Nothing seems to change in Eden Hill, Kentucky, and that’s just fine with Virgil T. Osgood. He’s been content to raise his family and run the only service station in town. But when a new station is set to open right across the road from Virgil’s pumps, he suddenly faces obstacles in his career, his marriage, and his self-worth that he’s never even dreamed of.Cornelius Alexander wants his new Zipco station to succeed and help establish a strong foundation for his growing family. As long as he follows the Zipco guide, he’s sure to be a successand prove his father wrong.Reverend Caudill wants to be a conduit for grace in his town, but that grace is challenged by the changes sweeping through in the early 1960s. For the sake of this small town, Virgil and Cornelius must learn to get along, but how do you love your neighbor when his very presence threatens to upend everything you hold dear?
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Bill Higgs, Caleb Sjogren
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2016 Bill Higgs
All rights reserved.
Eden Hill, Kentucky, November 1962
Something was wrong. Definitely wrong. Even he knew it.
Virgil T. Osgood had just poured his coffee from the familiar speckled enamel percolator and said good morning to his wife, Mavine. Rather than a broad smile and her usual "Good morning, Virgil," he got nothing. Instead, she sat quietly at their little Formica dinette wrapped in her blue chenille housecoat, her reading glasses perched on her nose, perusing a small magazine. Very odd. Mavine was usually hovering over the stove, banging pots and pans around, and was generally eager to engage in some lively conversation.
And even beyond Mavine's silence, the kitchen was far too quiet. The radio on the counter was usually tuned in to WNTC for the 4-H report, which came on just after "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the early morning farm news. This morning, the old Philco sat dark and silent, sandwiched between the flour and the cornflakes.
The only sounds were the ticking of the red apple clock over the stove, along with an occasional noise from Vee Junior's room upstairs.
"Morning, Mavine?" Maybe she was engrossed in her reading and hadn't heard him. "Okay, what is it?"
She peered at him over the top of her eyeglasses, unsmiling. "Why don't you feed the hens and bring in some eggs." A command, not a question. And certainly not an answer.
"Good idea." Was she sad? Angry? Upset with him? Mavine, gentle woman that she was, would occasionally become frustrated and flustered, but quiet?
"And Virgil. The chicken coop needs painting."
"Yes, Mavine. I'll paint it."
So it was going to be a guessing game. Virgil pulled on his poplin jacket against the chilly morning, scooped out a tin bucket of chicken feed from the bag on the back porch, and stepped outside. Clearly he'd gotten himself into some kind of trouble, and he could use chore time to think it through.
Forgotten her birthday? No, that wasn't until February. Couldn't be their anniversary. They'd married on the second of May — he wasn't about to miss that one again. Last year he'd overlooked it somehow, and it had cost him a new washing machine to get back into her good graces. The poker game at Grover's hadn't run that late, and had been over a week ago, so he'd have heard about it long before now. For all his pondering, he had few answers. Well, he'd find out soon enough. Whenever Mavine was ready, she'd tell him. He'd just have to wait it out.
He tossed handfuls of meal into the trough until the pail was empty, and then collected several nice fresh eggs. Quickly. The brisk air cut right through his flannel pajamas, sending shivers down both legs.
A full plate of buttermilk biscuits and a jar of Mavine's strawberry preserves sat on the table when he returned, and the radio had warmed up and the sports report was on. Bacon sizzled and crackled in Mavine's cast-iron skillet, its smoky scent seasoning the room. Without a word, she took the bucket from his hands and cracked the eggs into a clear glass mixing bowl. Vee Junior had finally found his way downstairs and was reading a Fantastic Four comic book as he waited for his breakfast.
Maybe Mavine was just in a quiet mood. He could hope, anyway.
"Morning, Vee." He studied his son, a younger and smaller version of himself. Their son did not return his gaze. "Where's your Sunday school quarterly? You promised Mrs. Prewitt you'd read your lesson before school."
