Author: Steven Manchester
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
First Published: 2013
Page Count: 269
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Though the start of the book is slow going, there is a touching story whose characters will keep you reading.
*Heartfelt plot *Touching characters
“Standing guard, the rockin’ chair/ waiting for our sinless gang.” It seems like John McCarthy is in for a lonely rest of his days after the passing of the love of his life. However, John is pulled from his mourning when he is faced with the realization that his family life has been far from perfect. They have fond memories but there are icy events from the past that have gone on torturing the family long enough. John McCarthy must take on the task of fixing past mistakes and he must make sure his emotionally damaged grandchildren can find their proper places in the world.
Again, this review was a toughie. Ultimately, when you reach the end of the book and look at it as a whole you can’t help but admit that the characters and their personal stories had grabbed your attention. You genuinely care about their futures and you’re rooting for them to overcome their very unique pasts. As with all of Steven Manchester’s books, you gingerly begin to care for the characters and plot as the story unfolds but it isn’t until the end when it really hits you how involved you had become in their world. This is the saving grace of his books because I prefer books with a little more action and his are all about the human experience and how we use the time we’re given, but the way he writes could wrap anyone up in his stories because they are so real and so emotional.
My big problem was the beginning of the story. I really thought I wouldn’t end up recommending this book because the story didn’t grab me as fast as Manchester’s other book, Goodnight, Brian, did. I was bored and not really interested in giving this book a shot, especially since my last read, Dead Until Dark, was so action packed and this just slumped in comparison. In fairness, the beginning is completely necessary to the story as it introduces the characters. Even so, it dragged for me. It’s after John McCarthy’s grandchildren come into the picture and everyone’s back-story’s are brought to light that the story really picks up. Before that, you might find yourself wishing you were reading something else.
I have a love and, not so much hate relationship with Manchester’s stories, but maybe more of a dislike. Only one of his books has really knocked my socks off and the other two just haven’t matched it. This story is definitely my second favorite of what I’ve read from him because there is a good story here with another great family of characters. That’s why there’s no way I can’t not recommend it. However, if you’re going to check out Manchester’s work for the first time, this would not be my first choice recommendation for you.
*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.