written by Steven Manchester
published by The Story Plant
Why did I pick this book: I was asked by the author to review his book. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
Did I enjoy this book: Yes.
Steven Manchester has the ability to take an ordinary story that readers can relate to and sprinkle it with extraordinary wisdom that readers can learn from. That’s what he does in Pressed Pennies.
It would be easy to call this a love story, but I think it’s more appropriate to call it a hope story. Two characters struggle to find love after suffering through bad marriages and unpleasant divorces. They wrestle with blending families, understanding that it’s not just the wife and husband who get divorced. The children also go through a divorce experience of their own.
They experience love, lost love, found love, deaths in the family, and the importance of relationships through it all. If that sounds a little sappy, it is. Maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much.
The 1/2 star short of perfect you wonder? Manchester shifts the point of view in this story often within a single scene. I got a little confused at times trying to figure out whose head I was in as a reader.
Example: Richard and Abby are kissing in the kitchen and we’re reading the scene from Richard’s point of view. Same scene – next chapter, we read about eavesdropping from outside the kitchen. I stop – how can Richard be kissing and eavesdropping at the same time? Turns out it’s the daughter outside the kitchen. Taking the time to figure this out interrupted the flow of the story for me.
Would I recommend it: Yes.
About the book: Rick and Abby grew up together, became best friends, and ultimately fell in love. Circumstance tore them apart in their early teens, though, and they went on to lives less idyllic than they dreamed about in those early days. Rick has had a very successful career, but his marriage flat-lined. Abby has a magical daughter, Paige, but Paige’s father nearly destroyed Abby’s spirit.
Now fate has thrown Rick and Abby together again. In their early thirties, they are more world-weary than they were as kids. But their relationship still shimmers, and they’re hungry to make up for lost time. However, Paige, now nine, is not nearly as enthusiastic. She’s very protective of the life she’s made with her mother and not open to the duo becoming a trio. Meanwhile, Rick has very little experience dealing with kids and doesn’t know how to handle Paige. This leaves Abby caught between the two people who matter the most to her. What happens when the life you’ve dreamed of remains just inches from your grasp?
Pressed Pennies is a nuanced, intensely romantic, deeply heartfelt story of love it its many incarnations, relationships in their many guises, and family in its many meanings. It is the most accomplished and moving novel yet from a truly great storyteller of the heart.