A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Faith. Family. Fiction. Fun.

The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse {Book Review}

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Peyton Cabot's fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents' devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams, Lisa Wallace.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle all the way to Key West, Florida. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton's journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined--namely, the key to his unknowable father, a reunion with Lisa, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

Through poignant prose and characters so real you'll be sure you know them, Valerie Fraser Luesse transports you to the storied Atlantic coast for a unique coming-of-age story you won't soon forget.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac and Almost Home, as well as an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse received the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society for her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana. A graduate of Auburn University and Baylor University, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Dave.

If you are looking for a slower paced read that will offer an escape and an adventure you're sure to remember... look no further than The Key To Everything. This beautiful coming of age story follows 15-year-old Peyton as he bikes his way down the Florida coast- a trip his father, who had recently tragically passed, had taken at his age as well. Along the way he discovers more about himself, his family and meets a great variety of unique characters that readers will love having the chance to meet.

I did find that the story got off to a bit of a slow start... and to be honest, while it was a rather quick read, the pace did remain slower throughout. There wasn't a lot of action or intensely dramatic moments, but I found myself captivated nonetheless. The story was told so wonderfully that I could truly picture it all. There were times I had to remind myself that Peyton was only 15--- he seemed more mature and thoughtful than what one might think of for a teen boy, but then this was a different time after all! He was a really likable character and I enjoyed seeing him grow throughout the story.

Though from a Christian publisher, I didn't find the story to be too heavy on the Christian content. There were a few mentions of faith, but not too much. As such, I could see this appealing to a broader audience as well. It is a good clean read and a timeless story that I truly enjoyed. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is certainly one worth checking out.


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