"BRUSH WITH LOVE," by Lisa McKendrick, Bonneville Books, $17.99, 272 pages (f)
With a kiss and a promise to return when things got better, her mother left 3-year-old Lana at a Siberian orphanage. She never came back.
Seventeen years later, Lana has wonderful adoptive parents and a fine arts degree from Yale in the novel "Brush with Love." Her next step is a prestigious art fellowship to begin her career as an artist. But even with warm parents and art, the hurt from her time in the orphanage remains.
An unexpected turn sends her to Bluegill, Idaho, for her fellowship. Compared with Paris or Rome, Bluegill hardly seems inspirational, but Lana learns to love the small town and her aging mentor, LeVan. Her attraction to LeVan's farming grandson, Walt, hardly seems compatible with her artistic dreams, even if she had the guts to tell him how she feels. As Lana and LeVan work to finish his final piece, she learns more than she thought possible about the healing power of art and love.
Aside from the cheesy title, "Brush with Love" is highly enjoyable. Lana and Walt are a sweet pair, and LeVan is especially memorable. The writing is clear, concise and heartfelt. Fans of the author's previous novels will not be disappointed.
McKendrick is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and most of the characters in "Brush with Love," including Lana, LeVan and Walt, are also LDS. The novel references a few LDS doctrines, including temple marriage and eternal families.
McKendrick graduated from Brigham Young University with a master's degree in English and is the mother of seven children. "Brush with Love" is her fifth novel.
"Brush with Love" contains no profanity, violence or sexual content.
To Rachel Chipman, heaven will have books stacked to the ceiling and endless time to read. She resides with one grown-up bookworm and two small bookworms in northern Virginia.