Author David W. Berner delivers a compelling read in his latest novel, A Well-Respected Man, that will have you asking yourself "What would I do?"
Martin Gregory was a professor at Elmhurst University just outside Chicago. He was best known as the author of Fire and Wine, a book he thought was about redemption, but his readers saw as focusing more on the modern woman. While the initial print run was small, and the book seemed to be one destined for a back shelf, readers started discovering the book and sharing with their friends. Soon the book was flying off those back shelves and Martin became a bit of a celebrity.
Women were drawn to the words that Martin had written about relationships and love and often wanted to meet him. One such woman was Amelia, a junior at the school. It wasn't long before Martin found himself falling in love with the twenty-one-year-old student. But when his relationship with Amelia became public, his world was suddenly turned upside down. He was asked to leave his teaching job - a job he loved. Other jobs followed, but none suited him and as he drifted between jobs, so too did he and Amelia drift apart.
Now all that was behind him. Fire and Wine had been published twenty years ago and Martin was now living in England where he was teaching in the small town of Banbury. He was happy, or so he thought. He life was uncomplicated, mundane, and predictable. Sure, sometimes fans of his novel still sought him out, but for the most part, life was quiet. That was until a stranger showed up at his door and asked to speak to him. Martin, annoyed and in a hurry, rudely brushed the woman off. Later, Martin realizes that he was overly harsh to the woman, and wishes to meet her again. Eventually the two connect, and the question is asked...
When I sat down to read this book, I had planned to read just a few chapters and then return to it the following day. After all, it was late and I was tired. It got a lot later, however, as I found myself drawn into the story, and I had to find out what Martin was going to do. The choice was a difficult one, and one that would see him traveling back to the States in an effort to decide. Not until the last few pages do we learn, along with Martin, what the decision will be and along the way, just like Martin, we waver in what is the right choice. Each chapter begins with a quote from Fire and Wine, many of which tie in beautifully with the story - "Love is not about gazing into each others eyes, it's about looking together into the sun." Berner's writing is captivating and descriptive, and set the scenes beautifully. I was there with Martin in the English countryside, as well as taking the train ride through the United States. A Well-Respected Man drew me in and now, a week later, it still lingers in the back of my mind. I highly recommend this novel.
Quill says: This novel asks a hard question and the story will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. What choice would you make?
For more information on A Well-Respected Man, please visit the publisher's website at: sbprabooks.com