The Key to Everything
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"Promise me you'll never come back here, Peyton. It's too much--it's just way too much."
Peyton Cabot's fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from World War II a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents' devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams.
Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle from St. Augustine, Florida, all the way to Key West. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton's journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined--namely, the key to his unknowable father, a longed-for reunion, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.
"This is the kind of book you can't wait to get home and read every night."--Sara Peterson, editor in chief of HGTV Magazine, on Almost Home
"Valerie Fraser Luesse once again directs a symphony of characters, charming readers with her storytelling expertise and captivating dialogue."--BookPage on Almost Home
Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of the Christy Award-winning Missing Isaac and Almost Home, as well as an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse received the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society for her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana. A graduate of Auburn University and Baylor University, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Dave.
Praise for Almost Home
"A story of kindness, friendship, and healing, Almost Home shines. At an Alabama boardinghouse in the 1940s, characters going through troubled times find hope and help through each other."--Nancy Dorman-Hickson, coauthor of the award-winning Diplomacy and Diamonds and a former editor for Progressive Farmer and Southern Living magazines
"Valerie Fraser Luesse's Almost Home beautifully depicts that uncertain time in post-World War II America when people from all walks of life were trying to find their way in a world where nothing was the same. Each character contends with their own struggle but learns that when love, compassion, and support are offered, even strangers can turn into family."--Stephanie Patton, publisher/editor, The Leland Progress
"A ragtag group of strangers finds commonality and strength under one roof (literally) in Valerie Fraser Luesse's witty, wise, and moving second novel. Almost Home abundantly reveals how human friendship and faith endure in spite--and sometimes because of--trying times, and how the things that tear us apart can also bring us together."--Jim Baker, journalist and author of The Empty Glass
"This is the kind of book you can't wait to get home and read every night--to meet up with characters you genuinely like in a feels-so-real place you want to be. Almost Home is wholeheartedly engaging and uplifting, sweet and sentimental, but also smart, witty, and brilliantly down-to-earth. Finishing this book is like hugging a good friend goodbye--you don't want to let her go."--Sara Peterson, editor in chief, HGTV Magazine
"Valerie Fraser Luesse once again directs a symphony of characters, charming readers with her storytelling expertise and captivating dialogue."--BookPage