About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now promote literacy by reading, and then writing reviews. I love to support authors by sharing my reviews with others!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse


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.

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 longed-for reunion, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.



What do you do if your father has suffered a tragic accident and the girl of your dreams has gone to spend the summer in Miami? If you're fifteen, you find a way to honor your father and somehow get to your dream girl by taking a bike ride! All of his life, Peyton Cabot has heard the story of his father's bike ride from Savannah, Georgia, to Key West, Florida when he was just fifteen years old. Peyton decides that this will now become his own story and what follows is a remarkable tale of the places he sees and the people he meets as he uses his father's old map to travel the very same route. His thoughts and reactions, along with the lessons he learns, are all vividly described and I felt like I was right there with him!

The Key to Everything is a beautifully written story about grief, young love, and the love that comes once in a lifetime. Author Valerie Fraser Luesse has written a stunning story that chronicles a son's loss of his father, a wife's heartbreaking grief for her husband, and a teenager's certainty that he has already found the love of his life. Most of all, this is a story of hope and Leusse absolutely captures Peyton's hope and determination as he makes this journey to Florida and travels the road to manhood!

"You can't follow anybody else's path, like I tried to do with Daddy---like Daddy thought he had to do with Granddaddy. Somewhere along the way, you gotta draw your own map." (p. 282)

I recommend this book to all who enjoy inspirational novels filled with love, hope, and family. The Key to Everything is one that I won't soon forget.

This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell, through Interviews & Reviews. There was no obligation to write a favorable review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Valerie Fraser Luesse is the author of Almost Home and the bestselling, Christy Award–winning Missing Isaac. Her third novel, The Key to Everything, was inspired by a true story. An award-winning magazine writer, Luesse is best known for her features and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently the senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, she has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Acadian Louisiana, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. The author lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Dave—and a mischievous orange cat named Cheeto.

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