A quiet, everyday romance about a somewhat-naïve freshman co-ed who’s being courted by two men – her tutor and her choir director.
The backstories add the spice to this narrative. Mary Lakas, the object of affection, is a wannabe musician who deferred her dream after the death of her mentor, Sister Justine, to major in physics at Marsh University. Her tutor Mark is almost an accidental boyfriend; beginning with some awkward gestures and dialogue, he eventually becomes less gawky and more protective of Mary as their relationship matures.
Waiting among the pews? St. Cecilia’s choir director James Byron, who assumes his job to earn money, paying off medical bills generated by his late wife and late baby. He’s immediately attracted to Mary, but hesitates, either because of his recent losses or the uncertainty about Mary’s feelings.
As they say, “he who hesitates . . .” Mark gets the girl for now. At the end, though, we see James insisting on establishing a friendship with Mary, resulting in an invitation to Christmas lunch with her and her father. The book’s abrupt ending, in part, stems from a planned sequel, more to read about the adventures of Mark and Mary and James.
Every story movement, for the most part, is documented through quick and casual conversations. Some dialogues reveal well their speaker’s personality; others are a bit clunky, seemingly intended to forward the narrative. When Sweet talks music through Mary and James, though, the words sing. Here Mary explains her love for the art: “Music makes me feel the same way. Big. Beyond myself. Connected with the people around me. And beautiful.”
AUTUMN FOR DRAGONFLIES reveals the normal ups and downs of lives devoted to the arts, to learning, and to the church, intertwined in small town, heartfelt ways.
Reviewed by Barbara Jacobs for IndieReader