Nights Remembered
by Bruce Collier
Stratton Press Publishing

"Dinner was a special time and occasionally lasted for hours. Tom never ran out of interesting stories about his and Carl’s father’s teenage adventures."

Collier’s expansive work of fiction follows the life of Carl Sanford, from when he was a small boy and witnessed his father’s death after a boating accident through his young adult and adult life. Sanford must deal with an alcoholic and adulterous mother, who often mistreats her son and brings unsavory boyfriends into the picture, including many who are abusive to the young boy. When things simply become unsustainable at home, Sanford goes off to live with Tom—his deceased dad’s brother—and Tom’s wife, Joyce. A new, healthy family unit is born, as the three of them, plus Jill (Joyce’s daughter), create a new household. Out of respect for the couple under whose roof they live, Sanford and Jill learn to repress their deep feelings they have for one another, but in the end, the two let their love blossom and eventually have a family of their own. Still, there’s another major twist to the story which readers will find quite delightful.

Collier has created in Sanford an unusually likable character with whom the reader quickly establishes rapport. From early on, when Sanford was only a boy and happy to be along for the adventures on his father’s boat, to all the way through his life story and into adulthood, one finds oneself rooting for the young protagonist in a big way. From the admirable way he deals with his frequently drunk, check-bouncing mother to the basic goodness and strength of character evident in his relationships with his best friends and, ultimately, Jill and their daughter, Tommie, the narrative reveals a person of tremendous integrity. As charter boating and life on the marina play a significant part in the book’s setting and storyline, fans of life on and around the water will also have much to savor.

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