The Valley of Light

The Valley of Light

by Terry Kay

Overview: In the summer of 1948, Noah Locke arrives in the small North Carolina hamlet of Bowerstown, set deep in the Valley of Light. A quiet, simple man and army veteran, Noah is haunted by the horrors he witnessed when his infantry unit liberated Dachau. Wandering the South, he seeks both to escape the past and to find a place to call home.

Noah is initially treated with amusement by the people of Bowerstown — until he begins fishing. For Noah possesses an almost magical ability with a rod and reel. He soon becomes the talk of the valley and is urged to stay long enough to participate in the annual school fishing contest. He agrees, finding lodging in an abandoned shack by what is known as the Lake of Grief, which the locals believe holds no fish. Noah knows they are wrong; beneath the water is a warrior bass waiting to test Noah's gift. But above the water, Noah's innocence catches the heart of Eleanor Cunningham, whose husband supposedly killed himself after returning from the war. Over the course of a week, Noah will be led into the private lives of the residents of the Valley of Light, will join them as they mourn a tragedy, and will experience a miracle that will guide him home at last.

Uplifting, memorable, and deeply emotional, The Valley of Light is the finest work to date from a brilliant teller of heartfelt tales.

Deanna Boe 03/06/19):Obviously I have fallen in love with Terry Kay’s writing. I am not from the south but his writing makes me feel a part of the south in a way I never could have prior to reading his expressive words. They do flow; they are inspired and poetic in their feel and simply make me feel a part of whatever scene or tale he is creating. It is especially true in this story. I also enjoy how he almost always has an “author’s note” at the beginning of the book telling how and what inspired him to write this particular tale about catfish and a great bass.

We have a man by the name of Noah, a very gentle soul, who has been walking throughout the south by himself. Why? His parents are dead, and his only close relative, a brother, has been put in jail. Noah fought in World War II where he saw the horrors of the concentration camps and lost a very close friend in battle. I can imagine Noah was always a reserved person, but war only enhanced that shyness.

Interestingly enough, Noah has a very unique talent; he can catch fish no matter where he might try, i.e. rivers, lakes, or any small body of water where fish might live. Noah had met a man by the name of Hoke Moore who had told him of this unique, quiet lake where a monster of a bass swam. No one had caught this fish; in fact many refused to even believe there were any fish in this lake. He did not give him the name of this community, just pointed him to the general area where he might find it.

Noah stumbled upon this small community in the hills of Georgia. It reminds me of my small hometown in Iowa; everyone knows everyone. The men sit around and tell “tall tales” or any story that most have already heard many times. They welcomed Noah, especially the man who ran the small grocery type of store. They persuade Noah to hang around until the week-end because they are having a fishing contest which helps to raise money for the local school. Naturally the fishing contest intrigues Noah, along with the fact the owner of the store persuades him to paint his store while he is waiting for the contest. No story would be complete without a woman. In this case her husband has recently died and she is trying to sell her small farm that consists of only rocks. Since she wasn’t originally from this community she has fascinated those who live there, especially after her husband’s death.

This storyline flows smoothly, even with the tragedy that happens. Your heart goes out to Noah and you wonder if he will stay? He does manage to solve a couple of mysteries. This is a small book and can be read quickly, but it leaves you feeling captivated by the Noah and those he came to know.
Rating: *****

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