The Incredible Winston Browne, Written and Narrated by Sean Dietrich
Published March 2nd 2021 by Thomas Nelson on Brilliance Audio
About the Book: Beloved writer Sean Dietrich—also known as Sean of the South—will warm your heart with this rich and nostalgic tale about community, kindness, and the meaning of the everyday incredible.
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 interesting for Moab’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. In doing so, he just might discover what a life well-lived truly looks like.
This is one of those books that doesn’t fit neatly into any genre of category. It has some elements of a southern mystery, historical fiction, romance and what I would call life drama. I enjoyed this rather slow moving story, set in Moab Florida. Sheriff Winston Browne had been the law for decades. Not much happened, until a young girl showed up in one of the resident’s henhouses. She was in need of protection and Winston Browne took on the role. She was moved in with a local woman and they became a family, while Winston continued to search for her family. Winston receives bad news from his doctor, and decides to live whatever time he has left to the full. He keeps it a secret, but while sorting out what to do about Jessie and trying to keep her safe, he comes to realize that he has made a difference in the world, at least in his town.
I have never read anything by Sean Dietrich before, but his writing had definitely drawn me in. It is descriptive, showing us the slow lifestyle of this southern town and making me feel like I am there in that hot, sultry Florida summer. The story is set in 1950, where life was slower, entertainment was simple, Jackie Robinson was huge in baseball, but still couldn’t stay in the same hotels as the rest of the team, and life was hard. This is a story about everyday life in a small town, but also shows how they come together to support Jessie, the young girl who shows up in Moab with a story. Jessie’s story is a bit out there, escaping from a cult with the help of her mother and on the run from the leaders, but that is almost secondary to the story of how the town comes together to protect her and support Winston. I loved the character of Winston Browne. He is everything to the town of Moab, and the town and its people have been everything to him, although he doesn’t realize how much he means to them. He has never married, although we do learn about his first and only love, and has no children. We all know it is never to late for love and Winston decides he is going to make the most of his last days. Eleanor is another character that plays a huge part in the story and goes through a lot of changes along the way. I loved watching her grow, it was like a caterpillar that finally came out of the cocoon and spread her butterfly wings. I love small town settings with their variety of characters. Some are quirky and provide a bit of comic relief, some have issues, but most are characters that could be your neighbour and I would love to meet them. This is a story about friendship, love, life’s seeming disappointments, and the goodness of people. Winston Browne is indeed an incredible man, and this was an enjoyable story, I do recommend this one. I did a read/listen with this book and it was a great way to enjoy this story. Dean Dietrich does his own narration which I found a bit slow, so I did listen to this one at a much quicker rate. As long as the author has a pleasant and expressive voice, I do enjoy when they narrate their own books as they know where the expression and emotion need to be placed. This was an enjoyable listening experience.
About the Author: Sean Dietrich is a columnist, novelist, and podcast host, known for his commentary on life in the American South. His work has appeared in Newsweek, Southern Living, Garden and Gun, The Tallahassee Democrat, Good Grit, South Magazine, Alabama Living, the Birmingham News, Thom Magazine, The Mobile Press Register, and he has authored thirteen books, and is the creator of the Sean of the South Podcast.
There is a great interview with Sean Dietrich on Amazon, click here to access it (scroll down about halfway). You can also visit his webpage, Sean of the South, and access his blog posts. Twitter: https://twitter.com/seanofthesouth1