For over a week the envelope sat on the dining room table unnoticed, buried under a stack of bird-seed catalogues and household bills like a bomb waiting to go off.
Life went on around it. Work, grocery shopping, and housework for Lizzie Bea Carpenter. School, babysitting, and friends for her fourteen-year-old daughter Paige.
Tick tick tick.
Normal life. A good life. Well, maybe not great, but fine. Galton New York, centrally isolated the locals liked to say, wasn’t exactly the kind of town where remarkable things happened.
“The writing here is crisp and astute; the dialog crackles with witty charm.”
You don’t recognize this handwriting because a beautiful army nurse named Sally is writing this letter for me. I don’t think I’m going to make it, little sis. That’s okay. Hell, if I don’t pull through, I died fighting the good fight and I’m damned proud. So no moping around and getting sad. I could have died a million stupid ways when I was a kid. At least I got to go out doing something that matters.
But, Nins, you know I’m going to milk this dying-young crap.
There’s two things you’ve gotta do for me.
First, you gotta move on. Find a good guy. Start a family. And name your first son after me. Promise me that. Little Walt, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU HATE THE NAME. (Ha! See, I still get to be the boss even after I’m gone.) I want a little Walter growing up in Galton, giving the teachers hell, just like I used to. Remember, it was our promise to each other after Mom and Dad passed that we’d move on and not let anything stop us. Don’t stop now, little sis.
Second, I want to do something for a buddy. His name is Mick Rivers. Listen, I want him to have my house in Galton when he gets out of here. I know he’ll say I should go *#$% myself, but, Nins, can you make it happen?
Thanks, sis. I’ll see you on the other side. I miss you already.
Private First Class Walter Stokes, U.S. Army
“Everything I love best: humor, warmth, emotions that pull at the heartstrings, characters that step off the page, and a wonderful love story.”
Mariah Stewart, New York Times bestselling author
Stewart Zepalt had shown up on December 24th, Georgia’s birthday, for the past four years and here he was again, right on schedule, his black Audi coasting to a slow stop in front of her stately1820s Georgian Colonial like an ad in a glossy magazine.
Georgia dropped the brocade curtain and stepped back, not wanting to be caught expecting him, even though of course, she was. Five years in a row. Still, it felt unkind to acknowledge his predictability. Dread and thrill combined in her stomach to create a peculiar, primordial emotional soup.
This is awful. This is great…awful…
Stuey was here, exactly as she knew he would be. She knew exactly what he was going to say and what she would say.
Except, when he stepped into her foyer, his pleated khakies pressed to within an inch of their life, it felt—different.
“It’s a wonderful read!”