Jack Armstrong sat up in the secondhand hospital bed that
had been wedged into a corner of the den in his home in
Cleveland. A father at nineteen, he and his wife, Lizzie, had
conceived their second child when he’d been home on leave
from the army. Jack had been in the military for five years
when the war in the Middle East started. He’d survived his
first tour in Afghanistan and earned a Purple Heart for taking one in the arm. After that he’d weathered several tours of duty in Iraq, one of which included the destruction of his Humvee while he was still inside. That injury had won him his second Purple. And he had a Bronze Star on top of that for rescuing three ambushed grunts from his unit and nearly getting killed in the process. After all that, here he was, dying fast in his cheaply paneled den in Ohio’s Rust Belt.
His goal was simple: just hang on until Christmas. He
sucked greedily on the oxygen coming from the line in his
nose. The converter that stayed in the corner of the small
room was on maximum production, and Jack knew that one
day soon it would be turned off because he’d be dead. Before
Thanksgiving he was certain he could last another month.
Now Jack was not sure he could make another day.
But he would.
I have to.
In high school the six-foot-two, good-looking Jack had varsity lettered in three sports, quarterbacked the football team, and had his pick of the ladies. But from the first time he’d seen Elizabeth “Lizzie” O’Toole, it was all over for him in the falling-in-love department. His heart had been won perhaps even before he quite realized it. His mouth curled into a smile at the memory of seeing her for the first time. Her family had come from South Carolina. Jack had often wondered why the O’Tooles had moved to Cleveland, where there was no ocean, a lot less sun, a lot more snow and ice, and not a palm tree in sight. Later, he’d learned it was because of a job change for Lizzie’s father.
She’d come into class that first day, tall, with long auburn
hair and vibrant green eyes, her face already mature and lovely. They had started going together in high school and had never been separated since, except long enough for Jack to fight in two wars.
“Jack; Jack honey?”
Lizzie was crouched down in front of him. In her hand was
a syringe. She was still beautiful, though her looks had taken on a fragile edge. There were dark circles under her eyes and recently stamped worry lines on her face. The glow had gone from her skin, and her body was harder, less supple than it had been. Jack was the one dying, but in a way she was too.
“It’s time for your pain meds.”
He nodded, and she shot the drugs directly into an access
line cut right below his collarbone. That way the medicine
flowed directly into his bloodstream and started working
faster. Fast was good when the pain felt like every nerve in his body was being incinerated.
This is an excerpt from ONE SUMMER by David Baldacci. Copyright © 2011 by Columbus Rose, Ltd. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.
Number-one New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci plumbs new waters with a captivating family drama about learning to love again after devastating loss.
It is Christmas Eve, and terminally ill Jack Canfield, knowing he has only weeks to live, is focused on making sure that his family will be okay after he’s gone. But tragedy strikes even sooner than they expect as Lizzie, his wife, drives during an ice storm and has a fatal collision with a truck. Overwhelmed with grief, and with his illness worsening, Jack is taken into a hospice and the children are sent out west to various members of the family.
So begins One Summer. But just as all seems lost, a miracle occurs. Against all odds, Jack regains his strength, confounding his doctors as he gradually makes a complete recovery. But the healing process has only just begun. Reuniting his family, he takes them to Lizzie's old house, a mansion with a lighthouse in South Carolina. Jack, feeling an inexplicable closeness to Lizzie, hopes that memories of their mother will help his kids come to grips with their loss. It works, in more ways than one, as—with a little help from Lizzie—Jack discovers a new chance at love….
Hardcover Book : 352 pages
Publisher: Hachette Book Group Usa ( June 14, 2011 )
Item #: 13-384144
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.79inches
Product Weight: 13.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Completely different mood for David. Nice warm family and emotional roller coaster. Reminds me of Grisham and his change of pace.
Reviewer: gary b
This is not a thriller. This is a love-soaked, hold-on-tight-to-your-family drama that achingly tells a story you won't predict. I fell in love with it. Absolutely.
[Afterwards, I discovered Baldacci's thrillers and loved those, too. But this book is not part of that body of work]
Very different from his usual stories. I loved it from the first page to the last!
Reviewer: Sarah W
I really enjoyed this side of the author. I did get rather emotional at times since it reminded me of my wonderful husband who passed away 22 years ago after a 10 year struggle with cancer. But lots of ups and downs and this character reminded me of that and all his strenghths to endure to the end. Hope he writes more heart moving books. I usually read mystery novels, but this was great!!
I have been reading the King and Maxwell series and felt I'd give One Summer a try. So, so very glad I did. When your talented, your talented whether writing mysteries or family stories. The plot line was fantastic. Having the letters was a brillant feature and the symbolism of the lighthouse was wonderful. Baldacci's words could start the tears flowing in one or two sentences. Beautifully written. Enjoy this book, it was wonderful and look forward to others by Baldaccci.
Reviewer: steven w