"Dunno. Maybe left it in the car."
Virgil leaned across the table. "Vee, you're ten years old now. It's time you showed some responsibility and took on a few chores of your own." Like feeding the hens and fetching the eggs. He hung his jacket back on the hook and took his own chair. "I'll think of a few things you can get started on this Saturday."
"But I've got homework to do."
"On the weekend?"
"Maybe." The boy turned back to his questionable reading — hunting down Dr. Doom, from the looks of the cover. At least Vee seemed his usual self this morning.
"Vee, put that thing down. You know how your mother is about those comic books. We'll talk about this later."
Nothing on the radio gave Virgil a clue to Mavine's unusual demeanor, just a news report about something going on in Cuba — wherever that was — and a weather report about the current cold snap. Community Calendar included a story about the university, as well as something about the new interstate highway being planned.
Monday morning blues, maybe? He hoped so.
Mavine selected clean dishes from the drainer and served them each their breakfast. She waited while Virgil said grace and then filled a plate for herself. They ate quickly with little in the way of conversation. The radio was still playing when he finished the last biscuit, and the announcer gave the time at the station break.
"Six thirty, Vee. Isn't it time for you to catch the school bus?" Virgil nodded toward the road.
"Yeah." The boy did not move.
He mumbled something before stuffing the comic into his book satchel and starting for the door.
"Vee! Your lunch!" Mavine handed him a small tin box adorned with a picture of Zorro, his sword pointed high in the air. "And don't you dare trade your cheese sandwich for Twinkies again!" Vee grabbed his forgotten meal, muttered something else, and started out.
"And leave that comic book here!"
"Aw, Mom." Vee sighed, tossed the comic onto the couch, and left.
Mavine collected the plates and glasses from the table and refilled Virgil's mug with the last of the coffee. With a deliberate twist, she silenced the radio and returned to her seat across from her husband.
Then Mavine, his beloved wife, looked straight at him. She'd been crying. How had he missed that?
"Virgil, do you still love me?"
"Do I ... what?" This had nothing to do with Cuba, Vee's lunch, Dr. Doom, or anything else from the morning's conversation. Whatever he'd been expecting, this wasn't it. He was mulling this over when she repeated herself.
"Virgil, do you still love me? We've been married fourteen years now, and ..." She leaned forward and looked deep into his eyes. "Well, do you?"
Virgil T. Osgood, husband and father, raised an eyebrow and scratched at his chin. The question — was it a question? — was baffling, and he was about to say so when some deep wisdom stopped him, and he considered things for a moment. He needed time, and he needed clues. Anything. He knew the answer, but he wasn't sure that it was the one she needed to hear.
"Why in the world would you ask such a thing as that?" Certainly not the right response, he realized immediately.
She hesitated a moment. "Because I need to know. When I was at the beauty shop last week ..."
The pieces of the puzzle fell into place like the letters in the Sunday crossword. Every other Friday was Mavine's beauty parlor day, when she would visit Gladys's Glamour Nook on Front Street. She would return with a restyled hairdo and fresh gossip, especially if Gladys had learned a new and juicy tidbit. And these tidbits usually had a romantic angle to them one way or another.
Come to think of it, she'd been acting strangely all weekend, especially during Reverend Caudill's sermon yesterday. The pastor was in the middle of a sermon series called "Godly Marriage"— straight out of the book of Ephesians — and all the married folk in the congregation were a bundle of nerves. "'Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands,'" the preacher had intoned, and all the women looked at the ceiling. "'Husbands, love your wives,'" he'd continued. Women were nodding — including Mavine — and most of the men were looking at their shoelaces. He should have seen something coming.
She pulled the magazine from the pocket of her housecoat and placed it in the spot where her plate had been. "I was reading an article in Pageant about married men losing their love for their wives after they — the married men, that is — turn forty. Some even look —" she blushed and hesitated — "elsewhere." She slid the small periodical across the table. "Gladys let me bring it home. I took the quiz on page forty-six."
