The astute reader will notice that this review is not from Saints & Sinners 2010: New Fiction from the Festival. There’s a reason for that. The next story in the collection is by Jewelle Gomez, who is the guest judge for this year’s new fiction contest. I submitted a story to the contest. Though the works are judged “blind” (the identity of the author withheld from the judges), I feel it is appropriate to postpone my review of her story and offer you this instead.

“Pearl” by Kelly Rand (Storm Moon Press, 2012) is a stand-alone story I enjoyed very much. Edith is an Everywoman stifled by her conventional life. It isn’t turning out the same way the lives of everyone else around her are, probably because she isn’t trying to get it to, but that’s not what worries her. Though she never thinks it so directly you get the feeling that she’s dreading the possibility that her life will turn out to be an engagement party, followed by a wedding, followed by a baby shower, and so on. She longs for a more adventurous existence, and finds the possibility for one when she meets Clark, the mysterious guest of her next door neighbors. He slowly draws her near, lets her know his secrets, and lifts her out of her humdrum world.