30 July 2012
Review: Central Park Rendezvous Novella Compilation
Most Barbour novella collections are four separate but related romances, usually four friends or siblings, four people in the same location, or four members of the same family in different generations. While Central Park Rendezvous follows this general pattern, the actual execution is different and I really liked that originality. Each story features a romance that is some way related to Central Park (the title of the collection is a big clue), gold coin from the Civil War, a soldier who has been changed by his wartime experiences, whether physically or mentally.
The first story is Dream a Little Dream, by Ronie Kendig. It is set in the present day, and is unusual in that it is actually told in several parts, so that it forms both the beginning and the end of the collection, introducing and rounding out the four stories. Jamie Russo meets Sean Wolfe, who has recently returned from Afghanistan.
A Love Meant to Be by Dineen Miller is set in 1973, in the Vietnam War. Alan James is off to war and plans to reunite with Gal Gibson when he gets home. But Gail’s sister foils their reunion, until Jamie, his niece, finds out and trys to make things right thirty-eight years later.
To Sing Another Day by Kim Vogel Sawyer was my favourite individual story. Set in World War II, it was the story of Helen Wolfe, who has to relinquish her dreams of being a professional singer when her fiancé abandons her and she has to care for her family. She pawns a family heirloom, a Civil War gold coin, to feed her family, an act which changes everything.
Beauty From Ashes by MaryLu Tyndall provided the Civil War perspective, through the story of William Wolfe, who gave his fiancé, Annie, a gold coin engraved with his initials before going to fight in the Civil War. When he returns home, he finds Annie changed from her letters… and her sister has the coin.
Central Park Rendezvousis the best Barbour novella collection I have read, both because of the quality of writing of the individual authors, and because of the originality of having four stories so interwoven that story one is actually told in four parts, yet manages to fit into the whole, and all centred around a reunion in Central Park. An excellent beach read.
Thanks to Barbour and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.