Guest Post by Linda Stewart Henley
Barnaby Brown has had enough of freezing winters, insurmountable debt, a dead-end job, and his solitary life as a young widower with no one but his beloved parrot Popsicle. He yearns to move to California and reawaken his long-lost early life as an artist. But new troubles come in threes. His ancient car crashes into a snowbank. Popsicle escapes through a window carelessly left open.
A New York gallery owner offers to represent Barnaby’s paintings—but is he on the up-and-up? All of it serves to shock Barnaby into confronting how low he has sunk, and he vows—again and again—to change. He has a few obstacles, starting with his heavy drinking and long-term neglect of his ancestral home. As he takes steps toward a better life, he re-discovers the value of old friendships and latent talents seen in new light, and finds the courage to consider a second chance at love. Rejoining the mainstream of life presents several startling mysteries he must unravel, with a few mortifying but enlightening stumbles.
A heart-warming novel about ordinary people reclaiming their dormant potential, Waterbury Winter celebrates the restorative value of art and the joy to be found in keeping promises.
About Linda Stewart Henley
Linda Stewart Henley is an English-born American who writes about artists. Her first book Estelle, a historical novel, describes Edgar Degas’s five-month stay with his French Creole relatives in New Orleans when he was not yet famous. Her second novel, Waterbury Winter, contemporary fiction, introduces readers to Barnaby Brown, an artist who has lost and eventually finds his way. The author lives in Anacortes, Washington with her husband.
Compared to the research she needed to write Estelle, finding information about Waterbury Winter was easy. Estelle, set in New Orleans in 1872-72, required reading about Degas’ family and life in that era. It took many books and a good art catalogue to grasp the details necessary for the story. Waterbury, Connecticut, a middle-sized town, is one that has seen better days, like the protagonist Barnaby. Once the center of the brass industry, present-day Waterbury doesn’t attract much business and very few books have been written about its history. I found three slim volumes and, in combination with the internet, managed to develop a picture of the setting. I have never been to Waterbury, so I hope I got it right. The characters are all fictitious, so I didn’t need to do any research there.