It is 1983 and Troy Stevenson, a former college football legend, is living the life he dreamed of since boyhood. As an executive at a small corporation in moss-draped Verona, Georgia, he relishes his role as breadwinner, protector and leader of his family -- his adoring wife and two beautiful children. But his good life shatters when his emerging alcohol abuse unleashes a family crisis and sends his son to the hospital Deeply frightened, he moves to their weekend cottage to confront his demons. He cant return home until he is certain his wife and children have reason to fear him. Patty, his sweet, reserved wife, stays the course at home with their increasingly troubled children and defiantly withstands the buffeting winds of gossip and scandal that sweep through their small town in the wake of Troy's departure. She longs for the day his self-imposed exile ends and she can welcome him home. But busybodies at Troy's workplace assume he left home because his marriage is in trouble. Brook Emerson, new to the company and romantically obsessed with Troy, is encouraged by the assumption and attempts to seduce him, setting in motion a chain of events with harrowing consequences for Troy and his family.
Ms. Chastain excels at penning a smoothly flowing, polished prose that is years ahead of first novel status. The artful way her sentences move, weaving one scene into the next, left me with high hopes for the rest of her novels. Despite this novel having a large cast of characters once you add in the cast of Troy's workplace, I got to know each character well. They were powerfully and beautifully sketched. I developed a soft spot for Troy's wife Patty Stevenson, a true woman of God with a magnificent and admirable devotion to her husband. Ms. Chastain sketches a Christian but passionate marriage with all the prowess of an armchair psychologist. I think the following scene illustrates Patty best, which shows what happens when her friends try to find out why Troy isn't living at home. Hope Denney, Orchard Rest Reviews * * * Connie Chastain has written a novel that greatly broadened my horizons and for which I owe her a substantial debt. Her novel tells the compelling saga of hardworking family man Troy Stevenson and his adoring, supportive wife Patty. The book grew on me tremendously as I continued to read the extremely engaging story. Chastain has a knack for convincingly, non-judgmentally immersing us in the lives of a very diverse set of characters. It is refreshing to read an author who unapologetically, unostentatiously yet convincingly paints a world in which men are accepted as different from women (as indeed they are), and the differences are celebrated. Troy and his wife Patty are full equals yet have different roles. And they love each other fiercely and with a commitment and devotion that many married people might well envy. J. Steven Svoboda, National Coalition for Men