Author: Michael Baron
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: January 5, 2010
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5
From the back cover: Hugh Penders has been stuck in neutral for nearly a decade since his brother Chase died in a car accident. He carries with him two secrets that he has never been able to share with anyone: that he believes he might have been able to prevent the accident, and that he was deeply in love with Chase's girlfriend, Iris.My thoughts:
When Hugh is called back to Amber, his hometown, in order to help his parents deal with his father's heart attack and look after the stationary store, Hugh must stop running away from his past and face the fact that he hasn't moved on after Chase's death. He has gone from one mindless job to another, not able to take a chance on success or on love. Instead, he's been pining for his brother's girlfriend, Iris. I think the premise has the makings of a great love story, but it takes Hugh so long to realize that he's sabotaging himself, that I felt myself getting really irritated by this protagonist.
Iris didn't fare much better for me. It's not just Hugh that is stuck in neutral. When Hugh comes to help in his father's stationary shop and he runs into Iris, all his feelings for her come raging back. At first Iris seems to want him. Then she just wants to be friends. Then she seems to want him again. Then not.
Hugh's dad is depressed about his illness and refuses to go out of the house or even attempt to go upstairs to his bedroom. The first half of the book is about people who are stuck, in one way or another, and I wanted everyone to shout or cry or rage instead of being polite, and logical and safe.
Despite my irritation with Hugh, Baron kept me reading because I just knew that Hugh had to wake up sometime, and after half the book, he finally starts showing initiative, and Baron expertly reveals each person's secrets at the right time to keep me interested. In the end, it was a pretty satisfying read.
I received Crossing the Bridge by Lou Aronica from The Story Plant for an honest review.