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Amidst the American Dreams Paperback – March 11, 2011
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Stephan James Gathings
A perfect diamond that shines so brightly has no flaws. The cut is impeccable, the clarity so white, the carats fit the setting and the cut grade, diamond's polish, symmetry of the stone, fluorescence color and shape and shape of the stone itself all add to the value of the diamond determining its value and degree of perfection. But, not everything in life is perfect but some people hope to find that one person in their life that they feel is their first and only true love. How do you measure a person in value? How do you place a grade of perfection on them? Take a long stem red rose that just came out of the florist's case and look at the fullness of the petals, redness of the color and the perfect shape. Each petal perfect with no flaws until it begins to wilt.
Steve and Sue had what you might call a storybook romance that started in a rocky way. Sue was dating Mike and as we meet the characters in this book we find ourselves amidst what we would call today dating wars. Mike thought he had a strong hold on Sue but learned the hard way that he did not. Steve had a hidden burning torch inside of him for her but few if anyone knew it. Yet, when push came to shove he defended her honor and allows her to go off with his best friend Ken. Why? Friendships came first and he would not hurt or hinder his friend's feelings for Sue even if it meant suppressing his own. Sue was special not only because most thought her beautiful her personality and manner matched her beauty. But, when Ken's personality interfered with Sue's perspective and he did something to prove what his inner most thoughts for her were, Steve finally stopped playing Cyrano and stepped up to the plate. But, rocky romances often take on slippery slopes before they finally smooth out. Steve knew that Sue was as we stated above his first and only true love. This is where our story begins. Taking place during a volatile time period the 60's the author reminds us of the music, the political strives and the many conflicts happening throughout the world. He even includes some poems from famous poets as he courts this amazing girl and shares his vast knowledge with the reader. Beginning in 1966 when the groundbreaking took place for our precious World Trade Center the author leads us through the time period, the turbulence and the lives of these colorful characters. As we get to know the characters known as the Three Musketeers you meet Joe, Steve, Ken and added as number four Sue. Now, how and why? She joins the fencing team and definitely holds her own when they win. Added in you meet Cindy and a teacher who will spearhead a whole new program in their school when Steve finds a young boy in the bathroom who was the victim of bullies. Inviting him and others to join their club and also focusing and discussing bullying brings to light that this issue is not something in the present but back then too. More than this it brings to light the romance of Steve and Sue and three special words that would not only describe their relationship but others too as Sue earns the first word: Respect by winning the fencing match. Honor when she learns how Steve respects her and Pride is instilled in all of them and in everything they do. Getting to know these teens and how their lives intertwine you begin to understand Sue more closely as she realizes from that everything in life will not go smoothly after reading the tea leaves at lunch and calling her grandmother to interpret what she saw. An underlying undercurrent follows as the reader senses that not everything will remain positive.
Through High School, working for a security firm Sue could not stand being away from Steve and each time he was in danger she wanted him to do something else but he would not. Things did not go the way she planned and although they were engaged between his job and then the army they would be separated for a long while. When Sue finds out that Steve is hurt and she cannot see him she fears that he won't be home any time soon. With the support of her friends and family will she pull through? But, he is captured and tortured and what happens next you won't believe. Losing Steve was devastating but a new friendship begins. William Walker would become her life as her friends and family watch her move on. Nine months later her daughter was born and when Steve comes home he finds out the harsh realities of life and that Sue is no longer his. Dog tags that identified him and everyone thought that he was gone. Two young people pulled apart by a senseless war. But, Steve was devastated and felt all-alone and his life as he knew it he felt was over. Will love find its way back to the beginning or will Steve and Sue remain apart? What happens when her husband misses his daughter's first birthday and claims he was working? Where will her life go next? Will and Sue did not seem to be a perfect match. An argument that no one could take back and a difference in opinion that would set the stage for what would happen next as Steve starts his own Guard Services business. Reminders of the war flood through as friends remember a special date.
Rumors flow about Wil as Sue hears the gossip first hand and has to decide what to do about it. Seeing Steve's car brings it all back to her. As Wil and Steve are about to meet and you won't believe why or how. Paths cross when you least expect them too and worlds will know collide and change. When her daughter learns the truth about Steve and her mother's feelings for him she understands as she shares her time on the fencing team and explain how she became a Musketeer. But what happens when Wil realizes who Steve is and the end result with Sue will rock her world and change her life forever.
Imagine learning that the person whose life you wanted to spend yours with is really alive. A chance meeting at the theatre and Sue and Steve's worlds would collide but others would suffer as a result. One man who was determined to keep her at all costs even if it would destroy her forever. One man whose love knew no boundaries and would fight till the end until they were together. When the truth comes to pass and Wil learns who Steve really is what he does to both Sue and Dawn will send chills down you spine and the end result will surprise the reader. Each character is special, unique and all of them blend together as one as they share their lives with the reader as presented by our talented and creative author.
Steve and Sue are like two star-crossed lovers. The final outcome will cost many lives as truths are revealed, lies are uncovered and more injuries are inflicted. A perfect love is what they had or thought they did. A perfectly cut diamond with no flaws with a perfect color, cut and clarity is not a precious as the love these two had for each other. Sacrifices made in the name of love would cost them more than just a lifetime together. Author Stephan James Gathings brings to light so many value issues within this outstanding novel. Abuse of any kind is wrong and those who inflict it should not be allowed to walk away. A person is not your possession and you do not control them in order to keep them as a trophy on a mantle.
An ending that will definitely bring tears to your eyes and a family that learns and understands that family is first and the time you spend together is more precious than anything in the world. A perfect love even for one day is so valuable, special and rare. "A True Love will never break your heart," ever. Lives are so fragile and the ones lost you won't forget as Dawn and her new love learn the true meaning of their own True Love! This is one novel that will remind the reader of old fashioned family values, respect honor and pride.
Let's give this one: FIVE GOLDEN EXCALIBERS
Amidst The American Dreams
Steve Gathings is an excellent storyteller, who in this novel weaves the threads of a number of lives into the fabric of fiction, a fiction that is very real to so many of us from the "baby boomer" generation. Readers will find a little of themselves in this mirror of a time long lost and much missed, a time when we were young but didn't know it.