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The Widows of Eden

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Overview

It hasn't rained in a hundred days, it's hotter than Beelzebub's oven, and the ground is harder than a castiron skillet. The good folks of Ebb, Nebraska, could surely use a miracle. Lifelong residents are fleeing, and the town is on the verge of collapse. Wilma Porter, the plucky owner of the Come Again Bed and Breakfast, and her indomitable friends from the Quilting Circle need to do something to save Ebb, and fast. But short of praying for rain, there's little even the ...

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The Widows of Eden: A Novel

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Overview

It hasn't rained in a hundred days, it's hotter than Beelzebub's oven, and the ground is harder than a castiron skillet. The good folks of Ebb, Nebraska, could surely use a miracle. Lifelong residents are fleeing, and the town is on the verge of collapse. Wilma Porter, the plucky owner of the Come Again Bed and Breakfast, and her indomitable friends from the Quilting Circle need to do something to save Ebb, and fast. But short of praying for rain, there's little even the powerful Quilting Circle can do.

Enter Vernon L. Moore. The last time this mysterious traveling salesman came to stay at the Come Again B & B, he turned the town around in six days. When he left, he became a legend. Wilma and her friends have come to expect surprises from Mr. Moore, but this time they're stunned when he brings help: three widows from the town of Eden with pasts as enigmatic as his.

The Widows of Eden is an entertaining, inspiring novel about community, hope, and a new way of looking at the things that matter most.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Mixing homespun humor with intricately reasoned religious doctrine, the third installment in Shaffner's gently inspirational series provides a gracious reminder of the power of faith and the rewards of friendship."—Booklist
Booklist
"Mixing homespun humor with intricately reasoned religious doctrine, the third installment in Shaffner's gently inspirational series provides a gracious reminder of the power of faith and the rewards of friendship."—Booklist
Publishers Weekly

Glorious faith and uncertainty—the spice of life—are on the agenda in Shaffner's (One Part Angel) latest high-spirited, if unsettling, morality tale. The citizens of Ebb, Neb., are all aflutter about the reappearance of Vernon L. Moore, a mysterious traveling salesman reportedly imbued with mystical powers. The town has been struck by a major drought and the quirky cast of local characters hopes that Vernon will break it. Wilma L. Porter, of the Come Again Bed & Breakfast also wants him to heal Clement Tucker, her cancer-stricken "Fiancé in Perpetuity" and "the richest man between Omaha and Oklahoma," but Vernon says he can't pray for both Clem's life and rain. As Clem and Vernon engage in protracted negotiations, Clem's three friends, the Widows of Eden, arrive at the B & B to help out. They call themselves Lohengrin's Children (after a mythical Wagnerian knight) and have two goals: "to see the world and to help those in need." The book's bittersweet resolution raises more questions than it answers, and Shaffner keeps the definition of who (or what) Vernon and the Widows are purposefully vague, which some readers may find enticing and others merely frustrating. (June)

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Kirkus Reviews
The third in Shaffner's series (In the Land of Second Chances, 2004, etc.) about a mysterious stranger, a cerebral savior, reviving a small town. The town is Ebb, Neb., the stranger is Vernon L. Moore and the narrator as before is Wilma Porter, owner of the B&B. The town is run by powerful women, many of them divorcees like Wilma; they call themselves the Quilting Circle. Still, the most powerful person in town is a man, the mean-spirited banker Clem Tucker, Wilma's so-called Fiance in Perpetuity. The series formula is well-established. The town is experiencing a crisis. Vernon shows up and defuses it, in ways just short of the supernatural, while engaging one of the principals in a Socratic dialogue about ontology. This time there are two crises. A long drought is forcing family farmers into bankruptcy. Secondly, Clem's skin cancer has metastasized, and a major operation looms. Clem asks Vernon for a cure. Vernon agrees to pray for his recovery, but not the rain; the tab is $75 million (Clem has deep pockets). Meanwhile the two spar over that old chestnut: If God is omnipotent, how can we exercise free will? Some of the townspeople are seriously upset that Vernon won't heal Clem and bring rain, but the hullabaloo seems contrived in view of the mystery man's past good deeds. As the female sheriff says: "We need to shut up and let the man do his work." Shaffner introduces one new element. Vernon is accompanied on this visit by three widows, his surrogates in helping the numerous townspeople with their problems. Like their leader, they have mysterious pasts (theirs originate in 16th-century England), but in the here-and-now they add little to the story. Shaffner throws in some niftysurprises before Vernon leaves town again. The author's formula is beginning to feel shopworn, though the fast pace and plot twists should keep fans involved. Agent: Jane Dystel/Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565125353
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 6/24/2008
  • Pages: 307
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

GEORGE SHAFFNER is the author of In the Land of Second Chances and One Part Angel. He lives in Sammamish, Washington.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2008

    Another Trip to Ebb

    In the third book in his series featuring Vernon Moore, George Shaffner returns to Ebb, Nebraska. Ebb is in the midst of a drought, one hundred days with no rain to be specific. The enigmatic 'travelling salesman' is back to visit and everyone's hopes are pinned on his arrival. You see, Vernon Moore has performed feats in Ebb on two previous occasions that more than a few say are miraculous and most of Ebb is hoping he can do it yet again in the form of rain. On the other hand, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Ebb is dying of cancer and he has a whole different plan in mind for Vernon's latest visit. Oh, and Vernon has help this time -- three widows who belong to a traveler's club named 'Lohengrins Children.' Ebb is in for an interesting week! In preparation for reading The Widows of Eden, I checked out the first book in the series, In the Land of Second Chances. 'Alas, my local library does not have a copy of the second installment, One Part Angel' I found them both to be pretty quick, pleasant reads. Vernon is 'selling' something in each book, but nothing that a normal travelling salesman would carry in his sample case. In the first book, he is selling hope to a town that is sorely lacking in that department. In The Widows of Eden, an order of faith is on tap for a cantankerous businessman. The books are fairly light and humorous but not always predictable. Sales calls take on the feel of a logic class as arguments are put forth to show the presence of a benevolent God, to explain why he cannot intervene in Earthly situations, etc. Also, the town of Ebb is very woman-centered, starting with the omnipresent Quilting Circle. I enjoyed reading both books but I am not sure that I would have picked them up at the book store. I guess this just shows that you can't always tell what you are going to end up enjoying!

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