Robert O. Barclay's THE PONDER LEGACY is a quirky, charming, quiet romance between two people who have been stuck in the mud so long they are on the verge of petrifying. Marianne has loved her next-door neighbor and best friend, Matthew, her whole life, but he can't imagine making any changes to his daily routine or their life-long friendship. When Marianne, in a frustrated move to force him to act, announces she's leaving town, Matthew has to figure out what to do.

Matthew is a slow, methodical, and naove middle-aged man who's never even come within wishing distance of romance. Marianne is sharp, feisty and determined to stir things up. The story almost feels like a play, with its tight focus on just two characters, intimate setting, no subplots and only minor secondary characters.

Barclay distinctly evokes the pace of small-town life. His language is grandiose in spots, but his voice is clear and true to his characters. THE PONDER LEGACY is an unhurried stroll down a cool, secluded, romantic byway. (Jun., 240 pp., $14.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kay Mayo