Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester
Published by The Story Plant
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Number of Pages: 355
Review Copy from: Author
Edition: ARC My Rating: 5
Synopsis via GoodReads:
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.
My Thoughts and Opinion:
I seem to ask myself the same questions whenever I start to read the latest Steven Manchester book… can he do it again?… can he make me feel the emotions of his characters?…. will I relate to the cast?….will I imagine the settings from his descriptions?… will this read stay with me? …will this book be at the level of the bar that HE, himself set with his first book, Twelve Months?…what about his other books..Goodnight, Brian and The Rockin’ Chair? OK..let’s see so those questions can be answered!
From the first sentence, the reader is swept away to become one and part of the story because of the talented writing style by this author. Not only does Steven Manchester have the gift to pen stories about matters of the heart and relationships, I believe what puts him above many others, is that he truly writes from the heart. It is apparent that he writes about what he knows best, life, but he also has the ability to make his written words come to life in poignant stories.
The Cast: are believable and relatable even though I hadn’t experienced the situation of a divorce, which both Rick and Abby were going through when they were reacquainted, I could feel their emotions as the author described. I did know, and feel, the level of love between mother and child and kept putting myself in Abby ‘s shoes asking myself what I would do in this situation? Does a mother protect her child at the expense of personal happiness? (You will have to answer this question yourself)
There were so many other emotions, situations, experiences and feelings that were brought to mind in comparison and relatability to my own life, both present and past. One example, that brought back vivid memories and emotions of my childhood, of Christmas shopping with my Dad and sister in downtown Providence:
pg 126 Smiling faces, framed in woolen scarves and colorful earmuffs, released a chimney of steam into the starry night and most waved at him. Shop windows, adorned in the year’s latest clothing styles and ingenious toys, beckoned the masses…..Massive garlands, strung from lamppost to lamppost, dangled red-bowed wreaths at each center.
The Setting…it was easy for me to visualize since the setting mainly took place in southern New England with a quick getaway to Aruba, both places I personally have visited during different stages of my life. Places like Lincoln Park , a large amusement park that I haven’t thought about in years and has been long gone, Fenway Park, the corner neighborhood store and the beautiful beaches of Aruba. But I can guarantee that even if you don’t know this area, you will have no problem creating the exact imagery of what he describes.
The Answers: Yes to all!!! A lasting memory and a read that met the bar!! Once again Steven Manchester delivered!! As with all his books, they are written about love, compassion, parenting, growing, pain, relationships, family, disappointments, all the experiences and emotions of life as we all know it. Steven Manchester’s books are written with those very emotions and he allows his readers to remember, relive and feel. His books are timeless!
I have to be very honest, however. I did have one very big disappointment. It was when I started reading the final chapter and knew that the final word would be soon approaching. Why? For me, since I have read every one of his books, I now have to wait another year, waiting for his next novel Goosebury Island, which will be released in May 2015. I highly recommend and urge you to pick up this or any of his other books…..you won’t be disappointed. But like me, I’m sure you will become a Steven Manchester fan and waiting for and wanting more! In my opinion, PRESSED PENNIES, as all his books have, will be winning awards!
Bravo Mr. Manchester and thank you!
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