In Ressler’s debut romance, two former acquaintances, a widow and widower, reunite after 35 years, each searching for the love of a Christian partner.
In 1982, Kent Hartman is a thriving, middle-aged millionaire consultant who’s devoted his life to his Christian faith. His wife died 10 years ago, and although he’s ready to open himself up to a relationship again, he knows he can only love a woman who has a personal connection to Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Penny Carson’s parents die in a car accident. Kent was once friends with Penny’s older brother, and he knew the family well when he was a young man in the 1940s. He heads to Lancaster to pay his respects, and he looks forward to seeing Penny again. He last heard from her decades ago—a simple letter about her marriage to her high school sweetheart, Samuel Carson. He has no idea that Penny is also widowed, and that she, too, is searching for love with a devout Christian. As characters, both Kent and Penny seem impeccably moral, and they overcome their emotional hardships with a grace and kindness that’s too simplistic to be believable. Penny is the better developed character, and when Ressler reveals the abuse in Penny’s childhood, readers will have some sympathy. However, the primary focus is on the happiness and peace that Penny has found in her present, and unfortunately, peace and happiness don’t make for compelling fiction. The only threat to the main characters’ budding relationship is the fear that one of them might not really be the Christian that the other is searching for. But because readers know about both characters’ relationships with Jesus from the start, there’s no basis on which to build tension. Nothing is stopping the romance, so there’s nothing at stake and no room for Kent and Penny to grow.
A contrived, predictable love story with underdeveloped characters.