The Splendor of Ordinary Days

The Splendor of Ordinary Days

The Splendor of Ordinary Days (NAL, October 2015)

The pastoral charm of small-town Watervalley, Tennessee, can be deceptive, as young Dr. Luke Bradford discovers when he’s caught in the fallout of a decades-old conflict.

After a rocky start as Watervalley’s only doctor, Luke Bradford has decided to stay in town, honoring the three-year commitment he made to pay off his medical school debts. But even as his friendships with the quirky townsfolk deepen, and he pursues a romance with lovely schoolteacher Christine Chambers, several military veterans’ emotional wounds trigger anger and unrest in Watervalley.

At the center of the clash is the curmudgeonly publisher of the local newspaper, Luther Whitmore. Luther grew up in Watervalley, but he returned from combat in Vietnam a changed man. He fenced in beautiful Moon Lake, posting “Keep Out” notices at the beloved spot, and provokes the townspeople with his incendiary newspaper.

As Luke struggles to understand Luther’s past, and restore harmony in Watervalley, an unforeseen crisis shatters a relationship he values dearly. Suddenly Luke must answer life’s toughest questions about service, courage, love, and sacrifice.

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  • Dr. Luke Bradford finds himself staying in a small town because he happens to be the only doctor. He has promised to stay for 3 years and pay off his bills for school. Christine Chambers is the schoolteacher who has caught his eye. The towns citizens have been fighting for many years. Luther Whitmore is someone that Dr. Luke Bradford thinks can help him fix the towns problems. Maybe the doctor cannot solve all of these problems. But, what should he do. This book is a “Novel of Watervalley”. Anyone who loves small town life will love this story and all of it’s characters. I give this book a 4/5. I was given this book for a review by Litfuse Publicity Group and all of these are my opinions. –

  • The book has a very slow start. There were more than a few chapters before a plot was clearly developed. I had trouble getting into the book at first. There was also more than a few words in this book that I think should never be in a christian book. The author also wrote about alcohol consumption a few times. With that said the character development was very good. I think everyone has people in there life similar to each character that was in this story. I also like the fact that the book takes place in Mennonite country.

    I give this book 3 stars.

    I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for my honest review.

  • This book was a wonderful read. I’d have to say one of my favorite parts is when he visit’s the Mennonite town. I really enjoyed this book and I expect many more great reads from this author.

  • This review is for the book “The Splendor of Ordinary Days” by Jeff High. This book is the third book in the Watervalley series, although I would not have guessed that without reading it in the very back of the book. High does a great job of making you familiar with the characters from the beginning, and intertwining their pasts without making you feel like you’ve missed something when you haven’t read the other books.

    This novel involves lots of characters, but mainly revolves around the town doctor and his girlfriend. There is also a grumpy newspaper editor who steals a lot of the spotlight in the book. The book focuses a lot on military veterans, as well as the townspeople and their relationship with nearby Mennonites.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this third novel in the Watervalley series, as I did the first two. What a great novel about a small town in the south. Dr. Luke heals not only physical bodies but deep hurts as well. The witty dialog is great. The quirky characters are wonderful. Yes, there is a little cussin’ and drinkin’, just like real people in real towns. I recommend this series to those who like a story of small town America and don’t mind a little reality.

  • The Splendor Of Ordinary Days by Jeff High was a fun book to read. This is the third book in the Watervalley series and this is the first book that I have read and I was able to figure out what was going on so you don’t have to read them in order if you don’t want to.

  • Not being familiar with Jeff High’s writing before, I was struck by the sense that he must take particular pleasure in writing playful dialogue, especially that between Luke Bradford and Christine Chambers, and to developing the blossoming relationship between these two. But for me, the real appeal was this story’s takeaway: to never give up on anyone. To remember that no matter the crusty exterior, everyone has their soft spots, and no one is beyond redemption.

  • What is it about ordinary days? There’s always the mundane daily activities that makes ordinary days – mundane. However, if one looks deeper, there’s always something about ordinary days that makes it special and that is the splendor of it all. With Jeff High’s “The Splendor of Ordinary Days”, you will read how typical days in the small-town Watervalley, Tennessee, can be special in it’s own way.

  • Jeff High’s writing is a dream to read. The emotion and explicit description are so well done I felt like I was living in the small town. I found all three books relaxing and enjoyable. Book three, laced with mystery and romance, can stand alone, but I’d recommend reading all three; simply because they’re good. I’m hoping there’s a fourth book soon. The only down side I can find is some of the language; I’d rate the series PG-13. The stories are not overtly religious. Instead they’re a glimpse into the lives of Christian folk and a few skeptics who are trying to live everyday lives in the midst of a small town, country atmosphere. For me the stories are refreshing and reminiscent of my growing up years.