So that was it. Virgil felt a chill, the memory of his fortieth birthday two months ago still fresh in his mind. A paper clip pointed to an article called, "Has Your Husband's Boiler Run Out of Steam?" by Betty LaMour, PhD. A small but fetching photograph of Dr. LaMour was featured with a caption describing her as a famous marriage counselor in New York City. Virgil stared at the photo and turned the page, holding his place with his thumb. He flipped through the rest of the issue, which included full-page ads for Glamour Stretchers and Swedish bust developers. It didn't take long to figure it out: more was better, according to Pageant. But more what? None of this made any sense.
"This is foolishness." He closed the magazine and pushed it across the table. "You're getting all worked up for no good reason, Mavine. They write this stuff just so they can sell magazines. Besides, don't I take good care of you and Vee?"
"Yes, you do, Virgil, but women want more than that. We need our husbands to be heroic." She placed the Pageant right back in his hands. "Dr. LaMour says that a good husband is romantic, and —" she squirmed — "he also pays, how shall I say it, closer attention to his wife."
Something welled up within Virgil that he didn't quite understand, a mixture of sorrow, regret, and anger. Clearly he'd disappointed his wife, and he was sorry for that, but what could he do that he wasn't doing? Had he failed as a husband, or had this sensational magazine misled his wife?
He'd done all he knew to do in life. His schooling ended after the eighth grade because he needed to help support his family, but he'd served his country during the war. With honor, and he had the discharge to prove it. With a veteran's loan and his father's help, he'd built Osgood's, the service station that proudly bore his name. He and his father had built it by hand, one concrete block at a time. His business was stable and secure as well, for the most part. And while it wasn't going to make them rich, he'd never ended a month in the red. He was married to his childhood sweetheart, and they had a wonderful son, Virgil T. Osgood Jr. And a good marriage, as far as he could tell. Even Reverend Caudill couldn't fault him that.
All that ought to make him a hero. Vee Junior thought so, anyway. But it looked like Mavine didn't see it quite the same way.
"Mavine, you shouldn't be looking at this kind of thing. Not a word of truth in it." He started to return the Pageant again, but she held up her hand.
"How do you know? You haven't even read it." She crossed her arms and gave him a look that suggested he'd better keep it this time. He did.
Dr. Betty LaMour, with her feather boa and low-cut blouse, was hard for Virgil to take seriously. A PhD was a kind of doctor thing, and a woman who had one ought to look like Eleanor Roosevelt or Margaret Mead. Dr. LaMour looked more like Marilyn Monroe. The ads in the back for basketball-size radishes were outrageous, and the photo of the couple on a sailboat looking dreamily at each other while the sun went down behind them made little sense to him. Try as he might, he couldn't see where any of this applied to Virgil and Mavine Osgood.
He also couldn't see any way that he was going to win this argument, so he went for a draw.
"Okay, Mavine. I have to get ready for work, but I'll read it. I promise.
* * *
Ticky wagged her tail and brushed up against Virgil's khakis. InsightfUl pondering wasn't part of Virgil's toolbox, but he was doing his best as he and his bluetick coonhound walked the short path toward Osgood's. As promised, he paused to read the Pageant article. The light was still dim, so he regretted not having his reading glasses. The task was made more difficult by the chilly breeze, and by the big words he didn't recognize. Terms like interlude didn't turn up often in Popular Mechanics, and amorous wasn't one that Mrs. Wardlow taught in the eighth grade. After a couple of pages, he had the gist of it. Somehow, he didn't measure up.
Fourteen years. It had been a good marriage, hadn't it? He tried hard, but he was beginning to understand that Mavine might want more. Ticky nudged his leg, just as he came to the questions on page forty-six.
