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Love Stories by Ann Alexander
Ten short love stories of fantasy, magic and reality.

Love Stories, written by the pseudonymous "Ann Alexander," collects 10 previously unpublished short pieces including "Danny Boy," which, according to publicity materials, "won an award from the Butte Literary Council in April 2003." The stories are mostly whimsical and at times the reader expects Rod Serling to step into view with an invitation to the Twilight Zone.

"Danny Boy" is about Emily, for which "certain people in her life carried a tune that played in her head announcing their arrival. Her father always arrived with the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony while her mother came in with Peer Gynt's Morning Theme." Embarrassed in school after writing about what she heard, Emily had "learned over the years to keep the music tucked away in a corner of her mind and the people's tunes played like background music whenever they were in her range.

"But a new mysterious tune had begun playing in her head recently, usually very faint but with occasional bursts of intensity. It was a lone flute playing Danny Boy but it had no human association." But soon it would, and therein lies a tale, of a life saved at the 7-11 at First and Main and of a woman who found the love of her life.

Then there's the sweet story "At the Bidwell Beacon," a retirement home in some unnamed city, and how Madeleine and Nigel met and flirted and danced with walker and cane.

Another story, "Young Woman in Pink," is the title of a painting in the Parkerton Museum and Gallery. A man named Mitchell falls in love with that woman in pink and traces her through the Parker Mansion State Historical Park. Though her portrait was painted early in the 20th century, it turns out that Julia Parker is still alive, a victim of Alzheimer's. The story is about the power of love, with a little Twilight Zone thrown in for good measure.

Because the stories are very short, there is little room for character development; nevertheless, the writer manages to sustain the reader's interest. Love Stories is a charming and tasteful confection, just the snack for a dreamy winter's afternoon. --Dan Barnett, The Buzz

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