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Can-do Stories

I am a very determined person. Some might call this trait stubbornness, but if anyone ever dares to tell me I can’t do something, I will try my hardest to prove them wrong. This has mostly worked to my advantage, causing me to accomplish things I might otherwise not even have tried. The characters in the following books seem to have a little stubbornness, I mean determination, in them as well.

“I do tasks.” This is the business card of Davis Winthorpe, title character of Under the Bridge and Back Again: The Winthorpe Mysteries, Part One by Mike Bradford (1stBooks, $19.95). Davis is a man who, after losing his job to “economizing,” is determined not to get burned by the corporate rat race again. After setting up a business just doing whatever folks need done, he is barely making ends meet. However, business begins to look up when wealthy, salty-tongued Louisville businessman Harry Snapp hires him to solve a fairly mundane mystery concerning a coveted property. Little does Davis know that he is about to become entangled in a web of murder, lies, and romance that will change his life forever.

Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, by Alice Hegan Rice (University Press of Kentucky, $14.95), was originally published in 1901, reaching bestseller status. Its message is still an applicable one of determination and unending optimism. Mrs. Wiggs is a single mother widowed by her husband’s entry into “eternity by the alcohol route.” She struggles daily to feed her five children, but she is determined not to ask for help or to take charity from “the institution.” Instead, she optimistically endures hardships that would crumple most anyone’s enthusiasm for life, always quick to help her neighbors in their own time of need. In the new foreword, Wade Hall describes Mrs. Wiggs and her children as “…poor but worthy people who trust in the Lord and work like the devil to make sure that He delivers.” The stories of the Wiggs family are both heart-wrenching and hilarious, filled with Southern dialect and philosophy.

Dog-gone cute is the latest chronicle of Leigh Anne Florence’s Woody, the Kentucky wiener dog. In Woody The Kentucky Wiener Welcomes A Dad (McClanahan Publishing House, $12.95), Mommy gently tells Woody and his dachshund sister, Chloe, that she is getting married. Woody comically hopes his new “dad” is a puppy, too. However, Chloe immediately fears that her new dad will not love her and her brother as much as he loves Mommy. After lots of loving reassurance and hugs from Mommy, the dogs are excited to welcome this new member of the family. With its adorable illustrations and lilting, rhyming verse, perhaps the dogs’ story can lend some comfort to a child about to acquire a stepparent.

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