Question One: Has your husband been working long hours at a boring career? Mavine had placed a check mark by this one. Boring career? He ran a simple but good service station. Of course the hours were long — Mrs. Crutcher's Buick had needed a full ring job and seals to boot. Welby, his mechanic, had worked with him on the engine, but he'd not made it home until after nine several nights running. Virgil let his finger fall to the line at the bottom where she had kept score. The question was a big one, worth twenty- five points for the right answer. Mavine's answer scored a mere five.
Question Two: How long has it been since you and your husband have had an intimate romantic dinner together? She had checked (c), "six months or more." This didn't make sense at all, because Mavine had cooked a full meal almost every night of their entire married life. Not counting last night's chicken meat loaf disaster, it couldn't have been more than two days. Three at the most. Five points.
Question Three: How long has it been since you and your husband have had marital relations? This was really puzzling. She'd checked (b), "two weeks or more" and then erased it and changed it to (c), "one month or more." Her mother had spent most of last Sunday afternoon at their house — perhaps Mavine had forgotten. Besides, her other relations visited way too often. Or could the question be asking about ... that?
The rest of the questions all had something to do with romantic encounters or expensive restaurants or the like, and Dr. LaMour's reasoning became harder to follow. A trip to somewhere exotic? Zero. Celebrating an anniversary? Another zero. Mavine had checked off several more questions and come up with a score of thirty-five, which, according to Dr. LaMour, meant "better stir the coals and check the pilot light." Whatever that meant. Pilot lights weren't for coal fires, anyhow. Besides, this whole article came down to Dr. LaMour's opinion, which said Mavine ought to be unhappy with him and who he was. He backed up a step and almost tripped over Ticky. Who does this Betty LaMour think she is, anyway? And what gives her the right to give my wife these kinds of ideas?
Virgil scratched his chin again. He and Mavine had both worked hard at making a life and a family, only to be told by some sleazy woman in a cheap magazine that it wasn't enough. They had a solid marriage, a fine son, and a comfortable life, didn't they? In Eden Hill, that meant far more than caviar and sailboats.
By now, his emotions had all boiled down to one: anger. Not at Mavine, but at Betty LaMour. Let this marriage counselor come here from New York City for a day or two, eat supper at their house, stay the night, and smell the wood smoke and country ham the next morning. Maybe even enjoy some of Mavine's biscuits and bacon. Though she'd have to skip any of Mavine's attempts at new recipes. Betty LaMour would see what life together was all about.
He was a good man, and this was a good place. He and Osgood's took care of decent people, the salt of the earth. The grocery on the corner did the same, with Grover Stacy and his wife, Anna Belle, offering ample provisions to the folks of the community, together with ample supplies of cold-cut sandwiches, ice cream, overalls, and flypaper. There was Willett's Dry Goods with clothing and fabric, and three churches. Three fine churches. Filled every Sunday with wonderful country people who'd give a person the high-bibs right off their backs. Farms and stores, tradesmen and everyday folks. Eden Hill may not be much, but it was everything that New York City could only dream about.
With that thought and another nudge from Ticky, Virgil tucked the Pageant into his coat pocket and returned to reality. He'd ask his mechanic, Welby, about it later. Welby and Alma had been married upwards of thirty years; surely he'd have some insight.
Virgil's coffee mug was empty again, so he must have paused and pondered for longer than he thought. No matter, Welby would certainly have a fresh pot brewing when he arrived.
Excerpted from Eden Hill by Bill Higgs, Caleb Sjogren. Copyright © 2016 Bill Higgs. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“Eden Hill” by Bill Higgs was a delightful read! This book had me chuckling all the way through. I really didn’t know what to expect with this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. I wanted to keep reading to find out how it ended. This book is set in the early 1960s. The town of Eden Hill is pretty much the same and everyone is pretty much content leaving it that way. Virgil Osgood owns the only filling station in town. Everything is okay in his little world until someone new comes in town and opens a filling station across the street from him! This creates friction in the whole town and it is humorous to see how everyone handles the conflicts that come their way! If you enjoy good, clean, humorous inspirational books, then you will love this book! I was given the book by Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and here is my honest review.
