to her. She questions to herself why her dad buried her mother's clothing and what happened between her parents and their neighbors, who are barely civil?--- Though her father shows no affection, Dory believes that he exclusively loves her since she has noticed how he ignores the overtures of the town female population. However, her belief that she is numero uno dies when the Yankee invaders move in next door. While Frank Fitzgerald is a bedridden veteran, his wife Myra and Owen make love in another room. Frank commits suicide with Dory¿s unintentional assistance. Not long afterward Owen and Myra agree to marry. Distraught and betrayed, Dory makes love with her childhood pal, steals cash from her dad¿s store, but, the sheriff arrests her for her assisted suicide role. Reform school is next for the pregnant sixteen years old.--- Though soap opera in theme ORDINARY SPRINGS is a delightful coming of age 1950s tale that brings across 1950s Florida. The story line stars a teenager whose grip on reality is weak, but further torn asunder when her dad turns to Myra. The support cast to include her first lover, her father, the neighbors, and her missing mother help the audience understand the demons that eat at a beleaguered Dory¿s soul. Fans of historical family dramas will appreciate this fine novel whose lead protagonist is the heart that makes the plot worth reading.--- Harriet Klausner

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