Country Pride is a book of two short stories by Candice M. Wiester that takes its name from the first story. Both works draw the reader in with an easy, conversational style. Yet, the two take very different approaches when it comes to examining relationships. Where the first story borders on sentimental, the second is far more pragmatic.
In “Country Pride” Wiester introduces Susan Matthews as the narrator. Susan, with her husband and their two children, moves from their Chicago suburban home to the family farm she inherited in Indiana. The focus is not about any adjustments such a transition might entail; rather it’s a warm, even sweet, description of the friendship that develops with a nearby elderly couple, Arty and Sarah Anderson. As Susan gets to know the Andersons, she learns about their strong sense of pride – so intense, in fact, that it keeps them from asking for help when they are in desperate need. With the exception of Allen and Agnes, the Anderson’s ne’er do well nephew and his equally unscrupulous wife, it’s easy to care about what will happen to Wiester’s characters.
In “Ask Me No Questions, I’ll Tell You No Lies,” Wiester serves up an affable account about Sharon, a young woman in love with the wrong man. The setting is less important than the previous story, so more attention is given to Sharon who tries to sort through her feelings. Along the way, a mysterious bank account and a past boyfriend help move the short story at a fast pace.
Unfortunately, a few editing errors, such as switching from first person point of view to third in “Country Pride,” and misidentifying the main character Sharon as Susan in “Ask Me No Questions, I’ll Tell You No Lies” are hard-to-ignore distractions. Those who can overlook such issues should appreciate Wiester’s descriptive stories and likable characters.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.