Sunday, May 27, 2018

"It Started in June"

Susan Kietzman is the author of Every Other Wednesday, The Summer Cottage, A Changing Marriage, and The Good Life.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, It Started in June, and reported the following:
From page 69:
He had just started picturing his life without Grace when she called. He got up from his couch and walked to the fridge for a beer. He took a sip and called her back, resolved to tell her he couldn’t make the commitment. As soon as she answered the phone, as soon as her heard her voice, his resolve crumbed.
Thirty-year-old Bradley Hanover finds himself in the unexpected and unwelcome position of assessing his allegiance to a co-worker he has impregnated but hardly knows. Leery of office romance and sworn off hooking up on a first date, Bradley breaks both rules one night when post-business-meeting drinks with Grace Trumbull, his project manager, lead to sex in the back of her car. Before she announces her pregnancy, Bradley and Grace go out several times, each date more adhesive than the last. But Grace’s decision to keep the baby is as surprising to Bradley as their initial unplanned intimacy. Not ready for parenthood yet not able to shake his infatuation with Grace, Bradley straddles freedom and commitment.

Their twelve-year age difference is a factor. Grace has already been married (and divorced) and is professionally several steps ahead of Bradley, who still has to prove himself at the office – and in life. He drinks too much beer with his college buddies, and he relies heavily on his psychiatrist mother for advice. His trouble-free existence has delayed his maturation. And yet he has an innate inclination to do the right thing. Plus, he knows his rejection of fatherhood will immediately end his opportunity to see if Grace can work her way into his heart as she has with his head. Selfishly, he wonders if a long-term relationship with Grace and the baby will punch his ticket to manhood.

Grace, too, has her doubts, not only about Bradley but also about being a mother. But, as the damaged product of a loveless childhood, she is determined to be a better parent than her teenaged mother and righteous grandparents were to her, to give this baby growing inside her a loving and nurturing upbringing. Realizing her decision to keep the baby may be misguided, she nonetheless convinces herself that correcting the errors of the past will heal her troubled soul. The few people she is close to, however, question her logic – Bradley amongst them.

Does it make sense – Grace, Bradley, and the reader wonder – for a couple to stay together when the one thing keeping them together is also pushing them apart? The questioning of commitment continually surfaces, for Grace as well as Bradley, making this passage on page 69 representative of the book from beginning to end.
Visit Susan Kietzman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Every Other Wednesday.

--Marshal Zeringue