  • I was so excited about reviewing this book because it was amazing. If you love the writing style of Jan Karon you will adore this book.

  • By The Book says:

    The Splendor of Ordinary Days is reminiscent of Jan Karon’s Mitford series with its rural Tennessee setting and slightly quirky characters. Yet this third book in the Watervalley series has a bit of an edge to it — characters face complex challenges and troubles. Told through the first person voice of outsider and town doctor, Luke Bradford, Jeff High’s novel is a good pick for those looking for a small town getaway with heart.

  • This book while not a CBA book, is very entertaining. The story does get a bit heated, and I remember a couple of usages of four letter words, if those are huge issues for you, then don’t read this book. If not issues, then by all means read it, it is truly enjoyable. The imagery of this book is beautiful, the quirky characters make it funny, and the true life situations made it sad. So all rolled up in one is a book that will make you laugh and cry, and wish to visit Watervalley, Tennessee. My favorite part is the singing, that is all I will say about that, because I don’t do spoilers.

  • Jeff High’s gentle, witty exposure of life in a Southern small town was a pleasure to read. His wordsmithing skills were particularly entertaining and a delight to read. I love his ability to “turn a well-turned phrase.” He makes you fall in love with each of the story’s characters – even the old curmongerly newspaper man.

    The gentle life in Watervalley is disrupted by a bit of tension and some violence. Violence that is toned down by Dr. Luke Bradford’s splendid interference. Dr. Luke is the town’s only doctor and he has grown to love the townspeople in all their flawed glory. He especially has grown to love the beautiful Christine Chambers. Their romance is punctuated by their passion and desire which they manage to control.

    Relationships with a neighboring Old Order Mennonite….

  • For lovers of small-town fiction, “The Splendor of Ordinary Days” is not to be missed. Even the title has that perfect, poetic, lazy summer day feel to it. With distinctive characters who run the gamut from the young doctor/hero to the DJ who speaks in song titles, to the old lady who”loves Jesus but drinks a bit because it keeps her regular”, and too many others to name, this story held my attention from the opening page until its very end.

    It is a charming tale that has a sweet romance, a bit of mystery, and a touch of a ghost story plus just the right amount of humor, drama and action. As Dr. Luke interacts with his patients and the townspeople, he finds himself in the unique position to not only learn some old secrets but to help reconcile some long damaged relationships. The author sensitively relates the very real problems experienced by men and women returning from war. I gained a new understanding of their struggles.

  • The characters are very real in the story, which makes the reader dig in. However, if you’re looking for a book that is clean without language, this book doesn’t have that. It is humorous, captures small town life well and will keep you reading once you get past the first few chapters as the plot slowly begins to develop. This is also the third book in this series. While having never read the other two, I did not find it hard at all to read this book. This book can be read as a stand alone. If you’re looking for a small-town read with great character depth, an interesting plot and a story that has a plot of charm, yet some struggles, this is an interesting book. If you’re not interested in reading a book with language, then don’t pick up this book.

  • Cara Putman says:

    In a time where life is complicated, rushed, and hurried, this book paints a picture of community that fills the soul — at least mine. I loved it, and will be looking for other books from this author.

  • Dr. Luke Bradford finds himself staying in a small town because he happens to be the only doctor. He has promised to stay for 3 years and pay off his bills for school. Christine Chambers is the schoolteacher who has caught his eye. The towns citizens have been fighting for many years. Luther Whitmore is someone that Dr. Luke Bradford thinks can help him fix the towns problems. Maybe the doctor cannot solve all of these problems. But, what should he do. This book is a “Novel of Watervalley”. Anyone who loves small town life will love this story and all of it’s characters. I give this book a 4/5. I was given this book for a review by Litfuse Publicity Group and all of these are my opinions.
    – See more at:

  • Moments says:

    Jeff High brings readers a story that will transport them to a small town and a feeling of returning home in his book, “The Splendor of Ordinary Days.” Luke started out merely fulfilling a commitment he made to be a doctor in Watervalley; however, the roots are there and hold him captive including his heart.

  • I was intrigued by this series when offered the chance to review this book, so I bought the digital versions of the first two novels, More Things in Heaven and Earth and Each Shining Hour and read them first. While The Splendor of Ordinary Days can be read as a standalone, I loved having the background of the characters and events that preceded this third novel of the series. Watervalley is a quaint and often quirky small town in the Tennessee hills, and Jeff High captures all of the nuances–good and bad–of a community that has weathered war, betrayal, unrequited love, and more. High populates the town with characters of all sort, and the strength of this novel likes in the development and interactions between the various individuals.

