One Love
by Thomas Duffy

"Life is always full of possibilities."

Timothy Anderson, an English major with high aspirations to be an author but riddled with low self esteem, also longs for a meaningful relationship. He's certain that when he meets Melody that she is the girl of his dreams. But Melody never contacts him after their first date, which leaves Timothy depressed. Over time he tries to move on with his life with a new gal, Cindy. Fifteen years later and still together with Cindy, Timothy can't get his mind off Melody, who is now married and has three children. After a bit of web browsing, Timothy contacts Melody via Facebook. Excited that they are talking again after all those years, Timothy has no idea what he's about to get himself into—let alone what his future will look like—once they reconnect.

In his third book, Thomas Duffy pens a story that reflects more of a gut-level memoir than a work of fiction. While indeed fictional, Duffy has created a small cast of unimpressive yet believable characters who are desperately trying to break free from the vicious relational or addictive codependent cycles that consume them. That said, Duffy's third person narrative at times reads like a biography—primarily about Timothy—since the situations are so commonplace. Yet amid the seemingly dismal atmosphere, the glue that keeps his latest novel together and consistently moving is Duffy's use of cause and effect to produce tension. And in that fine cause/effect balance, the character's choices— particularly that of Timothy's—become the deciding factors as to how life will ultimately unfold. Duffy then tightly interweaves that tension within brief chapters and alternating character scenes. While One Love is heart wrenching, it is surprisingly hopeful.

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