Falling in love should be easy. Effortless. But what happens when you meet the right one in your fifties? Is it that easy to trust someone with your heart and the one you hold most dear to your heart when you’ve been abused for thirty years?
Today’s Bookworm Express features a love story between two people who meet in the dusk of their lives, rather than at the dawn.
This week, Scribbler Alliance brings you the first novel from Brenda Kennedy’s Learning Trilogy, Learning to Live.
The story opens with the serenity and the aroma of freshly baked goods of a bakery where Nichole, a self-reliant woman in her fifties is trying to raise her grandson as her own. But looks can be deceiving. No matter how put together Nichole’s life looks on the outside, there’s a history of hurt and domestic abuse behind her every smile.
Then there’s Luke Tanner, retired army veteran and a man of his principles. For Luke life is simple—working on his own farmhouse, playing with his dog and avoiding a psychotic ex-girlfriend. That is until he feels an invisible pull to the owner of the bakery he frequents. What he doesn’t tell anyone is that he has skeletons in his closet too including PTSD from years of service to the country.
When Luke asks Nichole out, it should be effortless because when two single people are attracted to each other, they should date, right? Alas! It’s not so simple. Luke has to work his way to her heart. As for Nichole, she has to learn to trust Luke; but after being abused by her now deceased ex-husband and her adult son, trust doesn’t come so easily.
Here’s a little excerpt from the novel to give you a taste of this love story:
Just before I take her home for the night, I secure another date for the next weekend. “Is this something you’d like to do again next weekend?”
“Luke, I’d love to, but you should know now that childcare could be an issue for me.”
“I’d be willing to do something with Connor as long as you’re there.”
I think I see her blush, which makes her all the more beautiful. “You’d be willing to go to Chuck E. Cheese and see a matinee on a Saturday afternoon with little Connor and me?”
The way she says that, I’m not sure what my answer should be, but I say, “Yes? How bad can it be?”
She laughs a throaty laugh. “Should I plan on you picking us up around 1:00 pm on Saturday, or should we meet you there?”
“No, I’ll be there to pick you up.”
I walk her up to her apartment and wait for her to unlock the door. She doesn’t invite me in, and I wouldn’t expect her to. I also don’t try to kiss her, although I want to.
“Thank you, Luke. I had a great time, and I can’t wait to learn more about you.”
“I had a good time, too, and this will be interesting.”
“Yes, it will.”
“Maybe I’ll run into you this week at the park.” I’m hoping she’ll tell me a day and a time when she’ll be there.
“Maybe you will.” That’s not the answer I was hoping for. “Thank you and be careful driving home.”
“You’re welcome and I will.” Walking away I say over my shoulder, “Maybe I’ll be in for coffee this week.”
“I hope so. Good night, Luke Tanner.”
“Good night, Nichole Anderson.”
Ah! Love … feels like they’re courting instead of dating, doesn’t it?
Time for my review. First off the positives: this is a feel-good romance story with mentions of darkness but with small points of light scattered around to dispel the darkness. So kudos to Ms. Kennedy on that. And another thing I’d like to point is the flow of the story. Although it feels like a slower read than most, it also feels right for this couple to fall in love slowly rather than diving headfast into a relationship or a bed, or both. I loved how this book divulged information about their pasts like unwrapping layers of paper until the true gift—their souls and love for each other—is laid bare. It’s as if you fall in love with their love as they fall in love with each other. One more positive was how well the storyline was preserved. It was never blindsided by the love story, rather it evolved around it.
The only negative I will count against it is the horrible cliffy we’re left with at the end of it. But it’s a TRILOGY, guys. So we get to read TWO more books, nothing bad about that, right? All in all, in Anne’s scale this book gets 4.5 stars out of 5.
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