THE LAST VALENTINE by James Michael Pratt

THE LAST VALENTINE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Love, as tested by war and time, is affectingly celebrated in this artless and affirming first novel that, previously self- published, appears now in a trade edition. Pratt's story is strictly for the tenderhearted. His characters are one-dimensional, his ending predictable, his writing more sincere than graceful--and yet in serenading love he hits the right note. Two stories are told. One of them began over half a century ago in Pasadena, California, when new student Neil Thomas was kissed by Caroline Jensen in the school yard. The other begins in January 1998, when widower and son Neil Thomas meets unmarried TV reporter Susan Allison, who's looking for the perfect love story to air on Valentine's Day. After his mother's death four years earlier, Neil wrote an account of his parents' love story that attracted widespread attention. Susan now reluctantly reads that story, and just as reluctantly meets Neil in the family home in Pasadena. Her attitude changes, though, as the project gets underway and as she finds herself both moved by the story and fast falling in love with Neil. Told in flashbacks, the parents' romance parallels the progress of the TV production and of the love affair between Neil and Susan. On Valentine's Day in 1944, when Lieutenant Neil Thomas, en route to the war in the Pacific, parted at the station from Caroline, his wife of one year, he promised that no matter what happened he'd come back for her. Her faith is affirmed when, decades later, Neil's letters, crucifix, and grave are found in the Philippines. His remains are dispatched to Caroline on Valentine's Day, and, true to his promise, she is reunited with her beloved with this, his last valentine. Pratt's debut novel, like Casablanca, tugs at the heart and brings out the hankies. Sincere, heartfelt, and a natural for television. (TV rights to Vonzernick-Sertner Films; Literary Guild alternate selection; author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18121-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997




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