Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where Love Once Lived, Sidney W. Frost

Where Love Once Lived by Sidney W. Frost follows a man at a crossroads as he seeks to regain the love of his former college sweetheart.

Forced to leave Karen by circumstances beyond his control, Brian returns to his hometown after 30 years to find Karen doesn't want to deal with the memories of his painful and unexplained departure. She has worked hard to put her love for Brian behind her and rebuffs his advances. Brian can see that winning her over again isn't going to be as easy as he had hoped, but he's willing to do whatever it takes.

"The story of Brian and Karen shows that, with God's help, it's never too late to find happiness," says Frost. "My hope is that their story makes readers laugh, cry and learn a little more about God's love."

Frost was inspired by his faith to create Where Love Once Lived. The importance of a relationship with God is a major theme in the book. In the novel, Karen's faith in God grew stronger after Brian left, leading to fulfilling work as a lay minister. As she becomes reacquainted with Brian, Karen begins to share with him the strength that can come from faith. Brian, who had turned away from God, eventually comes to realize that the void in his life was not just the loss of Karen but also the loss of God.

As she wondered about the mystery, Karen peered out the window at the florist’s delivery van in the school parking lot in time to see it leaving. As it disappeared behind the administration building, another vehicle came into view, one that looked like a bus with no windows. On its side in large letters was Austin Public Library Bookmobile.

She’d once loved a bookmobile driver. Memories of that time with him poured in so rapidly she caught her breath. It’d been long ago, but her heart remembered. At first she thought of the love she’d felt back then, but the good memories didn’t last long. She’d gone to the bookmobile as usual that last day, but nothing was to be the same again. She went to Brian with love and exciting news. She left alone. Not just without him, but alone in the world and apart from God.

This couldn’t be the same bookmobile. Nevertheless, she had to see it. She had to walk into it and face her fears. She grabbed her jacket to shield her from the damp November day and rounded up her class.
“Get your coats on, kids. We’re going to the library.”

The children grumbled at the notion, but when they saw what kind of library it was, they stepped livelier. Karen walked inside the bookmobile after making sure Miss Rush had control of the children. She inhaled the familiar odor of used books. She traveled back thirty years with a single whiff. The librarian just inside the front door welcomed her with a smile. A man sat at a desk near the back of the vehicle. Karen pulled a book off the shelf and held it next to her chest, not caring what the title was. With her eyes closed, she could feel Brian standing next to her, loving her, and it was so real, she felt her eyes moisten.

WOW! Where Love Once Loved is a winner
This is a Christian novel and more. Some of that more is a romance and more of the more is an unusual form of a coming of age story. Romance gone wrong due to incomplete communications and immature or irresponsible judgments lead to lives prematurely separated in young adulthood. Those separate lives are not all that bad but leave the principles feeling unfulfilled and incomplete in mid-life. Tensions in the novel stem from efforts and events that work toward reuniting the protagonists. But this is not easy and

requires sometimes painful change for the two main characters. This is not the adolescent discovery of self and sex coming of age. Instead here we have two seasoned and basically successful adults who must mature spiritually. A number of things contribute to that spiritual maturation including painful discoveries of what went so very wrong years ago, forgiveness for those and subsequent events, understanding of the consequences and new empathy that comes from prayer and God's grace.

The setting is a mid-sized Southern city in the mid to late 20th century (Austin, Texas) and exceptionally apt descriptions of real recognizable places and accurate references to the "times" lend authenticity to the novel.

Much of the action takes place on a bookmobile including librarian-patron interactions and a believable chase scene. I think we all make inappropriate use of the word unique at times. But in reviewing Frost's Where Love Once Lived, I can honestly say his use of the bookmobile is unique to the point where it might be considered a supporting character.

In addition to the bookmobile peripheral characters are well developed, interesting in their own right and serve as impediments or more often facilitators of the action. Secondary characters enrich the story and contribute to the growth of the main characters by modeling and interpreting Christian principals.

In support of the main story line there are several minor themes including an interesting view on changing race relations. A related minor and equally interesting minor theme explores how older adults react to the developing loves, marriages and career aspirations of their children. Not blatant at any one point in the novel but clearly one key to the developing relationships and to resolutions to conflicts is a core group composed of several no longer young men that formed in their college age years. Such a core group is rarely found in the real world or in novels either.

This book is a page turner and early on you will begin pulling (praying?) for those folks to work it out.

A great first novel!

I am proud to say I bought Sid's very first book and loved reading it. Rollo has covered the overview so well, but I want to comment on the theme and characters. I thought it was so very creative to use the bookmobile as a center of so much action and activity, and much to my surprise it kept popping up throughout the book. It was so well described I could picture myself being there. I "got into" the characters quite early in my reading, and my interest kept growing. I especially appreciated the comfortable but truthful way the Christian message was presented. I know lives will be touched when reading this book. A Great first novel! Excited to read your next one.

Why Sidney Wrote Where Love Once Lived:
The idea for writing a bookmobile story came to me while driving one back in the 1960's. I was a college student at the University of Texas assigned to drive for a feisty librarian who got us into trouble with the head librarian several times because of helping our patrons in ways unrelated to books. I wanted to write a humorous novel about her, but quickly learned I didn't know much about writing.

The nudge to write the bookmobile story came again in 2004, and this time I said no because I knew it would be too hard. The very next Sunday, my pastor, Dr. Jeanie Stanley, said this: "Trust the Lord God with your dreams and He will help you achieve them." This gave me the idea to turn the whole project over to God.

To remind myself I wasn't alone, I wrote a prayer which I printed and taped next to my computer.

Dear Lord, be my source of inspiration. Give me the words you want the world to hear. Help me create the story and the characters to convey your message in such a way as to be desirable to the business world of publishers. Guide my hands and stay in my mind and my heart while I write and while I edit. Amen

By then I was smart enough to know I needed practical help as well so I started taking online basic fiction writing classes. At the time I was in the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus and rehearsing three times a week for eight or nine months out of the year, and didn't want to take on a large writing project. But, God wouldn't let me use that as an excuse. I retired from the chorus, continued to study and started writing Where Love Once Lived.

I don't want this to come across sounding like I believe my book is the word of God. Far from it. All I'm trying to say is that I had a strong urge to write and publish Where Love Once Lived. I hope it makes the reader laugh and cry, and if just one person should happen to move closer to God because of it, then the effort was worthwhile.

Purchase Links

Amazon Kindle

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Or, go to http://sidneywfrost.com/wlol_buy.htm to see all purchase options.

Author Bio:
Sidney W. Frost is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. He's also a Stephen Leader, a Stephen Minister, and a member of his church choir. He is an Adjunct Professor at Austin Community College where he teaches computer courses. He has a Master of Science degree from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Long Beach.

He is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Writers League of Texas, and the San Gabriel Writers' League.

Awards for Where Love Once Lived include First Place -- 2007 SouthWest Writers Contest in the Inspirational/Spiritual Category, First Place -- 2007 Writers' League of Texas Novel Manuscript Contest, Romance Category, Third Place -- Fourteenth Annual Lone Star Writing Competition, Northwest Houston Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, Inspirational Romance Category and Finalist -- 2006 Yosemite Writers Contest Novel Category.



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