Eden Hill is an extraordinary debut novel of Bill Higgs. Take a stroll down memory lane to a time and place that was slower paced and much more community focused and yet you will find the same heart issues that are seen in this day and age of instant everything. Eden Hill, small town Kentucky in the early 1960s, finds the characters in the story facing mid-life what-if questions, racial disputes and the struggles of making ends meet especially when a new business opens up in town. The author deals realistically with these life situations. Humor runs throughout the story with incidents of 10-year-olds putting a whoopee cushion on the church organist's bench during Sunday morning service and the ornery old parishioner who calls the pastor every day to let him know how he should be running things. A little romance is sweetly portrayed as Virgil does his best to give his wife, Mavine, an intimate, romantic dinner in an effort to show her he does really love her. The story flows quickly and keeps interest high, wondering what will happen next to upset this quiet little town. Characters are normal everyday people that readers will enjoy getting to know as they are in the process of learning who their neighbor is. As one character puts it, "You've been our neighbor for years. Only right we should be neighborly." Higgs portrays a solid faith in a God of forgiveness and second chances because these characters are coming to know that God's grace covers it all. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Club network. A favorable review was not required and opinions are my own.
This was almost like a stroll down memory lane. What fun reading the story! How well I remember as a child and through my teen years spending time around the service station run by my family. I well remember conversations about gas prices at other service stations, any new stations opening in the area, etc. As I teenager I remember pumping gas, washing windshields, checking oil, changing tires, and the myriad of other tasks associated with working in a service station. I never did any work as a mechanic or dressed up as Zippy the clown, but I think I did most of the other jobs in the book. Bill Higgs is an excellent storyteller and kept my attention. His development of the main characters was done so masterfully that I could relate to each one. Many folks from my generation who grew up in a small community will recall fond memories as they read. The younger generations can learn much about the way life was back in the early 1960s for the small-town businessmen, their families, and their neighbors. Besides the memories, some great lessons can be learned about how to treat others. I recommend the book to all my friends.
EDEN HILL BY BILL HIGGS What I liked about this book was before I even got it the summary led me to believe the older established gas station owner would be helping out the new one. I do a lot of charity work and often am asked about a knitting pattern I developed and I post it to share with others. Whether they use it for personal gain or to make charity items is up to them. Nobody pays me for the patterns and I don't mind sharing. Book starts out with Virgil, the owner of the gas station/auto repair center and his family: wife and teen son. She's at odds with her upcoming 40th birthday and believes the things in ladies magazines about her love life. He's worked his whole life to provide for them to learn the lot next door was sold for a new gas station/conveneince store to a young couple who put a pink mobile home on the lot while construction is underway. He's up to hiis head with debt after getting loans for their dreams. She delivers a baby... Other people in the community are followed as well-really rounding out the whole community. The pastor and all the work he does every everybody, makes sure events run smoothly while writing interesting sermons to keep everybody active and awake. What I liked about the book was the different ages of everyone and how they each dealt with stressful circumstances and leaned on God to help them through it all. Interesting to find they all related in one way or another. Not only different ages, different walks of life and different problems than others in the community. Amazing how a fishing trip can change all their minds...Discussion questions at the end. I received this book from The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review.
