'The Mourning Dove: A Story of Love' unites a young boy to his grandfather after tragedy strikes

By Stephanie Abney

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Dec. 29 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

"THE MOURNING DOVE: A Story of Love," by Larry Barkdull, Shadow Mountain/Deseret Bookshelf e-book, $8.99, 80 pages (f)

Larry Barkdull created a family-friendly tale with “The Mourning Dove: A Story of Love.” Its simplicity is part of its charm.

When 9-year-old Sawyer’s parents are killed in a car accident, he's sent to live with his widowed grandfather, Pop. They soon discover they are well-matched and settle into a comfortable daily routine. Throughout the story, Barkdull weaves simple life lessons of showing respect for all living creatures, honesty, charity and love.

Set in 1959 in Boise, Idaho, this compelling 80-page novella brings to life a simpler time. With its slow pace and lack of the digital distractions of our day, Barkdull shares a tale of healing, growth and discovery for young Sawyer. Pop has a way of letting life teach his grandson and being there to support him along the way. However, life is not without its challenges, and at least one scene may be too intense for younger children.

At first, Sawyer entertains himself playing in the nearby fields. Then, a new boy shows up and they become fast friends. Charlie is far more mischievous than Sawyer and causes him more than a few problems. Being a follower, Sawyer learns his lessons the hard way.

Pop is a master storyteller. Without realizing it, both Sawyer and the reader are reminded of important lessons without feeling preached to. As it ends on Christmas Day, this is the perfect time of year to read it.

“The Mourning Dove: A Story of Love” is an e-book, available on Deseret Bookshelf, a free app for Apple devices, Android and Kindle Fire. Although Barkdull and his wife, Elizabeth, are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this book is intended for the general market and has a universal appeal. The Barkdulls are the parents of 10 children and have 15 grandchildren. They live in Orem.

Stephanie Abney, eternal optimist, private school teacher and freelance writer, lives in Mesa, Ariz., with her husband, Jim. They have five children and 18 grandchildren. Email is sabneyfeedback@cox.net and she blogs at stephaniesaysso.blogspot.com.

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