Wes is a graduate student being pushed my his history professor to reconnect with his father. The father who abandoned the family when Wes was young. His father has letters from the Civil War and Wes needs them to complete his history paper. Wes tries, but it is hard for him to forgive all the pain his father has caused.
Emmy Stewart is the nurse Wes is dating and is ready to marry. But Emmy has her own past to content with. When a teen she unknowingly caused the death of her old boyfriend. His parents have never forgiven her, even though she has been asking for it for ten years.
Wes and Emmy work on their issues, their individual ones and their relationship together. At times it looks like there is no hope for a future together. Wes must learn to forgive and Emmy must learn to move on even when not forgiven.
This novel is set against a history class on the Civil War. I was lost most of the time about the references to battles and characters. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I'm about as far from those historic battle fields as you can get. The scenes lacked description so it was nearly impossible for me to picture the landscape anyway.
I rarely think a book is too short but this one was. I kept feeling that there was a story in the background that I just wasn't quite getting to. There were references to the history professor's son as an important element yet we do not learn what he means to the story until near the end. He hovers over the story as someone important but you don't have a clue why for most of the book. (Elsewhere, this book is identified as a sequel. Nowhere on the cover, or in the book, is that stated!)
There is a lack of descriptive passages. The writing is very tight. One goes through a scene and I would feel like I missed something, just because the scene was not fleshed out.
The story is developed from the various character's viewpoints. The history behind the current story is not revealed in chronological order. Because of those two issues, I think, I never really connected with the story. I never connected with any of the characters.
Then end of the story comes fast, much faster than the rest of the story. It just didn't seem to fit the style of the rest of the book.
The strength of this novel lies in its investigation of forgiveness. Almost every character had an issue with it. Some needed forgiveness while others needed to forgive.
Graham Garrison has published articles in several newspapers and magazines. This is his second novel. He and his family live in Georgia.
Kregel Publications, 215 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.