Eden Hill, Kentucky could be any Rural Town, USA. Life was slower, and neighbors were at most times, friends. A few of the neighbors were a bit too well informed as far as other people's business, but for the most part people cared and shared. As in most small communities, change isn't easy. People are accustomed to the regularity of their routines, and become suspicious of change. So it was for Eden Hill. Very well acquainted with Small Town, America during the 1960s, I could easily relate to the characters portrayed throughout this book. It was a time when people cared for one another, offered help, and spread news to neighbors. Major changes were looked upon with suspicion and uncertainty, particularly when a new business threatened the livelihood of a second generation gas station and garage. Eden Hill moved at a leisurely pace with a warm familiarity, difficult times portrayed, and of course, a bit of humor. I'm quite impressed with this debut novel of everyday life. Life was presented creatively in a realistic style. I think that Mr. Higgs has done a fine job of bringing the past to the present in a poignant and authentic manner. I thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace and realistic activities that make this a wonderful, relaxing read. I highly recommend it! Disclaimer: I received this book from Book Fun and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All expressed opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Eden Hill by Bill Higgs is a wonderful book set in the 1960's. Eden Hill Kentucky is the normal small town or that era. The businesses are owned by the local people. The women have Friday afternoon appointments at the beauty shop where they catch up on what is happening in the community and women's issues. The men get together on Thursday nights for hair cuts and visiting. Virgil Osgood is happily running the service station his father stated after returning home from WWII. His family like has also been a happy one, until one day when Mavine gets quiet and asks Virgil to read a magazine article. One day Cornelius and Jo Ann Alexander are driving around and notice the vacant lot across from Virgil's station that is for sale. Cornelius buys the lot and sets us a Zipco station in hope of becoming a successful business man and being able to provide a good lifestyle for Jo Ann and their future children. Virgil and Mavine feel threatened by the new Zipco station. There soon begins a gas price war and opening specials. The service station is remodeled and Mavine has Virgil wear a uniform. In an effort to bring Virgil and Cornelius together, Reverend Eugene Caudill, puts them together working on the same projects and invites them to go fishing with him. Reverent Caudill also makes special visits to the Carnelius's to help them in their Christian walk. This is one of the best books I have read this year! I enjoyed reading the story and remember some of the products that were mentioned in the book. I felt so bad for Virgil when he was trying to read the magazine article and didn't know what it meant. The story also showed the feelings of the time with Madeline Crutcher refusing to acknowledge her background and her son, who is black. But it also showed the generosity of community with how Anna Bell and Grove put baby food in the Cornelius's baby bag to help the young couple out. This is a great story of Christian love and fellowship and how we can sometimes lets every day life put road blocks in our walk with God. I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishing and Bookfun.org for an honest review. 400 pages ISBN-10: 1496410831 ISBN-13: 978-1496410832 Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
This is a story filled with the nostalgia of life in small town America in the 1960’s. Everything moved at a slower pace and everyone knew everything about his/her neighbors. The author used a clever and moving way to develop the characters so that the readers can picture someone from their past that matches these townsfolk. The sometimes whimsical and other times caustic dialogue made me smile as I reminded myself how true to life these situations really can be! I also appreciated how Mr. Higgs wrapped biblical lessons throughout and made them so real in the lives of the characters. I look forward to more delightful stories from this author.
This is a very well written, easy to read book set in the 1960s, but it can easily apply to Christian life today. Changes are taking place in Eden Hill, Kentucky. Will the challenges be too much for the people in the community or will they be able to find grace and accept the challenges? Very thought-provoking and an enjoyable read. I was given this book to read, for my honest opinion, from The Book Club Network and the author.
