By Blood or By Marriage
A Harpeth River Writers Anthology
Contributing Authors: Sandy Ward Bell, Suzanne Webb Brunson, John Neely Davis, Micki Fuhrman, Ruth Lebovitz, Michael J. Tucker, Bill Woods
Full disclosure: For the past several years, I have been in a Franklin, TN critique group with the authors of this anthology. I was invited to participate in this project, but prior commitments prevented me from contributing. I have read a number of the stories when they were still works in progress, but this is my first reading of the final edited version of By Blood or By Marriage, the (hopefully) first in a series.
The tone (perhaps a warning) for By Blood or By Marriage, a collection of short stories about family, is noted in the dedication: “It is important for you to understand our definition of family is broad, encompassing more than just a household. … not just because of shared DNA, but also because of the lives they lived, the experiences they shared with us, the lessons taught, but most of all for allowing us to live on the border of fantasy and reality, for allowing our imaginations to run unbound as wild mustangs, and for their encouragement as well as their words of caution.”
Indeed, we can all relate to these stories about relatives — some charming, some lovable, some rich, some downtrodden, some despicable. That is the essence and the charm of this project. Many of the wacky characters and offbeat offspring who fill these pages are my relatives. Or if not, they’re your relatives, and you spent many an hour telling tall tales about them.
You will find a broad range of memorable characters and stories here, all of whom you know personally or perhaps have seen versions of them on television. Sometimes it’s the Addams Family, other times the Corleones. Some stories, you’ll encounter families resembling the Bunkers, others the Cleavers, the Ingalls, the Huxtables. One story, you may be charmed by characters resembling Ozzie and Harriet, the next one the Osbournes.
Some stories are suitable for the family hour, others not so much. But the common thread that runs throughout is that it’s a fun, entertaining read that will trigger memories of those who have been part of your life.
And if you read closely enough, you’ll probably see bits and pieces of yourself that others see in you.