The short story genre has never been my favorite, but this collection by Jan Bowman is excellent. After I read "Mermaids" and enjoyed it, I decided to slow down and treat myself to a story per day. Over the next ten days, I looked forward to my bedtime story and enjoyed all of them. Bowman's adult and child characters are diverse and authentic, as are their angst and frustrations as they deal with the circumstances life has dealt them. My two favorites are "Mermaids" and "After the Rain" because the characters' problems and life situations (a young girl's parents' bad marriage and an elderly lady trying to keep her dignity and her home) are realistic and and revealed in an honest, creative way.