The paperback is now available at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon. It contains all 11 of the stories that comprise Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of the digital edition.
The wonderful Hawaiian novelist, Kiana Davenport, wrote about this book: Reading Valentine's stories, I understand that this is not just an entertaining collection about a fabulously rich culture. She is memorializng her people, and her town. Thus, this becomes a fascinating and educational look at a region and culture relatively unsung in American literature. THE WHISKEY BOTTLE IN THE WALL, VOL. 1-3, SECRETS OF MARIENSTADT, is a tribute to a people and a place, the Pennsylvania Dutch, and their contributions to American history.
With compassion and satire, and beautifully detailed writing, Valentine has delicately chiseled out of these seemingly ordinary lives, the unique, profound, and quixotic traits that make each character memorable, even epic. Please read these stories slowly, then read them again, because while we are reading about life, love, and birth and death, we are also learning the rich culture and traditions of one of the most fascinating communities in our United States.
The stories are also available as a digital "boxed set" for both Kindle and Nook. All eleven stories are included. Or you can buy the 3 volumes individually for Kindle only. Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3.
These stories are exceptionally dear to my heart because everyone of them is rooted in stories I've known most of my life. I hope that you will enjoy them.
This an not just an entertaining collection of stories about a fabulously rich culture. Valentine is MEMORIALIZING her people, and her town. This becomes more than just a novel, but also a fascinating and educational look at a region and culture relatively unsung in American literature. THE WHISKEY BOTTLE IN THE WALL, VOL. I: SECRETS OF MARIENSTADT, promises that the entire collection will be more than just a slice of small-town America. It will be a tribute to a people and a place, the Pennsylvania Dutch, and their contributions to American history. With compassion and satire, and beautifully detailed writing, Valentine has delicately chiseled out of these seemingly ordinary lives, the unique, profound, and quixotic traits that make each character memorable, even epic. We are offered history as well as comedy and tragedy.
- Kiana Davenport, author of Shark Dialogues and The Spy Lover
In November of 2011 I published an eBook novella called The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood. So many people loved it that I was overwhelmed by the comments and emails I received about it. Mostly they loved the setting, a small fictional Pennsylvania Dutch town very loosely based on my hometown, St. Marys, Pennsylvania. They also loved the main characters, Father Nicholas Bauer, the Catholic priest determined to revive traditions from the Old Country, Gretchen Fritz, the owner of the local quilting shop, The Calico Cuckoo, and Oliver Eberstark, the former local heartthrob who is now a recluse living deep in the heart of Opelt's Wood.
Because I was so moved by the wonderful comments I received I decided to write more about Marienstadt, my fictional hometown. Now, eight months later, I have written 11 stories and added to the cast of characters. Some of the stories are funny, some romantic, some sad, there is even one ghost story! Each story is complete in itself but, when read in sequence, they build to a climax. They will be released in three digital volumes and then, finally, in a paperback called The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall containing all eleven stories. The stories are as follows:
The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secrets of Marienstadt
Synopsis of The Stories
I - Peeper Baumgratz and the Sister's Snowplow
When Peeper Baumgratz wrecks his truck into the side of the Bucktail Tavern and then goes on the lam, Chief of Police Henry Werner recruits woodsman Oliver Eberstark to hunt him down. Because Henry does not want to see Peeper go to prison he concocts a scheme for him to do community service by working for the nuns at the local convent who are trying to start a snowplowing business.
II - The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall
Titus Winter is the great-grandson of Jubal Winter, the giant logger and fisherman who came out of the north woods and helped found Marienstadt but, while doing research on his ancestry, Titus made a discovery that has left him ashamed of his illustrious ancestor. During renovations on Town Hall an old whiskey bottle is found between the walls with a manuscript in it that tells a very different story.
III - The Great Dumpling War and Dance Competition
In an effort to promote Marienstadt's history of traditional cuisine, Father Nick Bauer wants to compile a cookbook but runs into trouble when some of the local ladies don't want to share recipes. He calls on Mulligan Wolfe, a pig farmer and former dance champion, for help. With Lola Eckert's assistance a recipe contest begins. Meanwhile Gretchen Fritz gets hoodwinked into entering Mulligan's dance competition with Patrolman Dean Ginther.
IV - The Confession of Genny Franck
When Father Nicholas Bauer is called to hear the Confession of 103-year old Genny Franck she tells him she first wants him to hear her story. She tells him about her family's escape from the Old Country, about meeting her beautiful husband, the musician Daniel Franck, and how his death at a young age left her with terrible choices to make.
V – Drugs, Alcohol, Bacon, Firearms
A black bear has taken up residence in Fischer's Mill, an old grist mill that was once a notorious moonshine operation during Prohibition. While checking on the bear Henry Werner and Oliver Eberstark begin to suspect someone is running a meth lab and using the mill for drug deals. Both the drug dealer and the bear have got to be found and dealt with.
VI - The Day The Viaduct Blew Down
While sorting through boxes of old photographs donated to the Marienstadt Historical Society Candy Dippold makes a strange discovery, a photograph from the 1930s of a barnstorming pilot flying a biplane under the famous Kinzua Viaduct. He is determined to find out who the mystery flier is and how he did this stunt. Meanwhile Chief of Police Henry Werner has his hands full with complaints about the guillotine Candy just built and a bunch of kids who have turned an old washing machine into a tank.
VII – Of Beautiful Strangers, Woodchucks, and Bearded Ladies
Crazy things are going on in Marienstadt! A writer from a NY City magazine is in town interviewing the local food businesses for an article, a group of people are trying to raise money to buy back a 17-foot tall fiberglass woodchuck, a portfolio of photographs of a mysterious bearded lady is discovered in Marshall's Stationary Store's basement, and heart-throb Henry Werner has finally met his match.
VIII – The Legend of Father Cuneo's Grave
When attorney Matthew Schreiber receives news that Delilah Lonigan has died in Texas and left her entire estate to her brother he is shocked. Delilah was rumored to have been murdered decades ago by a priest now buried in a haunted grave. Skidder Hoffman, her brother, is an old wood hick who lives alone in the forest. It is up to Fred Sarginger, the owner of The Snuff Box Tavern, and Candy Dippold to break the news to him.
IX - The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood
When Father Nicholas Bauer tries to revive Marienstadt's ancient Belsnickel tradition he recruits his two friends from childhood, Oliver Eberstark and Gretchen Fritz. Oliver, once a handsome and popular athlete, is now a recluse who rarely leaves Opelt's Wood. Father Nick is determined to learn what happened to change him and Gretchen rediscovers why all the girls in high school had crushes on him.
X – Wapiti
When Oliver Eberstark runs afoul of Judge Hamilton Buerk by refusing to allow elk hunters in Opelt's Wood, he seeks out Blaise Hanes, a local taxidermist and authority on Native American lore. As he talks to Blaise about why he feels so much more protective of elk than of other wild animals, Blaise helps him come to a realization that will change Oliver's life.
XI - A Long Day's Journey Into Light
On a bitterly cold February day two old men, Ezra Winter and Tater Feldbauer, go missing. Everyone in Marienstadt is out looking for them. While driving the old logging trails searching for them Henry Werner remembers another bitterly cold winter day when, out of his feelings for the only woman he has ever loved, he committed a crime to protect her, and how that affected the rest of his life.
Thanks for reading.