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The Incredible Winston Browne

The Incredible Winston Browne 1

by Sean Dietrich
Publication Date: 05/05/2021
5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $42.99 $37.50

Sometimes ordinary people do the most extraordinary things of all.

In the small, sleepy town of Moab, Florida, folks live for ice cream socials, Jackie Robinson, and the local paper's weekly gossip column. For decades Sheriff Winston Browne has watched over Moab with a generous eye, and by now he's used to handling the daily dramas that keep life mildly interesting for the town's quirky residents. But just after Winston receives some terrible, life-altering news, a feisty little girl with mysterious origins shows up in his best friend's henhouse. Suddenly Winston has a child in desperate need of protection--as well as a secret of his own to keep.

With the help of Moab's goodhearted townsfolk, the humble and well-meaning Winston Browne still has some heroic things to do. He finds romance, family, and love in unexpected places. He stumbles upon adventure, searches his soul, and grapples with the past. And in doing so, he just might discover what a life well-lived truly looks like.

Beloved writer Sean Dietrich--also known as Sean of the South--returns with a rich and nostalgic tale about community, kindness, and the meaning of the everyday incredible.

Historical Fiction
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Sean Dietrich

Sean Dietrich is a columnist, podcaster, speaker, and novelist, known for his commentary on life in the American South. His work has appeared in Southern Living, The Tallahassee Democrat, Good Grit, South Magazine, Yellowhammer News, The Bitter Southerner, Thom Magazine, and The Mobile Press Register, and he has authored ten books.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • A heart-warming and uplifting tale, brilliantly to

    by on

    “Throughout his life and career, he’d seen enough senseless tragedies to know that wallowing in self-pity was a death sentence in itself. Some folks never quit wallowing once they started, and it killed them early. Self-pity was like a dangerous painkiller; it felt good somehow, but it turned you into its slave. So he made a promise to himself, right there, right then. He was not going to wallow. Not anymore. One morning of wallowing was enough. Winston Browne was going to live right up until he died.”

    The Incredible Winston Browne is the fourth novel by American columnist, podcaster, speaker, and novelist, Sean Dietrich. After a lot of poking and prodding by the doctor in Pensacola, fifty-two-year-old Winston Browne has a diagnosis, a decidedly unenviable one. He has been the Sheriff of Okeauwaw County in the Florida Panhandle since he returned from the war, and the prospect of a shortened future is unwelcome news: he’s not yet ready to “go to Glory”, as the obits put it.

    His job is not terribly challenging: Moab, population 912, elevation 17ft, is a tiny town that sits on the Escambia River, home to mill workers, drunks, gossips and old biddies making jellied salads, people who engage in church ice cream socials and complain about the unsightly new neon sign over Ray’s Café.

    Win and his moderately incompetent deputy, Tommy Sheridan spend their time doing odd jobs for local elderly people and widows, and delivering sacks of groceries to shut-ins. Win coaches the baseball little league and plays scrabble with his good friend, Jimmy Abraham. And, of course they all listen to the baseball: it’s 1955, and almost all of Moab is Dodgers mad.

    But just then, nine-year-old Jessie, strangely dressed and resolutely reticent, lands in Moab after an extended journey involvinga coded sentence, from a place to which she fervently wants not to return. She knows not to talk about it. People took risks to help her escape, and she’s not sure how she feels about what Ada wrote in the letter. Will she ever see her again? Will Ada make it out alive?

    Jessie is surprised at the genuine welcome she receives: even those people she initially fought off are kind to her; Eleanor Hughes, the Sunday School teacher, takes her in; Sheriff Browne takes an interest but respects her refusal to say more. Win makes enquiries far and wide, failing to find Jessie’s family. But when some strangers try to abduct Jessie, the townspeople close ranks around her.

    This disturbing little drama plays out against a background of fairly ordinary small-town happenings that include: a wedding, the town drunk drowning in the river, late mail deliveries because the Postmaster has no staff, a teen who’s quit school to support his polio-damaged mother, a magic spot under a tree festooned with coloured bottles, petrol theft, an unexpected love triangle, a tenacious red dog and a persistent gray cat.

    The Moab Social Grace column in the Moab Messenger is merely one (very entertaining) device that authenticates Dietrich’s rendering of the era and the town’s mindset: Margie Brach’s commentary is usually gossipy, often inane, and occasionally quite pointed: “Mr. Leonard Bradley and Miss Sylvia Grantham are engaged and are rushing the wedding.”

    Dietrich’s tale is wonderfully atmospheric: clearly, he is a talented storyteller, of the calibre of Stephen King, but without the paranormal aspect. He gives the reader a slow build to an exciting climax, but there’s also plenty of humour, some lump-in-the-throat moments and a beautiful resolution. A heart-warming and uplifting tale, brilliantly told.
    This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction.