Friday, May 23, 2014
Review: Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester
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?
I have read all of Steven Manchester's novels and usually find them to be fantastic. He usually manages to get me immersed in the lives of the characters and I want to know them personally.
This time, not so much.
As much as it was sentimental for the characters Rick and Abby to find each other again, I found myself wanting to slap both of these characters upside the head and not wanting to know them at all. Frankly, both made me ill with the sappiness of their "love" story. Honestly, it was a repeat performance throughout most of the book.
Rick loves Abby (and has the heart of gold, along with his pocketbook)...Abby loves him (And hates her ex-husband and does EVERYTHING for Paige)...Paige is bratty to Rick and disrespects her mom...repeat. When it finally got to Rick and Abby making love, I was exhausted.
Steven Manchester had some minor characters in here too, Rick's Dad and Grandmother, Paige's friends, and Abby's ex-husband. I think I would have liked to have seen these characters developed more and why they related to the major characters the way they did. Surely, there was even more backstory about them?
My last issue was the last chapter of the book. I will not reveal what that is because I simply do not do that but I will say it seemed anti-climactic and maybe even misplaced. If anything, I thought the chapter should have been more of an epilogue.
Even with all I have said above, Steven Manchester simply knows how to write! His descriptions of places and times brought me into the story where the characters didn't. I could get lost and usually do in his descriptive edge. This is such a strong suit for Mr. Manchester that is just top notch and because of that he managed to keep me reading to the end.
His prose pieces were also sprinkled throughout the book as the character Rick was a "writer". I loved this even among its sappiness. The pieces were beautiful, eloquently done and well placed within the book.
Though this is ultimately a love story, it is not a dime store romance book. I was pleasantly happy about that and would have been completely disappointed if it had been. In fact, the author clearly worked at making their love hopeful and quite meaningful among everything that was working to keep them apart.
Over all, I liked the book even if I felt it was not Steven Manchesters best. Without a doubt there will be more novels from this author and I certainly look forward to reading them.
This book: 3 stars
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book for my open and honest opinion. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own and may differ with yours.
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