One Part Angel: A Novel by George ShaffnerOne Part Angel: A Novel by George Shaffner

One Part Angel: A Novel

byGeorge Shaffner

Paperback | February 27, 2007

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The residents of Ebb, Nebraska, could use another miracle. The last time they needed one, their salvation came in the form of a mysterious, well-dressed traveling salesman named Vernon Moore. Though he turned the town around in six days, now Ebb is right back in the soup, and plucky Wilma Porter–owner of the Come Again Bed and Breakfast–is praying for a return visit from the famous Mr. Moore.

Wilma’s prayers are answered, but not everyone is happy to see Vernon again. Clem Tucker, the richest man in town, is cooking up a business deal that could have dire consequences for Ebb–and he doesn’t like Vernon’s meddling. Nor does the recently arrived Reverend Gault, whose Divine Temple of the Everlasting God Almighty may have something to do with the town’s current troubles. Vernon aims to set them straight, even if it means putting himself and others in danger. But it’s Loretta Parson who needs his strange brand of magic the most–and in the end, Vernon just might need her even more . . . if he’s going to save the little town of Ebb.
George Shaffner has worked in the computer industry for twenty years, most recently as CEO or COO of three international computer companies. He is the father of three children, who are all math refugees.
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Title:One Part Angel: A NovelFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:384 pages, 7.5 × 5.58 × 0.88 inShipping dimensions:7.5 × 5.58 × 0.88 inPublished:February 27, 2007Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345484991

ISBN - 13:9780345484994

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Read from the Book

Chapter 1Back in the SoupYou may remember me; my name is Wilma Porter. I own the Come Again Bed and Breakfast, which is the last B & B in Ebb, Nebraska, and the only one in Rutherford B. Hayes County that is recommended by nine Internet directories. Some time ago, I wrote to you about our local troubles and how they were fixed by an unusual lodger of mine, a man named Vernon L. Moore. Well, a lot has changed since he left, meaning we’re right back in the soup.On the second Saturday of last September, the Bold Cut Beauty Salon was vandalized and set afire by three young men in ski masks. Loretta Parsons, the owner of the salon, Ebb’s sole resident black person and my best friend, was beaten into a coma, which broke my heart, and that’s not all. Before she lost consciousness, Loretta managed to say a few words to Dot Hrnicek, our county sheriff, about the sweater of one of her assailants. A fiber underneath one of Lo’s fingernails subsequently revealed the identity of its owner: none other than Matthew Breck, my grandson. Did I tell you that my heart was broken?The next thing we knew, Matt was sitting in the county jail awaiting sentencing for two counts of attempted murder, one count of first- degree arson, and a long list of lesser offenses that added up to 150 years in prison—if Loretta lived. Then “Hail Mary” Wade, the county attorney, offered him a plea bargain, but only if he would name his two accomplices. As I live and breathe, Matt wouldn’t do it. Hail Mary couldn’t convince him to spill the beans; Dottie couldn’t either. He wouldn’t say word one to his mama or me. Clem Tucker, who is the richest man in southeast Nebraska and my Fiancé in Perpetuity, hired a big-time criminal lawyer from Chicago, but even he couldn’t get through to that boy. Meanwhile, his mama was sobbing herself to sleep every night, Loretta was not getting any better, and two of her assailants were running free, which frightened everybody.Loretta used to call our town the Last Oasis of Nice, but we were in deep, deep trouble and there was nowhere else to turn, so I got down on my knees and asked the Lord to send Vernon Moore back to help us one more time. I’m still not sure I believe what happened next. I didn’t bear witness to every pot he stirred myself but, with the help of the Quilting Circle network, my fiancé, and a few of my men friends—plus a peek or two at some police transcripts—I finally managed to piece it all together.You’ll have to come to your own conclusions.

Bookclub Guide

1. What does the title One Part Angel mean to you? Which characters in this book could be aptly described by the book’s title?2. Why do you think that George Shaffner begins this book in media res–that is, in the middle of things? In your opinion, what was the most surprising thing that had happened in Ebb since Vernon Moore had left town? How is the town changed? How is it still an “oasis of nice”?3. Why do you think Vernon returns to Ebb so unexpectedly? Do you think that the townspeople were awaiting his return? What do you think is Vernon’s most admirable quality? How is he otherworldly? In which ways is he a typical man?4. On page 87, Vernon says, “Between here and history, chance is all there is.” What do you think he means by that assertion? How do the events that unfold in the book support that statement? How do you think this forms a theme of the book?5. Why do you think that Wilma waits for her “perpetual fiancŽ,” Clem Tucker? Why do you think Clem elects to sell off his holdings in the town? What do you think his master plan for the town might be? Do you think the Quilting Circle’s opinion of him changes from the beginning of this book to its conclusion? How about Wilma’s attitude toward Clem?6. Vernon sets out to teach Matt a code of conduct. How does he succeed in doing so? Can you give an example from your own life of how adherence to a code of conduct can make the world a better place?7. Vernon Moore describes belief as the gray area between fact and delusion. Do you agree or disagree with this definition? How does reliance on belief spur problems in the town of Ebb? In the world today?8. How do Matt’s mother and grandmother cope with his actions toward Loretta? How are their coping mechanisms similar and different? How about Mark’s reaction to his family’s tumult? How are the two brothers different? What do you expect to see from them both in the future?9. In which ways is Matt a typical teenager? What about Reverend Gault’s religion might appeal to Matt? How is Reverend Gault himself an imposing figure? How is he easily ridiculed10. At first, Matt refuses to disclose his accomplices in the attack on the Bold Cut because he wants to protect “me and mine.” How does this noble impulse have bad ramifications? What do you think you would do in a similar situation?11. One of the questions Vernon asks Matt is whether life is an individual sport, a team sport, or both. How would you answer this question? How does the answer to this question inform Matt’s own actions–and more broadly, how does it inform world events?12. When Loretta comes back from the dead, the town regards Vernon as a miracle worker. What is your opinion of how she is revived? Do you think that Vernon would ever come back to stay with her and Laverne? Why or why not?13. Vernon says that strength requires selflessness (page 288). Describe how different characters in this novel display strength in the face of adversity. How do those who are strong also display courage and intellect?14. Do you think that the Quilting Circle makes the right decision by buying part of the store, but not of the bank? What do you think prompts their choice? How does the Quilting Circle function as a business entity within the town? How does it form an informal governing body of Ebb?15. At the end of the book, Vernon says that the “chickens are coming home to roost.” In your opinion, does everyone get what he or she deserves at the novel’s conclusion? Were you surprised by anything that transpired?16. George Shaffner has said that this is the second in a three-book series. From the conclusion of this book, what do you imagine will be front and center in the next novel? Which characters do you most want to hear more about?

Editorial Reviews

“A fun read . . . quirky, inspirational.”–The Seattle Times“Delightful explorations of small-town life.”–The Seattle Post-Intelligencer“A story in the tradition of Jan Karon’s Mitford series, albeit with a zanier cast of characters.” –School Library Journal“Shaffner provides engaging characters, quick-witted dialogue, and some very dry Nebraska wisdom.”–Lincoln Journal Star“Readers who liked Shaffner’s first escapist Ebb adventure, In the Land of Second Chances, will enjoy this sequel.”–The Boston Globe“Uproarious and uplifting.”–Booklist