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The Four-Leaf Clover
A Novella (23,000 words)
Originally published in mass market paperback in 2004 (Fourth of
July Picnic anthology)
Norman Sterling, the wealthy mayor of Peace,
Missouri, shocks himself at his town's Fourth of July picnic by
proposing to the beautiful Mildred Gresham, a beauty he's worshipped
from afar for more than six years. Equally as shocking is Mildred's
quick acceptance. If only he were possessed of a silver tongue, if
only he could tell her how truly he loves her.
Millie comes alive in Norman's arms, but her
reticent husband never tells her he loves her. As he grows more
distant she is tormented that he loves another. Will she ever be
able to secure her husband's love?
"Cheryl Bolen's Four-leaf Clover is too adorable for
By Mrs. Giggles
Set in the late nineteenth century, 4th Of July Picnic tells the stories of people falling in love during the Independence Day celebrations in Peace, Missouri. This is a very short anthology and therefore, the stories won't make too much of an impact as they are like those small bite-sized chocolate chip cookies people buy to shut up their kids during the long journeys across the country during the holidays. The stories won't change any reader's life but I really like Cheryl Bolen's story...
Cheryl Bolen's Four-leaf Clover is too adorable for words. The mayor, Norman Sterling, has always been in love with Mildred Gresham for six years and counting but all sorts of circumstances prevent him from ever telling her how he feels about him. Mildred loves him too but she never says a word because he never does. This 4th of July, Norman is finally free to court Mildred but even when they are both finally free to get the fireworks going, things are never easy in love. Misunderstandings galore usually make this kind of stories painful but Norman is a too-cute hero whose unabashed, open adoration of Mildred is oh-so-romantic. How can I resist a man who tells the woman he loves, "As my wife, you will be cherished" and that's even after a few clumsy, nervous stammerings because he was still the shy kid inside despite his tough-rich-guy exterior? Mildred is a more stereotypical nitwit character but I'm sure these idiot heroines are not going away anytime soon so I may as well suffer her presence.
"Plenty of sensuality, a fast-paced
story... and a true sense of the historical time period."
Fans of Cheryl Bolen will notice she’s
tried her hand at something new with her latest effort, “The Four-Leaf
Clover,” a novella appearing in the collection Fourth
of July Picnic out this month from Zebra.
For one, instead of her usual settings in Regency
England, she starts us at a Fourth-of-July picnic in post-Civil War
Missouri. But don’t think
that the shorter format means Cheryl has short-changed her readers on
the elements they’ve come to love in a classical Bolen read:
plenty of sensuality, a fast-paced story, the everyday tug-of-war
between husband and wife, and a true sense of the historical time
Norman Sterling, the town of Peace’s reticent
mayor and a budding state leader, considers himself the luckiest guy in
the world when Millie Gresham agrees to marry him.
In honor of the occasion, he gifts his bride-to-be a four-leaf
After the wedding, Millie, a daughter of the South,
is thrilled by her new husband’s loving attentions. In fact, their married life is so blissful, Millie’s only
trouble is learning to share Norman with all of his community
responsibilities. The ups
and downs of Norman and Millie’s marriage parallel those of so many 21st
Century marriages where couples have to juggle family, career and love
lives. Norman and Millie’s mutual regard for one another helps
them endure and ultimately saves their marriage when, through their own
good intentions, they create the obstacles that threaten to tear apart
their paradise in Peace.
This one is a fun read and will keep you smiling as
the naïve Millie learns to please her husband and the reticent Norman
learns to speak his feelings to his energetic young wife. It also will show you why Cheryl’s last book, An
Improper Proposal, was a sell-out.
Cheryl’s novella is the middle story in a trio.
Picnic features “Peace of Mind” by Pat Pritchard and “The
Magical Elixir” by Tracy Cozzens.
Pick it up for a fun summer read.