Sometimes a book sneaks up on me.
I’ll be reading along, things will be going well, maybe I’m feeling happy with the way the story is progressing; it’s flowing a bit slowly and that works because the pace fits the somber mood of the story that’s being told.
Then suddenly there’s that “lightbulb moment,” the exact moment when the story turns, where something is revealed, where a character says or does something that changes the entire momentum of the narrative. But sometimes that lightbulb moment doesn’t necessarily illuminate like a one-hundred watt bulb—sometimes it’s like a flash fire, like Icarus flying too close to the sun, and when it happens, I feel as if I’ve melted just a little bit inside.
And that’s exactly what happened with Heatstroke, the story of a teenage boy whose family’s deep, dark secrets not only robbed a boy of his father, but also robbed that father of everything in his life he’d once held dear.
This is a story of sacrifice, a story about a young man in the 1960s who had it all—fame, fortune, a meteoric career in show business—and love: the greatest of all his blessings was the love. But in the 1960s, a time when mere gossip and innuendo, a time when the slightest whisper of an inappropriate relationship could ruin a man, the love that Richard and Manny shared was a love that they could never allow to see the light of acknowledgment in public. And it was that secret, the surrendering of what was an all-consuming bond, and the discovery of that secret by a wife Richard didn’t love, that nearly destroyed two men’s lives, cost one his career and his child, and tore them apart.
Taylor V. Donovan tells this short but incredibly moving story through Michael Spencer, a grandson who never had the opportunity to know his grandfather but who comes to know him intimately through the journals the man kept over the span of a few short years. Michael learns about his true identity, learns he has a family history of which he was unaware, and comes to discover how very dear the cost was to his own father who’d paid a steep price for the lies of a woman whose hatred directed her every move.
Richard Bancroft is a larger than life character, though he never spends more than a few moments in the book. The words he wrote were his confession, his salvation, and ultimately, his damnation, but in the end, they also became his greatest comfort because they became the roadmap that would lead his son and grandson home to him again. They are the chronicling of a momentous and all consuming relationship with a man who would turn out to be the love of his life, though the life of that love was cut all too short by the threat it represented.
If you’re a believer that the truth is the light and that love will always find a way, give this FREE read a try. I’m absolutely glad I did.
FREE Download of Heatstroke HERE.