I’ve been a fan of Lisa Wingate since I met her at a RWA conference and found out she’s as pleasant and kind as the people in her stories. Truthfully, I was a fan after I read her first book and discovered a writer who can craft a compelling story with characters who aren’t distorted by angst–nice people caught up in awkward circumstances.But meeting her was great too. I’ve blogged about other Wingate novels, but the ones set in fictional Daily, Texas have an aura of their own. Never Say Never is the third book in this collection of interwoven slice-of-life stories served up with a dash of Texas gumption, and it may be my favorite. NSN begins in the vivid sweep of a Gulf Coast hurricane and doesn’t end till the lives caught up in the storm have found a safe haven. Loved that Lisa Wingate found a rhythm for writing a Creole dialect without sounding false or heavy-handed. Loved the open-heartedness of Texas folk with displaced hurricane victims and loved the very real crisis that comes from having dreams up-ended. One of thing Lisa does so well, is slide wisdom across the table like it was a piece of pecan pie. She was able to carry the truism “crisis is an opportunity riding a dangerous wind” into the mouths of characters from different walks and I felt myself nodding along like I was listening to a story told in my own kitchen. Having lived through this similar experience after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and our home church and community opening its arms to displaced people, I felt the NSN situations were real and honest but delightful in their differences too. NSN ended sweeter than many real life hurricane scenarios, and certainly, no one would say that evacuees were all as gracious and flexible as the characters from the Holy Ghost church, but kudos to Wingate for lifting some mud from our not so distant past and making a novel from it. Loved watching the romance between Kai and Kemp unfold, loved the return of familiar friends from previous stories, and loved the sweetness that comes after a dangerous wind passes through. Guess you could say, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.