Eden Hill by author Bill Higgs is his debut novel published by Tyndale House. This 392 page jewel has an old automobile on the cover with its title written in a very unique way at the bottom on the cover. It will catch your eye. Eden Hill is a historical fiction about life in early 1960's Eden Hill, Kentucky. Typical small town Americana at its best. This is the tale of Eden Hill, Kentucky and its unique collection of residents. It opens with Virgil T. Osgood pondering why his wife, Maxine, is acting so strange. We are introduced to Reverend Eugene Caudill, pastor at one of the local churches and Madeline Crutcher, one of his congregation and a real character. Virgil owns the local filling station and employs a mechanic by the name of Welby. One of his customers is Arlie Prewitt and seems like someone we all might know. We even meet Ticky, Virgil's blue tick coonhound. There are many more characters. All of the people in the book are well defined. They are unique in one way or another. Author does a wonderful job with the characters. They are so likable they become friends, and I quickly became invested in their lives. My heart sank for Virgil in one section early in the book when I read a sign. I wanted to have a cup of coffee with Maxine ate her Formica table or cup of Tetley tea with Rev. Caudill. Later we meet Cornelius Alexander III and his pregnant wife JoAnn Alexander. They come to Eden Hill from Quincy. I thoroughly enjoyed the little town of Eden Hill. The author did such an outstanding job describing it that I felt like I was there. I could picture it and the people. I could smell and almost taste Mavine's Hawaiian pineapple hamburger. The storyline was well thought and flowed smoothly. The dialogue moved along nicely. The author made me laugh out loud in a few parts while other parts tugged on my heart strings. Higgs weaves God, prayer, grace, and inspiration throughout this book. At one point the minister asks Arlie if he can do anything for him and Arlie responds by asking for prayer. This is a book filled with emotion, humor, heartache, love, and teaching from Jesus. It touches on loving your neighbor, being humble, taking care of one another, showing grace and having compassion. It broaches heart wrenching topics of death, divorce, and marital issues. It touches on illegitimacy and racial prejudice. It is a good book that will make you think. At the end of his book the author has included discussion questions. I love it when an author does that. This helps when using the book for a book club or small group study. I would recommend this for adult readers that enjoy Americana Christian fiction from a great author. I rated this book a 5 out of 5 stars and can only say...more, please, Mr. Higgs! A copy of this book was provided by The Book Club Network for my honest review.
If Eden Hill is any indication of what we can expect from Bill Higgs, we are in for some delightful hours of reading ahead. I must admit I picked it up because Bill is the spouse of Liz Curtis Higgs. Glad I did because the Higgs family can write! The novel is set in Eden Hill, Kentucky and is full of small-town charm. The lesson we learn from Virgil Osgood and his neighbor Cornelius Alexander is that Jesus' command to love your neighbor has unseen consequences and rewards. We learn that we are our brother's keeper and what we do not only affects our family but our community. If you love a novel full of nostalgia and warm fuzzies that urges you to be a better person then you will surely enjoy this one. Bill's first novel is a hit in my book and I'm eagerly anticipating his next.
Neighbors learn to love and help each other This has been one of the most enjoyable works of fiction I have read this year. The story begins in 1962 and although I was only 2 that year, I can recognize so much of the environment and the social expectations and the culture that were part of my early childhood. The characters are all very human and it's easy to laugh and cry with and be exasperated and delighted in them. It's a blessing to read how God works in their lives and the life of the small town in which they live - showing neighbors how to love each other no matter what their differences are. I was left wanting to read more about them all!
Eden Hill by Bill Higgs. This is a fiction book set in the early 1960s in rural Kentucky. The story centers around a small group of people that attend the same church and/or social groups. The story mostly focuses from the view point of a few people. These characters are fairly well developed, some more so than others. The other characters in the book are developed as well as need be as they are minor players. The editing was well done. Only a few errors caught my eye. Editing, in my opinion can ruin a perfectly good story. This story was well developed also. It was fairly clear that it was written by a man, as the focus was more from the male point of view, but this was a good thing. The story revolves mostly around a couple of gas stations. The story flowed very well. I read this in only a few days as it kept my interest and I was looking forward to the next thing to happen. It is also a story about love and forgiveness. These aspects were well presented and the love of God evident in this story. It was not a "preachy" story, but well presented. It showed problems we all face one way or another. It showed that we can find the answers in God's word. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys fiction. This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review, and it is honest, by bookfun.org.
