In Penny Candy and Other Stories, Trisha Batchelor exploits the strengths of a literary form rarely published today—the short story. The title story captures the longing of a child affected by her father’s absence. In “More Than Lovely” two families though divided along class lines are bonded by a long-hidden secret. “Righteous” explores the familial entanglements that can exist within small towns and how seemingly irreparable mistakes can be made right. In “Millie’s Song,” a young woman emerges intact from a life of recklessness through an unexpected divine alliance. “Paul and Silas” shows how tragedy can force us to face our past. “Jealousy” depicts the connection between siblings in a family fractured by their transient fathers. In “The Station” reality is questioned through the mysterious journey of a group of strangers.
With insight and sensitivity, Batchelor addresses in these seven stories the themes of redemption, matters of the heart, and how the vulnerable extend love within complex family systems.