Can’t Buy Forever by Susan Laffoon

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review

This is a nice love story. I found myself thinking about some of John Irving’s novels as I read this story. The characters are so easy to feel for and I had to keep reading in order to see how it would all come together in the end. The author created a strong story completely led by the characters. She also does a great job of “showing” the story to the reader instead of “telling” them. That’s what I appreciated the most. I found myself getting so lost in the story, I lost track of time.

In the early 1950s, Odessa Drake (Dessa) is rescued from a bleak existence with a single mother. She takes a chance on the unknown to work in a boarding house owned by a widowed great aunt in Mineville, New York. Dessa is devoted to Aunt Flo and especially a young man, Nicholas, who appears and takes shelter in the attic, the only available space. Four years pass. She looks forward to each day because of his presence, in spite of the tedious work. Dessa is now eighteen and knows little more of Nicholas than the day he arrived to work the mines. She knows only he is a remarkable man who has a limp and she trusts Nicholas explicitly. There is a familiarity both recognize and an unshakeable bond develops. Nicholas has reasons to keep his past buried. Dangers loom and become evident when Nicholas gets too close and exposes their bond. What is the mystery behind this threat? To discover the answer, they escape by railway heading West, colliding with treachery and uncovering secrets, mile by mile. Their journey is impossible, but, they are supported by friends who risk their lives to make sure a great love and lineage is preserved. Or is it? None will forget their odyssey as they proceed to their destiny farther than they imagined.

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Susan Laffoon knows whereof she writes having been raised in Glens Falls, in upstate
New York. There, the Hudson River and the boulders that lie in its path, is Cooper’s Cave, a hide-a-way made famous in James Fedimore Cooper’s novel, ‘Drums Along The Mohawk.’ She visited this impressive attraction often growing up and listened to the rushing waters that echoed in the cave. There she decided to one day write romantic adventures. Thus as a young girl, while friends played with dolls, she imagined and scribbled stories of adventure to escape childhood responsibilities and unhappiness. She continued to journal through the years occupied with her husband, Gregg, and seven children. It was discovered her love of storytelling was predisposed from a Scandinavian father who died young, a journalist for the Denver Post, a half century earlier. This passion is being fulfilled by his daughter, since putting aside her stethoscope and career as a registered nurse. “Writing has always been in the shadow of my heart.”

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