The Solace of Leaving Early
Havel Kimmel (Adult Fiction)
Langston Braverman is a graduate school dropout who’s returned to her hometown of Haddington, Indiana to live with her parents. In her childhood attic bedroom, she imagines a very different life for herself—one filled with academia, garden tea parties, and tenure. Amos Townsend is a third-generation preacher whose inspiration to follow God came from a TV show he once watched while at college. Although Amos wants to give his life to help others, it is his own salvation he seeks. When two little girls are left orphaned by unimaginable circumstances, Langston and Amos must put aside their animosity toward each other to help these children find peace, normality, and love.
Kimmel is at her best when writing dialogue. By incorporating subtle gestures, mid-sentence thought changes, and off-topic asides, she captures each character’s unique essence and true personality. The conversations appear so spontaneous and genuine, the reader almost feels guilty of eavesdropping.
One downside is the author made Langston a very unsympathetic woman who is extremely hard to connect with and, often times, even tolerate. She comes across as elitist, self-absorbed, immature, and whiny. But her character is offset nicely by Amos’ uncertain, demure, and steadfast demeanor. Once you get past Langston’s overbearing personality, as well as her mother’s (AnnaLee Braverman) relentless role as enabler and apologist, you will find yourself totally immersed in a story full of heart, hope, and second chances.