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The Key to Everything ~ Review

The Key to Everything
By Valerie Fraser Luesse

Peyton Cabot's father came home a changed man - the war and its horrors were too much - they broke him. Seeking to numb his pain he has sought refuge in bourbon, but it just may be his downfall.

There was nothing Peyton could do to stop the accident from happening and now his father's body was as broken as his spirit. With another family tragedy on top of his father's injury, Uncle Julian seeks to seize control of the Cabot family fortune and further destroy Peyton's father. Peyton's willing to do all he can to help his mother and protect his father, even if it means the summer he planned to spend with Lisa is only a lost dream.

When Peyton's parents send him to spend time with Aunt Gert in Saint Augustine his summer is about to become one he never imagined. Hoping to get a chance to better know the man his father used to be Peyton sets out to follow the journey his father made when he too was just fifteen years of age. Can he learn what his father discovered all those years ago? Or have too many changes come?

As Peyton pursues his journey he grows into a person he hopes his father would be proud to call son. But, as his mother tells, this journey is more than pedaling a bike. Peyton has choices to make - choices that will stay with him long after he puts his bike away and returns to his life. He makes discoveries about his family that will forever alter how he sees them.

This is an excellent read and one I would have no hesitation recommending to most readers. It is set in the post-WWII South but it has a timeless message that is for any era. There's right and there's wrong and those who pick the right with no thought of gain are few and far between.

The Key to Everything is well-paced with an emotional tug throughout most of the book. It is a celebration of family and of life. Sometimes we have to risk everything to obtain that which is most important and the journey from here to there often helps us to see more clearly just what is truly important. Valerie Fraser Luesse brings her characters to life so that reader has no choice but to be drawn into their lives and care about what matters to them. In my opinion, this book is worthy of more than one read and I applaud the author's work.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:

"Promise me you'll never come back here, Peyton.
It's too much-it's just way too much."
Peyton Cabot's fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents' devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams, Lisa Wallace.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle all the way to Key West, Florida. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton's journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined--namely, the key to his unknowable father, a reunion with Lisa, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

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~ Blooming with Books