Middle-aged brothers Jason and Tom Prendergast thought they were completely done with each other. Perceived betrayal had burned the bridge between them, tossing them into the icy river of estrangement. But life and death has a robust sense of irony, and when they learn that their cruel father has died and made his final request that they travel together across the country to spread his ashes, they have no choice but to spend a long, long car trip in each other s company. It s either that or lose out on the contents of the envelope he s left with his lawyer. The trip will be as gut-wrenching as each expects it to be . . . and revealing in ways neither of them is prepared for.
At turns humorous, biting, poignant, and surprisingly tender, ASHES puts a new spin on family and dysfunction with a story that is at once fresh and timelessly universal."
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Estranged brothers, Tom and Jason Prendergast have one thing in common. An abhorrence towards their alcoholic and abusive father. The man left years of scars that no one can see. Scars that no one understands, but them. It’s been years since they have seen each other. It’s not until their father’s death that they are forced to face each other again. Tension is high. Neither brother willing to let go of the deception of the other. Even in death, their father haunts them. He’s made a demand for them to drive across the country to scatter his ashes. It’s a stipulation that neither brother wants to participate in, but because of circumstances, they both decide to do so. And it will forever change the trajectory of their lives.
This book is so much more than a journey. It’s an experience. Tom and Jason relive a lot of the pain caused by their father as they embark on this long drive together. Their pain is deep and full of layers that neither knew existed. They realize just how much their past currently affects them. There is also anger and resentment. The betrayal is something that these brothers can’t simply put behind them. It’s at the forefront of everything. Their resentment and their inability to move on. I don’t want to talk too much about the plot. But the author is definitely talented in his ability to truly allow the reader to feel the depth of emotions and connections of these characters.
I’d like to admit something. I am usually a contemporary romance kind of reader. And this has no romance at all. But when I read the blurb, something spoke to me. I felt like this was a story that I needed to read. And I am so glad I did. The writing is absolutely magnetic with it’s refined prose and compelling storyline. The author is definitely a master in his craft of storytelling as he allows the reader to completely resonate with his characters’ story. You feel their pain and sorrow, but also their joy and laughter. These men are older than the characters I’m used to reading about, yet I found myself completely enthralled by what these two have been through and what was to come. The way this book was executed and written, allowed me to emotionally connect with the character regardless of our differences.
Ashes was a poignant and thought provoking read for me. The story is so much deeper than any review could ever describe. The author tactfully covers so many relevant and sensitive topics. And he does so with a decorum that I found to be admirable. This was my first read by this author and definitely not my last.
Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers, Twelve Months and The Rockin' Chair. He is also the author of the award-winning novel, Goodnight, Brian, as well as the critically-acclaimed novel, Pressed Pennies, A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), Wilbur Avenue (novella), Just in Time (novella), The Thursday Night Club (novella, released November 2014) and Gooseberry Island (novel, released January 2015). His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or their four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. Visit: www.StevenManchester.com
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