his was a very enjoyable read!! Funny,very entertaining, and some seriousness too! I loved that it was set in the 60's because it shows us that neighbors still cared about neighbors and helped them out in time of need. Bill, I loved this novel and I Especially loved Reverend Caudill! He definitely had his hands full with the flock of Eden Hill!!! Madeline Crutcher made me want to strangle her at times! Virgil and his family cracked me up in mote ways than one. my thoughts were maybe he shouldn't have have hung around frank so much because he was always in trouble with Frank squeezing out of which wasn't fair. I loved the town of Eden Hill, Kentucky. Wished it was a real place! I wish that we today, could take time out to help ppl these days like they did back then. But, people are hard to trust and we are just way too busy with our lives. The world has changed greatly since then and not for the good either. Our generation has even shut God out of our lives and that is really sad for without Him we are nothing! Bill, I hope you write a sequel to this story. I'd like to see Vee a grown up young man and see how he turned out and I'd like to see how the Reverend liked his new job
Life in the Slow Lane? Life is about to take an interesting turn in the small town of Eden Hill. Cornelius Alexander decides to gamble everything he owns on a get rich quick scheme the Zipco service station company is offering. When he stumbles into Eden Hill one afternoon, Cornelius decides that is the perfect place to build his station. It is right across the street from Osgood's oil, the only gas station in the small village. Owned for years by the Osgood family, this new station seems to be taking direct aim at the Osgoods and their only source of income. Suddenly this peaceful little settlement might become a battlefield between the two businesses and families. Will this turn into something like the Hatfield and McCoy feud? Rev. Caudill certainly hopes not. In fact, he starts asking the entire congregation, including the Alexander and Osgood families, some hard questions. Most importantly, he talks about neighbors and how they should treat each other. Just as the man in the Biblical story wanted to know, the Osgoods question who exactly is their neighbor? Does that include the "neighbor" who decides to go into direct competition with them, and then attempts to lure long-time customers away? Will the Alexanders go bankrupt and lose everything? Or will the Osgoods have to close their station because of the shiny new one across the street? Can one small town support two of the same type of businesses? Take a step back in time, and enter into small town life with all its joys--and surprises! At first glance Eden Hill may seem like a quiet little town without much happening. But that couldn't be further from the truth. The residents of this little town cope with situations that range from racial prejudice to illegitimate children, along with a gentle sprinkling of humor. At the same time, God is trying to touch their lives, and make all things work together for good. I enjoyed this 5-star book. The characters were interesting, and each of their stories really drew me in. Reading this will make you wish Eden Hill really exists. I recommend this book to all fans of well-written fiction. Tyndale House Publishers has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of Eden Hill, for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
When I learned that Liz Curtis Higgs's husband, Bill, had written a novel, I knew I wanted to read it. She has been a blessing to me over the years, and I felt this book would be, too. And I was not mistaken. Eden Hill is a small town in Kentucky and the book takes place in 1962, early 1963. Things never seem to change in Eden Hill and that's just fine with Virgil Osgood. He runs the only service station in town and is content with his lot in life. But when a new Zipco station is set to open across the street, Virgil suddenly faces obstacles in his career, his marriage that he's never dreamed of. Cornelius Alexander wants his new station to succeed and make a good living for his growing family. Things are not working quite as well as he thought, though. Reverend Caudill wants to be a conduit of grace for his town, but that grace is challenged by the changes sweeping though in the early 1960s. For the sake of this small town, Virgil and Cornelius must get along, but how do you love your neighbor when his very presence threatens to upend everything you hold dear? This is Bill Higg's debut novel, but it certainly does not read like a freshman effort. Full, deep, and rich are the words contained here. Higgs has weaved a tale full of love, heartache and inspiration that will touch your heart to the fullest. I have fallen in love with these characters. All of them. I was moved many times throughout this book. The grace of God is poured out abundantly in these pages and amongst these citizens of the small town of Eden Hill. I look forward to more from this town and from Bill Higgs. I certainly do hope he plans more books and sets them here in Eden Hill. This was such a delightful experience, reading this book. *I was provided with a copy of this book by Net Galley for review purposes. All opinions are my own.