Friday, June 12, 2015

Corral Nocturne, by Elisabeth Grace Foley

One Sunday late in May, I had the treat of reading another one of Elisabeth Grace Foley's novellas: Corral Nocturne. This is a sweet prairie love story, with Elisabeth's trademark knack of putting color into familiar and well-loved personalities. I heartily enjoyed it.

The Story 
From Goodreads: Life on her brother’s ranch is lonely for Ellie Strickland. Ed’s ungracious manners and tight-fisted habits keep visitors away and his mother and sister close to home. But when Cole Newcomb, son of the wealthiest rancher in the county, meets Ellie by chance, he is struck by an unexpected impulse to rescue her from her solitude—and Ellie’s lonely summer is transformed.

When Cole asks her to go with him to the Fourth of July dance, Ellie is determined that nothing, from an old dress to Ed’s sour temper, will stand in her way. By the time the Fourth of July fireworks go off at midnight, will they herald only more heartache, or maybe—just maybe—a dream come true?

Novella, approximately 21,000 words.

My Thoughts 
First of all, can I say how much I love novellas? They are quick, easy to read, and make me feel like I'm accomplishing a lot even when reading time has to be snatched here and there. I never thought how much artistry and satisfaction a short story could hold, but Elisabeth Foley's have been just the ticket. 

Second, Ellie's mama is awesome. A lot of authors could take a Cinderella story and keep in the evil stepmother motif, but Foley wrote a close and loving mother/daughter relationship. Do you realize how few of those there are in literature? Most mothers are either dead or flighty or mean, but Mrs. Strickland is a woman of spunk, and a good seamstress to boot. Kudos! 

While I think Foley's writing style shines even brighter in her later collection, Wanderlust Creek, Cole was a fun hero seizing an opportunity to show a hurting girl he cares, and Ellie was a sweet heroine longing for someone to take care of her. She exemplifies the popular Cinderella traits of courage and kindness.

The western flavor is something I'm finding extremely refreshing lately. There's something honest and homespun and family-centered in Foley's re-tellings of this genre, and it makes a wonderful addition to my literary diet. 

If you're in the mood for some sweet relaxation, I recommend picking up a copy of Corral Nocturne

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fun novella. :) I remember being intrigued by your last post on her Wanderlust Creek collection. Has she come out with any more books/novellas recently?

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    1. You'd like Wanderlust. You should read it. :D She hasn't come out with new ones since that one, but she is working on more. I'm certainly looking forward to them!

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  2. I saw your review, and remembered seeing this on my Kindle (my sister and I share an account), so I went and read it in about an hour. :)

    I liked the Western setting...it was appealing and realistically rugged, and came across naturally. And like you, I especially appreciated Mrs. Strickland.

    Also, the names: the contrast between "Strickland" and "Newcomb" gave immediate, subtle color to the families, one struggling and starved for friendly relations with their neighbors, the other thriving on first-generation success and abundance. It reminded me of Dickens.

    Congratulations to Elisabeth Grace!

    ~Elisabeth

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's a pleasant way to spend an hour, isn't it? :) And I didn't notice the names, but that is so cool! Even the phonetic sounds are harder and softer according to each person's character. Neat-o.

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