  • I really enjoyed this series. The author has come up with a great and likable character in the 30-year old single doctor on his first practice taking over a clinic in a small town. The books are written in first person point of view, which isn’t my favorite, but some authors can pull it off better than others, and this author pulls it off very well.

  • I love the coming together of the community in regards to how they honor their veterans, not only those who died while serving in the various wars but also those who are alive and continue to pay the ultimate price with what they have to deal with on a daily basis. It seems that is what is missing in most towns in this country is the love of our military and also the ability to come together as communities when the need arises. Perhaps that is why I love small town novels like this one, because it gives readers an idea of how wonderful life can be when we all work together, and thus the need to rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

  • Book by Book says:

    I love a good story full of Southern small-town charm (and challenge). The Splendor of Ordinary Days offers a delightful story with a steady pace and quirky characters, as Luke continues to develop relationships in the small town and deals with the town’s curmudgeon, Luther Whitmore. An all-around enjoyable read, it has me eager to read more of the Watervalley series. I highly recommend The Splendor of Ordinary Days.

  • I love the setting for this story, and the major theme is dear to my heart, Veterans, and love how these town rallies. Come along for a really enjoyable time and good humor, you won’t want to leave.

  • This novel is my introduction to Jeff High’s writing, and I am a fan!! Granted, Leyland’s language leaves a lot to be desired, but the source of his vitriolic personality is something that has changed the landscape of several lives. He is a very realistic picture of what bitterness does to change someone’s life. In short, all of Jeff High’s characters are very easy to know and recognize – and love. He paints beautiful word pictures and his story touches your heart over and over again.

    I’ll be revisiting this series – and catching up with the other books of Watervalley very soon!

  • Normally, I’m one of those gals where, if there’s not a lot of action, I’m lost in the book. The Splendor of Ordinary Days doesn’t do that to you. I found myself engrossed in each flourishing or debilitating quality- even Rhett, the dog! The development is so on point, you can’t do anything but love them all, even crass and obstinate Luthor.

  • My Full Cup says:

    If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent a few wintery days curled up on the couch watching cute, sappy movies on the Hallmark channel. But for those of us who don’t have cable, I highly recommend Jeff High’s book, The Splendor of Ordinary Days. Set in the cozy town of Waterford,TN, this is a book full of fascinating characters, belly laughs, and a splash of small town romance that will keep you hooked to the very end.

  • In Jeff High’s Watervalley novels, I have found a new author whose work I love. This story is filled with so many delightful elements – rural Tennessee setting, humor, romance, Southern charm, quirky characters, respect for military service, and even a touch of the supernatural. Jeff does an excellent job, both in storytelling and expressive writing. I enjoyed The Splendor of Ordinary Days very much and will seek out more Watervalley novels. This book ends with a tempting offer presented to Luke, so I eagerly anticipate the next in series. Recommended to all who enjoy general fiction with small-town settings.

  • Fic Gal says:

    I love this cover. The title and the cover just go perfectly together. I would totally put this on my wall if it was a painting. It looks like a painting and I love the colors. I could see myself jumping into this place so I could lie down on a chaise lounge and curl up with a good book. I’m assuming that’s Luke and Rhett in the picture.

    I really enjoyed this book. I don’t think it will appeal to everyone because it is a slow paced book. That isn’t a bad thing because I think Jeff’s writing is great and it kept me interested all the way through the story. This is the first book of his that I’ve read and this is the third in a series but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything which is how I often feel if I’m not reading the first book.

    Read rest of review on my website.

  • With all the charm that makes me love authors like Karon and Gulley, Jeff High is quickly making his way to the top of my favorites list!

  • As book three in the Watervalley series, it is a very relaxing and old fashion read. I have not read book one or two and was able to pick this one up and read it, not feeling as I had missed anything. The book is about the character Luke Bradford, the town doctor and is relationship with Christine Chambers, the town school teacher. As we learn more about their story, you also learn about the towns people and how they all entwined together as a community…………

  • The Splendor of Ordinary Days, written by Jeff High, unfolds around you like a warm blanket on a chilly night. It just makes you feel. good. Cedar Cove, Gilmore Girls and Mitford fans will want to get their hands on this book as well as the rest of the series! I’ll admit that I was originally charmed by the cover of the book but I was further enchanted by the vividly captured residents of small town Watervalley, Tennessee as well as the clever, heartfelt and entertaining dialogue. I’d love to step into the pages of this book and take up residence.

