At first 2017 wasn’t shaping up to be a good year at all. The first two books I picked up were both DNFs, and, in fact, I was a bit reluctant to pick another one after those two duds. But then browsing through my massive list of TBR ebooks, I noticed this one and though “Yep, I could go for a nice time travel book. It’s been a while since I’ve read one.” I don’t remember how or why I picked this one up. Before starting it, I wasn’t even sure of the storyline and thought maybe it could be a sci-fi romance also.
Well, anyone who has read this book is thinking, “What a Silly Billy she is,” because there is no time travel at all – nor any kind of space travel. Where I got the idea this was a time travel romance, who knows. Maybe I was thinking along the lines of Time Traveler,s Wife or something. Nope, what I got was a book that blew me away with how much I enjoyed it!!! I don’t mind duds at all if this kind of book is my reward.
Kestrel Donohue and Aimee Anderson first meet when they are ten years old. It’s Aimee’s birthday and what she wants most in the world is to visit the fair that’s setting up close to her home, even though her father is dead set against it. She’s never been before and she wants to go so badly. She gets her way and finds it a most magical place. Magic is raised to an even higher level when a boy close to her age, Kestrel, or Kes for short, who lives and travels with the fair, sees her and decides he wants to be friends and offers to show her the inner workings of the fair. She is enchanted with it all. The fair is there for the next two weeks, and she sneaks over every day, and then every year after that, and the friendship that she and Kes have grows deeper and deeper. In fact her, world is pretty gray most of the year – she’s picked on and bullied. But when the fair comes to town, her world gains colour for those two weeks.
Then in her sixteenth year, things change. She’s changed. Instead of a young girl, she’s become a young woman, and Kes has become a young man, and their relationship undergoes some drastic changes. The love they have had all these years becomes very sexually charged, even though both are still virgins. But that changes in one of the – no, not one of the – but THE sweetest love scenes I’ve ever read. It’s tender, it’s touching, it’s a bit on the funny side – it’s simply amazing. They agree to meet up with each other around Thanksgiving, but unfortunately things don’t work out for them.
Fast forward six years. They haven’t seen each other for that time span, and both their hearts have been broken. Though the book is written entirely from Aimee’s POV, the author really manages to infuse Kes’ thoughts into the narrative. Aimee hasn’t been able to touch foot on any fairgrounds since she was sixteen, and a half and has no plans to until her older sister almost bullies her into it. She is astounded to see Kes again working as a motorcycle stunt driver. And he’s not just a regular stunt driver but a famous one and one of the best in the world. He is less than happy to see Aimee again, because each thinks the other broke each other’s hearts. But once they start talking they discover that’s not the case at all. Instead, they were manipulated by outside sources. The feelings they had for each other as teens come roaring back and the love they have for each other never wavered -it’s just as strong, if not much stronger, now. But their circumstance have changed over the years. Aimee realizes that Kes needs to travel. It would be like clipping his wings for him to stay in one place, but she has a life that means staying situated in one place. She’s a teacher and she loves her job. Because it’s summer and she’s on break, she agrees to stay and travel with him until school is back in session. But then they have the fight of all fights because Kes wants her to stay with him and she has to go back. And then the book ends.
I don’t have the words to express how much I loved this book. Every word, every character, every single scene was so wonderfully done. Both Aimee and Kes broke my heart with what they’ve had to struggle with, Kes in particular. He is NOT an easy character. There are some things about him that would make it very difficult to accept, but the author does such a bloody brilliant job getting the reader to see why he is the way he is, that while we may not like it and, in fact, at times he can be downright cruel, we know and accept why he is. And Aimee doesn’t pull any punches when she thinks he’s wrong. They get into some real screaming matches, but underneath them is such a rock of love, and Kes does ‘get’ it once she explains things.
I read another review of this book wherein the reviewer called this book magical and, indeed, it is. I adored it. It’s my first five-star book of 2017 and it was only a few days in.
And – not to worry – there is a sequel to The Traveling Man – review to come soon.
I was ordinary. Nice.
He was extraordinary. And he wasn’t always nice.
Moody and difficult, brilliant and beautiful, Kes scared me and he protected me. He could be incredibly hurtful and incredibly thoughtful. He wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for me. He challenged me, he took me out of my safe little box and showed me the world could be magnificent. He was everything I wasn’t.”
* * * *
Aimee Anderson is ten when the traveling carnival first comes to her nice little town. She doesn’t expect her world to change so completely. But meeting Kestrel Donohue puts her life on a different path.
Even though she only sees him for the two weeks of the year when he passes through her home town, his friendship is the most important of her life. As a child’s friendship grows to adult love, the choices become harder, and both Kes and Aimee realize that two weeks a year will never be enough…
No excerpt available.
Other books in this series: