FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE
The Anniversary Waltz had its beginnings the day my wife and I took our parents on a drive to a heritage park. En route, our parents began reminiscing about their individual courtships and how friends had planned a shivaree for them on their wedding days. A shivaree was a local custom of friends separating the bride and groom, after the wedding, as a prank, and keeping them apart for a while. They might put the bride in a wheelbarrow and push her up and down Main Street. Or take her to someone’s home and keep her there for a while. All in good fun.
On the drive that day, our parents explained that for one reason or another, the shivaree intended for their weddings failed to occur. But my mother-in-law reminded us that on her son’s wedding day, his bride was whisked away in a car by friends and involved in a car accident. Fortunately, no one was hurt. But it got me wondering . . . what if? And so I decided to grasp that thread of an idea—what if?—and see where it led. The Anniversary Waltz is the result.
The Anniversary Waltz is a story based on Christianity’s most powerful principle: love. In this case, the love of a young man, Adam, for a young woman, Elizabeth—a young woman who, in a surprise shivaree on the day before her wedding, is involved in a car accident and is somewhat disfigured.
Elizabeth falls into a depression because she feels unlovable and is afraid that Adam is standing by her side out of duty. Or worse, pity. And so she refuses to see him and locks herself away in her bedroom. The plan that Adam comes up with to rescue her from herself and convince her that his love is real is truly moving.
I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles . But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.
THE ANNIVERSARY WALTZ is my first novel to be published and arrived in selected bookstores in May, 2012. It is intended for the adult readers’ market. My second novel, The Return of Cassandra Todd, is also intended for the adult readers’ market and will be available in 2013. I am currently at work on my third novel, A Wedding at Angelo’s, which like the other two is a stand-alone novel, not a sequel. I hope to write a sequel to each published novel sometime in the future.
Darrel and Marsha, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.
“A thoroughly enchanting story full of a wide range of emotions. The characters leaped from the pages straight into my heart.” –Lena Nelson Dooley, award-winning author of Mary’s Blessing and Maggie’s Journey
“Darrel Nelson masterfully transports us back to the days following World War II in this heartwarming story that will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your face.” –M.J. Evans, author of Behind the Mist
“I could not put the book down; each page held the mysteries of love and life.” –Sharon Gibb Murdoch, co-founder of Heritage Makers
“At their sixtieth anniversary, Adam Carlson asks his wife, Elizabeth, for their customary waltz. After the dance they gather the family and share their story…”
It’s 1946, the end of WWII, when Adam Carlson returns home to Reunion, Montana. He’s met at the bus depot by his mother, Maude, but his father, Hector, is still angry and estranged from him for going off to war when he needed help on the farm. Adam, however, picks up and starts to fix up the farm, though his father remains aloof.
Elizabeth Baxter works at Yang’s Dry Cleaner, owned and operated by “Lee Yang. She has a charming manner with the customers and is promoted accordingly. The work is hot and miserable, but she needs a job. She’s dating young Nathan Roberts, who is the loan officer at the local bank and Adam Carlson’s high school rival.
Nathan is an overly possessive man, and doesn’t let her out of sight at the town festival. His possessiveness was difficult to read about. He was so puffed up about his shooting skills that he offered a kiss from Elizabeth to the winner of a gun shooting game. What a hair-brained idea! Men and their physical prowess! He was bested by Adam. And Elizabeth made good on the kiss!
Darrel Nelson, in The Anniversary Waltz, writes a heartwarming, sweet romance story between Adam and Elizabeth that is mixed with love, fun, anger, fear, and courage in the midst of tragedy, overcoming and thriving through devastating times.
The tender and romantic story of Adam and Elizabeth was exciting to read, as you felt a romantic camaraderie on their behalf, especially with Adam’s dad so gruff. Their berry picking time was embellished with stories of their lives in order to get to know more about each other. Typical lovebirds before their wedding.
Elizabeth shared that Ty, Adam’s close first cousin, and Julie planned a shivaree the day of the wedding. So Adam and Elizabeth planned how not to get whooped. The hilarity of trying to outsmart Ty and Julie was comical. All the planning and sneaking. And then the tragedy. It hits you right between the eyes, as you were anticipating a beautiful wedding, with Adam and Elizabeth outwitting the two.
Adam’s overwhelming emotions of anger, fear and outrage were predictable and maybe even right. Yet Adam’s faith couldn’t leave him there. God used his time in Germany, when he was almost blinded, to help him calm his emotions enough to talk to the others. It was heartwarming to see how God used what he learned.
Elizabeth’s recuperation time was difficult. It was easy to relate to her feelings. But Adam knew they needed to stretch, grow and not get bitter. To follow through with their wedding despite the tragedy. It would have to be the grace of God that propelled them forward. He did, and we have this story today.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole story. It is well written, real and personable. Though this book is fiction, it is based on actual events in the author’s family as indicated in the author’s notes.
This book was provided Althea Thompson of Charisma Media in exchange for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was exchanged.