  • In this charming story, I especially liked the way that author Jeff High takes us into the main character’s head. It’s easy to imagine Luke driving down the road with his girl, or how he rushes to the scene of an emergency situation on the town ball field. The story is endearing, and the characters are relevant to the plot. My favorite character was Connie, Luke’s housekeeper. She reminded me of the owl from the Disney movie The Fox & The Hound in her wise, maternal guidance. The book is not a Christian fiction novel, although the story is relatively clean and certainly quite tame compared to much mainstream fiction. There are a few uses of mild profanity which usually seemed to be in line with the character. It’s definitely worth a read!

  • WV Stitcher says:

    I love books that pull me into a small town setting where the characters are easy to know and care for, making me feel as if I become a part of the town for a short time, and that’s just what I found within the pages of The Splendor Of Ordinary Days by Jeff High.

  • This book was a delightful read about small town living, at least that is all it seemed like at face value but it is so much more than that. This book is a quaint story that deals with Vietnam vets and other issues. The characters are utterly charming and the author does such a good job at making endearing characters that it makes you wish that you could meet many of them! A wonderful read with a warm center that one really enjoys. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • I love the Mitford Series books by Jan Karon, so when I saw this book compared to this series I was very excited. I honestly didn’t think that the cover of this book was very eye-catching and I’m not certain I would have picked up this book if I hadn’t read a review on it.

    I really liked the small town story of Watervalley. I had not read any other books by Jeff High, but I was definitely intrigued enough by this small town that I would like to read the beginning story of Watervalley, More Things in Heaven and Earth. I was hooked from the very first chapters of this book and came to love each character within this small town. Even ornery Luther grew on me and became one that I looked forward to seeing within the story.

  • Amber Writes says:

    High’s storytelling makes you feel like you’re a part of the Watervalley community and have lived the very stories he’s telling. I greatly enjoyed my time spent reading The Splendor of Ordinary Days, and I expect to read the other two books in the Watervalley series in the future. If you enjoy small town series, don’t hesitate to jump into Watervalley!

  • The Splendor of Ordinary Days is another captivating addition to Jeff High’s Watervalley series starring Dr. Luke Bradford. With a cast of delightfully quirky but caring characters, this charming story is incredibly heartwarming with a poignant storyline that will tug at the reader’s heartstrings.

  • One of the reasons I wanted to read this book was because they compared it to the Jan Karon “Mitford” series. I was not disappointed! It truly is that type of feel and I will definitely be reading the first two books and looking forward to others in this series! These characters just made you feel like you were a part of their town and that you were even friends with some of them! The story pulls you in and keeps you there.

  • There’s a lot to like about this novel with its small-town setting, array of characters, and sincere topics of forgiveness, service, courage, and love. I particularly enjoyed the pieces of setting the author wove within, as well as the ordinary, daily interactions between many of the side characters and the town doctor, Luke Bradford.
    Perhaps the best portions of the novel are those focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly among veterans. Several different characters had served in different ways, and all were dealing with PTSD in various forms. These scenes allow for a great deal of consideration on the effects of PTSD and how communities can be aware of different needs and offer healing.

  • Dr. Luke was an interesting and likeable character, his curiosity kept me interested in the book. He had a way with the neighbors that made them like him. A lot of secrets caused tension, which caused problems between the community and the plain community that was nearby. I liked the ending, the author did an amazing job of pulling the story together for an heartwarming end. I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy a good, relaxing read.

  • This is the first Jeff High book I’ve read. I loved it and am looking forward to reading more about Watervalley and the people who live there.

    Watervalley has secrets that are hurting people. Will it hurt them even more when the secrets are out in the open? I must warn you that even though you will laugh while reading this book, you may very well need a box of tissues near the end. I did.

    You will find a bonus here. But please don’t read this until after you read the part in the book where Connie and Estelle are discussing their family reunion.

    Thank you so very much, Jeff High.

    ***A special thank you to litfuse for providing a review copy.***

  • If you love the writing style of Jan Karon you will adore this book. The Splendor of Ordinary Days is the third book in the Watervalley series and the first one I have read. Even though the book is a continuation of characters it can stand alone. High’s introduction of the book definitely covers anything you should have known in the previous books. Jeff High is a spellbinding storyteller. I did not want to put the book down because I was afraid the Watervalley spell would be broken and I would lose my new friends. This book has it all: mystery, romance, small town living, Mennonites, ghosts, legends, traditions, and history….LOVED IT! I am definitely going to get the first two and read them.

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