I have read several short stories by Kathleen Valentine, and I have enjoyed all of them. This is the first full length novel of hers that I have read, though. When an author is successful as a short story writer, I always wonder whether they can sustain that level of writing in a full length book. It is with great joy that I found that Kathleen Valentine is a wonderful success at both. In fact, this book will definitely be on my top books read in 2012 list. I was discussing the book with a friend, and we both agreed that this is not your typical romance book. In fact, we both felt that it is not really a romance book at all, but is instead a captivating love story. Being one of the best love stories that I have ever read, I cannot imagine a lot of other books overcoming it.
The characters in this book are superbly developed. Each one has a uniqueness that draws you into their lives and sweeps you along the story line. In fact, I cannot even pick out a favorite character from the book as I loved each and every one of them. The book is set in the 1960's along Lake Erie and focuses on one city where the majority of the residents are connected to the Great Lakes maritime trade. With the combination of her wonderful characters and the beautifully written prose in the book, Ms. Valentine not only makes her love story compelling, but makes the world of these people come alive for the reader. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:
"You can write down your dreams, make pictures of stars but that does not preserve the magic. Nothing captures those gorgeous glimmers of eternity. Yet love, like dreams and starlight, returns again and again in defiance of fears and foolishness"
"Perhaps, I think, it is our longing, and our willingness to see beauty in the most humble of places, that makes us so irresistible to God. "
I am now a steadfast fan of Ms. Valentine and look forward to reading more from her. If they are all as good as this one, I am certainly in for a treat.