Author: Emily Hemmer
The memory of a stolen kiss ten years ago stirs up an adventure eighty years in the making.
Wynn Jeffries has wanderlust. Unfortunately, her life stalled somewhere between graduating college and slinging drinks at the local dive bar. Stuck in a one-room apartment with no career, no boyfriend, no…life, she dreams of something more. Something amazing. Something like Oliver Reeve’s, her high school crush, whose back in town and reminding Wynn of the way she used to want things.
When a forgotten news-clipping about two prohibition moonshiners falls out of a book belonging to Wynn’s grandmother, a well-kept family secret is finally revealed. Is Wynn’s gypsy spirit the result of an overactive imagination or did she inherit it from a woman so determined to live a big life she gave up everything to have it?
The choices we make now shape our future. It’s the fear of making the wrong ones that give us doubt. So the question is: how much are we willing to sacrifice to have the life we want?
As I tried to record my thoughts on this book I wondered how I was ever going to put them into words… The way this book made me feel the way it made me remember and the way it kind of made me long again for something that I had forgotten about…
Below is my attempt to articulate my thoughts – excuse my ramblings as I know that my thoughts are all over the place…
I totally related to Wynn because one of the driving forces in my younger life was to never disappoint my parents or my grandma. And it wasn’t because they ever made me feel like I had or would disappoint them, I simply never wanted to. I would never want my parents to feel like me feeling the way I did was their fault because it wasn’t. I realized much later in life that I used the fear of disappointing them to avoid making tough choices. In my 30’s when asked, I would always describe myself as naïve when I was growing up. About 18 years after high school, I reconnected with an old friend and he told me you weren’t naïve you were a scaredy-cat. That was such an epiphany to me! It was so true and almost kind of traumatizing when I admitted to myself just how true that statement was.
In the recent past I saw a question posted on Facebook, it asked us what advice you would go back and give our younger self if you could? Today my answer was “don’t be afraid to fail”. I emphatically wish that someone could have made me believe that in my younger days. Failing was not the end of the world… and as a parent I will continue to remind my kids of this fact. I am sure that I will also provide them with real life examples of failure and proof that in fact, life does go on.
But I digress… This review should be about Emily’s book and I think from my musings above you can see the story led me to a lot of introspection. What woman doesn’t want to think that her high school/longtime crash was secretly pining for her too? And to finally connect with that crush and realize that reality is even better than any of your fantasies could have been!
This book touched me in ways I did not expect. It was almost as if Emily read a journal that I was too afraid to ever write. She took those words and expanded into a wonderful story about self-discovery and following a dream. Learning the difference between day-dreaming and dreaming, fantasizing and planning. Living. Finding your happy.
I marveled at Wynn’s strength to continue in her pursuit of answers to find Lola (her great-grandmother) and what happened to her! And cheered for her and Oliver to find their HEA! Because that’s what all hopeful romantics look for, right? And finally I loved the way her family stepped up to support her and her dream because at first I wondered if they would ever be able to think about her needs over their own.
2 passages that really stood out for me:
Oliver to Wynn –
“so I’ll ask again. Who do you want to be?”
His lips are close to mine. “I don’t know.”
“I–” His eyes are so clear. Can he see through me? “–I want to be someone who’s not afraid.””
Quote: Wynn – I’ve been stuck. I haven’t moved forward. I’ve been lazy with my dreams and that’s worse than fear because at least if I was afraid it’d mean I was trying to change. But I’m not, and I haven’t been for a long time.
Wow I’m going to have a book hangover after this one!! And I mean that in the BEST possible way! It was truly an honor to receive an ARC of this book from Emily.
Grade A+ I found it breathtaking and for some I hope and think it will be life altering!!