A charmingly old-fashioned account of small-town romance by former journalist-turned-novelist Brown (Rose’s Garden, 1998). In the summer of 1969, despite the moon landing, the little English village of Hursley is still in many regards closer to feudalism than to the space age. Sleepy, picturesque, and compact, it’s a place defined by familiarity and routine, and guided by the certainty that nothing in life is unprecedented. But Norris Lamb, a middle-aged bachelor who serves as postmaster of Hursley and organist of St. Alphage Parish Church, has discovered to his amazement that the world can change—not because of the Apollo mission, but because he has fallen in love: “You—ve been awakened, Norris Lamb, he says to himself, after a long sleep, as it were, a sleep that might have, save for Providence’s intervention, gone on forever.” The woman who has awakened these feelings is Vida Stephen, a local spinster who looks after the mentally retarded son of a well-to-do architect. An innocent with no experience whatsoever in dealing with women, Norris is at something of a loss as to how he should press his suit, but he eventually hits upon an appropriate (for a postmaster) solution: anonymous love letters. Having friends in the trade, so to speak, Norris is able to get his letters posted from abroad, and so Vida begins to receive testimonies from a secret admirer who apparently lives in Greece, Egypt, and any number of exotic locales. The coincidence is that Vida’s artsy Uncle Laurence lives in Corfu, and Vida is thinking of moving there herself. By the time she finds out who Norris really is, in fact, she has already packed and bought her ticket. Has Norris lost his final chance? Or will his life change even more radically than he imagined? With men walking on the moon, there’s no telling where the realm of possibility ends. Engaging, coy, and surprisingly effective.