This 2014 Eric Hoffer Award-winning classic is Lere Skomal's poignant coming of age vel, ostensibly written for young people but better appreciated by adults. In the apex of the wooded matriarch is where he felt it-his oneness with the willow. The branches fluttered with his weight, as he fused into them. He moved as it moved and vice versa, in a synergistic dance; an extension of the lumbering mammoth and it of him, connected in some unfathomable way. It's the summer of '54 in the sleepy midwestern town of Sand Flats, Nebraska. Four lonely misfits forge an unlikely friendship under the draping branches of the third willow-a safe place where humor, magic and sorrow coexist. There they discover that best friends can ease the pressures from the adult world that threaten to steal their incence. Ringleader Hap-a poor man's Peter Pan-is unwilling to let the abuse of his alcoholic father taint his boyish optimism while he secretly searches for his missing mother. Obsessed with his Indian roots, he constructs a carefree world on the outskirts of town. As the new kid in Sand Flats, tomboy Patsy joins him, eager to escape her father's iron rule and the pain afflicting her wounded brother, a Korean War veteran. Together, Hap and Patsy befriend timid Beah, who struggles to earn the love of her cold mother following the death of her only brother. It takes levelheaded Raz, the eldest of the only Jewish family in town, to be the conscience of the group. Told through their eyes, this is a tale of a summer of unbridled adventure, which ends unexpectedly and abruptly forces them all into adulthood. As tender as it is intense, Third Willow will transport you to the last summer of your incence.
Lenore Skomal wants you to eat her books. She wants you to chew them in your teeth, savor them on your tongue, breathe them in, and feel her words in your skin. Her passionate desire is to touch your heart, inspire you and invite you to luxuriate in the world of the written word. She finds ecstasy in constructing a perfect sentence and responds willingly to the nagging ache in her heart to create an authentic experience for the reader. She is an award-winning author with the single goal of resonating with others. Winner of multiple awards for blogging, literature, biography and humor, her catalogue spans many genres. With 30 years of writing experience, over 17 books published and an upcoming Broadway play, the consistent themes in her work are the big issues of the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence. Her work has won the Whidbey Island Writer's Conference honorable mention for best fiction, Writer's Digest 73rd Annual Fiction Contest, New York Public Library's Best Book for Teens 2003, the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award for humor for Burnt Toast, the first anthology of her award-winning humor columns, International Book Awards finalist for BLUFF, her first novel, and the prestigious Eric Hoffer Finalist's Award for Young Adult fiction for Third Willow. From journalism, to literary fiction, to humor and biography, her writing is consistent, if not in genre, then in message. Check out her website at www.lenoreskomal.net.