A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

Where is the real apple flavour?

A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider 
N.J. Lindquist and Wendy Elaine Nelles, eds

Lindquist and Nelles have poured a nice variety of deeply personal, faith-centred stories into this second helping of “hot apple cider.” (Hot Apple Cider, an inspirational anthology of short prose and poetry, was published in 2008). Themes include marriage, parenting, friendship, career, loss, health issues, and even neighbours’ pets.

While each story is sure to touch and inspire, the writing lacks the rich, sweet flavour promised by the book’s title. When you’re a busy mom with only sips of time to stop and indulge in a pleasure like reading, flavour matters.

This collection of stories and poems by Canadian authors who are Christian is handy for those snippets of time spent waiting – waiting for the bathtub to free up, waiting for rice to steam, or for toenail polish to dry. Indeed, the works penned by these 37 authors, all members of The Word Guild, are perfect for those stolen moments – almost.

Without exception, the works in this collection would benefit from more mulling. There needs to be a trimming of excess words; more original, amplifying titles; first sentences that hook the reader and are relevant to the story problem; more showing, less telling; and concluding sentences that are fresh and potent rather than cliché.

When this busy mom stops to read a story, she wants a story told artfully, with rich flavour. After all, delicious stories deserve no less than a delicious telling.

—Laura Thomas is a writer, children’s storyteller, and communications consultant in Delta, B.C.

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