A Flashback Takes The Couple Back To When They Met Shortly After Lenny’s Draft Into The Marines During World War II. Fans Of The Notebook May Enjoy This Book!
This is the third book in the Still Life with Memories series, a five book series with a sixth brief book bite. The books are interconnected, spanning various periods of time from World War II through the 1970’s. Different characters within a family tell their stories, but the underlying story revolves around Lenny and Natasha. Each can be read as a stand-alone. Fans of The Notebook may enjoy this book, as some aspects are reminiscent of that story.
This is the story of Lenny and Natasha. It opens and closes in 1970 when they are somewhat older. Natasha is forty-five, Lenny is probably about forty-seven. Lenny has become the caretaker of Natasha, whose memory has been slipping for some time. Lenny has had an affair, but he longs for Natasha to recognize him. She struggles to play the piano and has few lucid moments, and it weighs heavily on Lenny. They do not yet have a diagnosis for her condition. After attempting many tests and medications, he isn’t optimistic they will find a cure. Lenny longs for his teenage son Ben, who quit high school and bought a ticket to Italy, to return home to him. They have a complicated relationship, however.
The bulk of the book is a flashback to the time when Lenny and Natasha met. In October of 1941, Lenny was recruited into the Marine Corps. The story covers his time at Camp Upton and then Camp Lejeune before he is shipped overseas and joins the London Detachment. He receives commando training in Achnacarry, Scotland before being shipped home to visit his ailing father. It is when he is at Camp Upton that he first sees Natasha, who performs nearby. They begin exchanging letters, and over time they become attached to one another. But temptation abounds on both sides of the ocean during the war, and relying on the postal system proves frustrating. The young couple faces early challenges, but the greatest challenge is the approval of Natasha’s mother. At just sixteen, Natasha relies upon her mother to manage her career as a brilliant young classical pianist. Lenny haphazardly decides upon a career as a writer, which does nothing to impress Mrs. Horowitz.
Lenny and Natasha’s story is serious in tone. It is a reflection to their best days, and it is those memories that carry Lenny forward through the difficult challenges he faces nearly thirty years later. The war story is filled with details that take the reader back in time. It is nicely written. The plot is complex. The characters are unique and authentic. The story is written in first person in Lenny’s POV. I rate the book 4.5 stars.