A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Sweet Romance… Fresh off their whirlwind nuptials and unexpected, but joyous pregnancy, April and Hale Abercrombie are gleeful about their life together. But, while Hale is serving his country in Vietnam, he receives news of the loss of their newborn daughter.

Back home on leave, Hale can barely wait to hold his wife. Their reunion is passionate and their physical connection, strong and soothing. His embrace, his touch, and his love are just as perfect as April remembered. But nothing, not even Hale, can ease April’s heartache.

Hale stumbles through his attempts at convincing her that their future will be rich and full of wonder despite their loss. His good-hearted, but take-charge approach causes her to retreat. Even in grief, April recognizes Hale’s earnestness, yet she can’t help but distance herself from him. With only a short time before Hale must return to war, the couple begins to understand that hope starts with them—that the bliss they once knew will return only if they are willing to trust again.

Set on the beaches of the Outer Banks, Return to Love is the second book in the Endless Love series. Book one, Home Again, was named a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

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About the Author
A Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Kathleen has also written Love and Other Subjects, award winning After the Fog and her debut novel, The Last Letter, garnered multiple awards in 2011.  The author's stories have also appeared in several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

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Endless Love series. Book one, Home Again

1969-- Set on the shores of the Albemarle Sound, April Harrington has fond memories of summers at her family home, Bliss. After her fairytale wedding disintegrates, it becomes her refuge—the one place where she can attempt to pull the unraveling threads of her life back together. Unbeknownst to April, the stately house has been neglected in recent years. The once-sturdy roof is leaking in a few dozen places, and the wharf is rotting. Nothing is the same as she remembers. Nothing except for Hale, a Viet Nam pilot who is haunted by a dreadful secret, and who is also her brother’s best friend, a brother killed in the conflict that is tearing the country apart.

In Hale’s presence, April finds familiarity and solace. They share grief for a lost loved one, and from the comfort of Hale’s arms, passion blooms. Yet, April’s future is unresolved. Her wealthy, arrogant almost-bridegroom wants her back and the ghosts of Viet Nam are whispering to Hale. Can they find new love in an old treasured home, the kind of affection and trust that lasts forever?

My Review of HOME AGAIN:

Home AgainHome Again by Kathleen Shoop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Home Again by Kathleen Shoop is a 2013 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Anytime I read a book set in the late 1960's it evokes a certain emotion in me. I was only small child in that year, but I do have some very vivid memories of the adults talking about Vietnam and the other very turbulent events that took place in this era.

So, this novella, which is only about 96 pages long still packs a solid punch. April has just baled on her Ivy league life and returned home to Albemarle Sound to start from scratch. She immediately finds herself in a bind and of course her brother's best friend is there to rescue her.

Hale is home on leave from Vietnam and during this time he and April reconnect while he works on the family home that has fallen into a state of disrepair. April and Hale are having a very difficult time dealing with April's brother's death in the war. He is settled between the two of them like a restless spirit. Guilt bites at their hills and keeps them from admitting that they should be together.

This is an age when women were still treated a certain way by men. Men had a really hard time watching a woman do physical labor without thinking they should take over for them. It wasn't really intended to be sexist, it was just they way men were back then. April sets Hale straight right away and she earns a new kind of respect from him as a result. The difficulties April will face now that she has graduated college and baled on the perfect marriage, are addressed as she admits her job opportunities are not as great as people think due to her gender. In 1969 there were few hardcore career women out there. Women were still regulated to working as a teacher, nurse or secretary, make a waitress. So, all these roadblocks on top of dealing with her brother's death has April feeling a little undone. But, it's Hale you will ache for. I don't know how on earth he kept all that bottled up inside of him for so long. This is a shocking memory that will horrify you . Can April help Hale overcome his ordeal through the power of her love?

This book is the prelude to “ Return to Love” which will pick up the story of April and Hale once again. Overall this one gets a 4


Return to LoveReturn to Love by Kathleen Shoop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Return to Love by Kathleen Shoop is a 2014 is a 2014 Create Space publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book picks up a little while after “ Home Again” the novella which is the lead in to this novel. Hale is home on leave from his tour of duty in Vietnam and trying to reunite with and help his grieving wife, April.
Hale and April married quickly once they had worked through a very thorny issue between them. But, it wasn't as if they were strangers to each other. They had been friends for many years before their romance blossomed. But, while Hale was away, April discovered she was pregnant. Sadly, all the excitement and joy was doused when she lost the child. She was alone and had to deal with things without Hale. Now, the two of them will have a long road to travel “ Back to Love”.

The grieving process for April is difficult reading. Your heart will break as we go through the process with her. She goes through guilt, blaming herself, and anger. The advice of doctors in the time period will have you wanting to hit something. So, once Hale returns, April tries not to burden him with her pain.
However, Hale had every intention of helping April cope. Hale goes to his mother for some understanding on what has happened and she gives his some sound and sage advice. But, Hale will discover that the situation is much more complicated than he realizes.

This is an emotional story from start to finish and you will find yourself reaching for a box of tissues more than once. A wonderful and kind nurse will give Hale the much needed help he needs to understand what his wife suffered through and how he can help her get her life back on track.
The time period is very significant to this story. In the late 1960's and early 70's issues such as this were often swept under a rug and dismissed. April was expected to simply pick up her life as though nothing had ever happened and console herself with the knowledge that she will have many more children and all will be well. The closure a woman would need in order to go through the normal grieving process was stripped away from April and she was left with intense guilt and anger. Men were also left out of the loop in these situations, often unsure of what to do in order to help their wives deal with the loss. Hale was very tenacious and got involved in order to discover what had happened with the birth. If he had not done so, the agony April was dealing with may not have ever gone away entirely. Hale of course is dealing with his own brand of horror by having to be in Vietnam and is not immune to the effects of the war. However, he has limited time to deal with that because he must get April well before he has to return. But, Hale's discovery of what happened with the baby will give him the jolt he needs to deal with his own grief in the loss of his child. Up until then I don't know if it had really hit him yet, since his focus had been more on April.
Today, we would have doctors who are much more understanding and husbands are so much more involved in the pregnancy and childbirth experience than they were back then. Thank goodness! April would have gotten help and would have been counseled and the proper steps would have been taken concerning the child's death.
I must admit that I found myself feeling some of April's anger and understanding her trauma. It would be natural to feel the same grief one would when a loved one passes away, even though the child was stillborn. That she blamed herself was another issue. Anyone who has gone through such an experience will tell you that no matter what , the question is in the back of your mind, even if you know logically it wasn't your fault.

This is still a shining example of true love and it's healing power. So, even though the story is very raw and emotional, it is also a story that will melt your heart. Hale was determined to keep his marriage strong and he loved his wife enough to get involved. This is a great couple and I am thrilled we will hear about them again someday as well as a little more about the special nurse that took the time to help them in this story. This one is a 5 star rating.

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Book Tour Dates

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
THREE Lucky Winners will each receive a $15 Amazon Giftcard,
courtesy of author of Return to Love, Kathleen Shoop
Ending on Sunday 7th September at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide

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  1. Sounds like such a powerful read, I am hoping to read all of Kathleen Shoop's books.

  2. This was a powerful read. I enjoyed it.


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