Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester (Review, Guest Post)

 

 

Rick and Abby grew up together, became best friends, and ultimately fell in love. Circumstance tore them apart in their early teens, though, and they went on to lives less idyllic than they dreamed about in those early days. Rick has had a very successful career, but his marriage flat-lined. Abby has a magical daughter, Paige, but Paige’s father nearly destroyed Abby’s spirit.


Now fate has thrown Rick and Abby together again. In their early thirties, they are more world-weary than they were as kids. But their relationship still shimmers, and they’re hungry to make up for lost time. However, Paige, now nine, is not nearly as enthusiastic. She’s very protective of the life she’s made with her mother and not open to the duo becoming a trio. Meanwhile, Rick has very little experience dealing with kids and doesn’t know how to handle Paige. This leaves Abby caught between the two people who matter the most to her. What happens when the life you’ve dreamed of remains just inches from your grasp?

PRESSED PENNIES is a nuanced, intensely romantic, deeply heartfelt story of love it its many incarnations, relationships in their many guises, and family in its many meanings. It is the most accomplished and moving novel yet from a truly great storyteller of the heart.

Steven Manchester is the published author of Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today ShowCBS’s The Early ShowCNN s American Morning and BET s Nightly News. Recently, three of Steven’s short stories were selected 101 Best for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his children, writing, or promoting his works, this Massachusetts author speaks to troubled children through the Straight Ahead Christian Program, as well as Street Speakers; a talented group of high school poets from the Whaling City Alternative School.

Guest Post by Steven Manchester:

The Man Behind the Author

I suppose I discovered the writing world by accident – or perhaps it discovered me.

I’d just returned home from Operation Desert Storm, and was working as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?”

Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.

I’d written a lot at my job (report writing), but it all started with my college professor’s challenge. Perhaps because of my age and experience, I understood right away that writing is a craft that takes time to evolve; to mature, so I spent the next several years PRACTICING my chosen craft. Under the pen name, Steven Herberts, I wrote in every venue of print I could get my name in: newspaper, magazine, etc. I also penned two collections of poetry, and wrote drafts for two more books. After five solid years of writing, I finally believed that I’d found my voice; MY STYLE – and was ready to contact an agent.

As the years progressed, I heard that “a good writer makes readers think, while a great writer makes readers feel.” And I have always strived to achieve the latter. Unless a book is going to move someone, it’s not worth the time for me to write it…and that is the foundation on which I write. If certain topics don’t fit this criteria, then they don’t make the cut. Also, I write for many different reasons, but the most important reason is that I can prove to my children that dreams do come true (though we never really get what we wish for; we get what we work for). It’s an amazing thing to be able to pour your heart and soul into something that touches the hearts and souls of others.

The greatest challenge for me has been time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there are other responsibilities that need my attention. Yet, my passion to write has constantly gnawed at my soul. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day – chasing my dreams on paper.

Some random things to know about me: My favorite song is The Dance by Garth Brooks. My favorite authors are Stephen King, Mitch Albom and Lou Aronica. My favorite book character is Addicus Finch. If one of my books were made into a movie, I’d love for Morgan Freeman to narrate the story. I’m from Masachusetts and my favorite food of all time is my wife’s Fettuccini Alfredo. The perfect day for me is hanging outdoors with my kids and I live by Walt Disney’s quote: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

It has taken thousands of words, hundreds of pages, before I finally identified with a particular genre. I decided that my voice was a more sensitive one: a male perspective to a female audience. My new novel, Pressed Pennies, is evidence of that.

Pressed Pennies synopsis:

Rick and Abby grew up together, became best friends, and ultimately fell in love. Circumstance tore them apart in their early teens, though, and they went on to lives less idyllic than they dreamed about in those early days. Rick has had a very successful career, but his marriage flat-lined. Abby has a magical daughter, Paige, but Paige’s father nearly destroyed Abby’s spirit.

Now fate has thrown Rick and Abby together again. In their early thirties, they are more world-weary than they were as kids. But their relationship still shimmers, and they’re hungry to make up for lost time. However, Paige, now nine, is not nearly as enthusiastic. She’s very protective of the life she’s made with her mother and not open to the duo becoming a trio. Meanwhile, Rick has very little experience dealing with kids and doesn’t know how to handle Paige. This leaves Abby caught between the two people who matter the most to her. What happens when the life you’ve dreamed of remains just inches from your grasp?

My Review:

I have been fortunate to read and review other books by Steven Manchester and I have to say that I’ve never been disappointed. His writing is absolutely exquisite and heart warming. His books are full of emotion and you can’t help but fall in love with the characters. There’s a lesson about life in every book, and PRESSED PENNIES is no exception.

In Pressed Pennies, the question is asked, ‘Have we traded the American Family for the American Dream?’ In answering, Steven Manchester puts his finger on the pulse of American family life today. –Richard Allen Taylor

Steven Manchester’s books are about broken people (I guess that why I identify with them) and their journey as they learn to love and trust again. I am not one to regurgitate the book blurb or give away the story; if you are a fan of Steven’s, then you’ll enjoy this book. If you haven’t read one of his books, there’s no better place to start than this book. I am giving PRESSED PENNIES five stars. I am a huge fan of Steven’s and can’t recommend his books enough. If you want a book that will touch your heart – go – buy – read!

I will be doing another post soon with a guest post by Steven. Be sure and check back for that!
Purchase PRESSED PENNIES on Amazon here: PaperbackOR  Kindle

 

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book was provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

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