Genre: Contemporary Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads: Michael Stolis, a DC attorney, is frustrated by twelve-hour work days, tightly scheduled weekends, and his family's chaotic habits. He explodes over minor irritations like being stuck in traffic, and his tantrums need to stop. His disillusioned wife, Jamie, is sick of his anger outbursts, and wants him out of her life. Michael longs to reignite the passionate love they once felt for each other. Jamie prefers to spend her time fostering illicit Internet relationships. Michael had simply followed his Greek father's instructions for a successful life, but something went terribly wrong. A lucrative career, a Georgetown brownstone and a BMW coupe didn't deliver happiness as promised.
When his family is about to implode, Michael finds hope through Rufus, an astute retired bus driver he meets over a game of blitz chess in Dupont Circle. Michael is intrigued by Rufus's prescription for fulfillment, but is it too late to change a life, chase a dream, revive a marriage? Michael must decide how much he is prepared to lose if he embarks on a quest so very different from the world he created. Touching, romantic, and deeply provocative, A Stop in the Park, follows the story of a man and a woman who yearn to escape the trap of the modern American dream.
This book took me by surprise being that it is not your typical young, beautiful couple falling in love. Instead, we have a couple that has been married for 10 years, have 2 young children, a beautiful home, and a disastrous relationship. We all know couples out there who are facing separation and divorce, but how much do we really know about what's happening on each side of the fence? This book was a captivating look into a family that, from the outside, seemed to have it all and were living the American dream. Yet on the inside, Michael was an angry and over-worked ticking time bomb who often exploded at the drop of a hat. Jamie used to have a career and a deep passion for her husband, but now she is a stay at home mom who walks on eggshells trying not to upset her husband and protect her children. Their relationship is broken beyond belief, but they are each willing to risk everything to make it work.
Now for my favorite part of the novel...enter Rufus, an older black man that Michael meets during a chess game in Dupont Circle in downtown DC. I loved Rufus and how insightful he was about life and relationships. He and Michael develop a strong relationship and in the end, Rufus becomes a savior in Michael and Jamie's lives. He introduced Michael to the Boys' and Girls' Club of inner city Washington and helped him discover his dream of sharing music with those less fortunate. This plot was phenomenal and so carefully constructed. It flowed effortlessly. I could feel every level of frustration from the couple and their children as if I was there living it myself. Peggy has a gift for pulling readers in and making them actually feel the emotions of the characters.
This novel will not only make you part of Jamie and Michael's story, it will make you examine things in your own lives and marriages. What is really important? Am I living my dream? Have I done everything possible to make my family truly happy? I loved where this story ended up and how Peggy gave us hope that marriages can survive rocky times and that love truly does conquer all! This take on an older couple with real-life problems was simply outstanding. I felt sympathetic towards both characters, which doesn't happen often, and was deeply moved by their journey.
This is a novel that you truly do not want to pass you by. Human nature, life lessons, wise mentors, and struggling romance; it's all there waiting for you to discover. Come take a "Stop in the Park" with Jamie and Michael and discover for yourself their incredible journey. You won't be sorry!
Ten percent of all profits from A Stop in the Park will
go to The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation.
The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation keeps music alive in our schools by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs, giving youngsters the many benefits of music education, helping them to be better students and inspiring creativity and expression through playing music. It believes that kids thrive when given the chance to learn and play music. Putting an instrument into their hands improves the quality of their education and their lives. The window is brief and all kids deserve a chance to play music in school!