By Steven Manchester
Luna Bella Press, Inc.
Steven Manchester's Pressed Pennies gives readers so much more than several wonderful love stories, but I must admit I got caught up into the lives of the two main characters that I just have to start there!
Abby Gerwitz was the child of an alcoholic, abusive father. While her mother was very loving, Abby saw how she was treated by her husband and prayed that somehow her mother wouldn't have to be hurt so much, even knowing that she took the abuse so it wouldn't fall on Abby.
But when her father went to work, Abby belonged to a gang of kids that constantly played and ate together. One of those kids, Richard Giles, had saved her from a "hissing squirrel" and they were now even more inseparable, which angered Abby's father even more!
Richard lived with his father and grandmother and both of these individuals played a very important role in the lives of those children. But then Richard's family had to move because they could no longer pay the mortgage on the house.
Abby and Richard were devastated... Especially Richard, since he had lied and told Abby that his father got a promotion and that was why they were leaving.
But, in fact, all of the children who had lived and played on that street had been affected by childhood. Reading about their lives was fun--but it was not surprising how each of these individuals became as adults!`
While the book focuses on Abby and Richard's lives--both of them are now divorced, having made mistakes in their marriages--a beautiful minor love story features Richard's grandmother and a man she married late in life. Highlighting multiple relationship stories is one of the reasons the book becomes so intriguing. Readers read about the mistakes we all have made; but there is also a message of hope for each couple...
I had already decided long ago that the changes that have evolved in America have affected the American family but must they affect our dreams? I think Steven Manchester in Pressed Pennies has effectively highlighted the darkest worries and fears of today's adults and emphasizes that we do not have to lose our dreams--that allowing ourselves to love others and then making sure we work to maintain that love is the most important thing that we can do in our lives.
Aside from the excellent writing and storyline, I must add a note about the use of poetry to complement this novel! Each of the poems was added to highlight exactly what was happening to the individual, whether it was to express hope, fear, or the magic of love. It was not the least bit intrusive, but rather added a dimension to the feelings expressed far beyond what could be done by any romantic scene, although there are lots of those too!
Only you will know whether Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester is for you--those of you who have become bitter or deeply hurt by relationships in your life. You decide...from my point of view, the book is well above 5 in a 1-5 rating! It spoke to me personally in many ways--I hope you allow the novel to speak to you as well...
G. A. Bixler