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The Thrill Of The Unfamiliar

Most of the time, I find it exciting to explore a new place. I like to search for the adventure waiting to be discovered in a city I’ve never explored, to eat in a restaurant that’s not in my own town, to see what makes the place home to its residents. For me, this is the stuff of which good vacations are made. There have been a few times, though, when being in an unfamiliar place made me uneasy.

Versailles author Becky Sears deals with this type of uncertainty on a raw emotional level in her first work, an unfamiliar place (Lifevest Publishing, $9.99), the title of which inspired this month’s selections. Sears explores her thoughts and feelings through poetry, sharing with her readers what seems to be a glimpse into her journal as she chronicles some of her life’s happiest moments, such as celebrating the wonders of a first love along with some very poignant times in her life, perhaps working out her grief and disappointments through her writing. Sears’ candidness about what she views as her spiritual shortcomings will subtly encourage her readers to investigate their own spirituality. Included are several photos by the author.

Woody, the Kentucky Wiener Dog, returns in his very first chapter book, Tails from the Bluegrass (HotDiggetyDog Press, $12.95), written by his mom-owner, Shepherdsville author Leigh Anne Florence. Originally written as a newspaper column series for the Kentucky Press Association’s statewide literacy project, the children’s book chronicles the adventures of Woody and sister Chloe as they tour the Bluegrass, visiting new places such as Bowling Green, Pikeville, and Paducah. At each stop, Woody shares facts he learns about famous people who lived there, information about interesting attractions, and bits of trivia about our state as he learns what it means to have Kentucky’s “unbridled spirit.”

Master fiddler Davina McKie, the quiet but brave heroine of Louisvillian Liz Curtis Higgs’ latest novel, Grace in Thine Eyes (WaterBrook Press, $13.99), learns all about the uneasiness of being in an unfamiliar place as she travels to the Isle of Arran for a summer with her cousins. What seems to be the adventure of a lifetime for a girl who has never been away from home turns into a hard life-lesson when 17-year-old Davina meets her first love, who is much less naïve and far craftier than she. This heart-wrenching tale of deception and forgiveness will quickly absorb readers into another installment of 17th-century Scottish life as they revisit the McKies of Higgs’ historical fiction series last heard from in her novel Whence Came a Prince. A reader’s guide is included for group discussion.

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