Romantic fiction about high school sweethearts who struggle to find their way back to each other a decade later in the 1960s.
In his debut novel, Hall begins with a disturbing scene that sets the stage for the entire story. Wholesome, beautiful teenager Penny Kilmer is working at a shoe store in her sleepy hometown of Stratford, West Virginia, when her much older employer sexually assaults her and threatens her life. Traumatized by the rape, Penny ends her relationship with her doting, long-term boyfriend, Tyler Harrison. The narrative then skips ahead, depicting Penny as she continues to heal emotionally and following Tyler as he moves to Washington, D.C., to transform himself into a successful businessman. Although it’s been several years, Penny and Tyler each still pine for each other, and they begin to make their way back together. But just as it appears that they may actually reconcile, Tyler endures a terrible airplane accident, which separates the couple once again and nearly costs him his life. He’s paralyzed from the waist down, which dashes his optimism and motivation. As other obstacles appear, readers can only hope that love will prevail. Hall’s coming-of-age story is written in fast-paced, plot-driven prose that brims with romantic suspense. The author provides many intriguing details, specifically about the growing real estate industry of mid-20th-century America, while also showing Tyler’s rise to power as being the result of dedication, kindness, and creative thinking. Although the story’s ending is hardly a surprise, readers will glean satisfaction from Hall’s cleverly crafted scenes and witty, realistic dialogue; for example, in one scene, Penny tells Tyler not to wait too long to propose marriage. “ ‘What’s too long?”’ he asked. ‘Well,’ she chuckled, ‘if some day you get a kick in the crotch, you’ll know it’s been too long.’ ”
An engaging tale of love and personal growth that will appeal to fans of second-, third- and fourth-chance romances.