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A Portrait of Love and Honor: A Novel Based on a True Story Paperback – April 10, 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“A revealing and authentic look into a cadet's life at West Point against the backdrop of America's social upheaval of the late 60s and early 70s . . . and an inspiring love story about two people who help make each other's dreams come true.” ~ Bob Mayer, New York Times bestselling author, West Point graduate, and former Green Beret
About the Author
A former reporter with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Susan G. Weidener is the author of two memoirs, Again in a Heartbeat and Morning at Wellington Square. She has interviewed a host of interesting people from all walks of life, including Guy Lombardo, Bob Hope, Leonard Nimoy and Mary Pipher. Susan earned a BA in Literature from American University and a master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania. An editor, writing coach and teacher of writing workshops, she lives in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Cadet Prayer
I do not naturally gravitate to novels or, especially, love stories. But, I had been tipped off that this novel had been written by the widow of one of my dearest friends. Naturally, I had to read it, if for no other reason than a sense of loyalty to my departed comrade.
Susan Weidener has written a highly personal novel that weaves the story of Ava Stuart and “Jay Sciola” in a moving and enjoyable way. Ava is a former journalist turned author who autographs her latest book for “Jay” at a book signing. Jay is a former cadet at the United States Military Academy who, though a graduate, was denied a commission in the Army due to health reasons.
In the years since his entry into the civilian world, Jay has struggled to accept the shattering of his – and his family’s – dream of life as an Army officer. Jay turns to “scriptotherapy” in his struggle to come to terms with his situation. It is when Jay seeks editorial advice from Ava on his manuscript that the romance begins.
The primary event “Jay” recounts in his manuscript that Ava is editing serves as a counter point to the burgeoning love between Ava and “Jay.” The event involved a decision no cadet ever wants to make; a decision that drives a wedge between a man’s honor and his loyalty to his friends. As “Jay” struggles with the decision he must make, he learns of a serious health ailment that threatens his future career.
Interposed between the struggles “Jay” undergoes is the romantic story line. “Jay,” as we expect, falls in love with Ava and, despite her reservations, Ava returns his love. Their relationship continues to a happy, though sad, ending as eventually “Jay” succumbs to cancer.
I know that “Jay’s” travails at West Point are true. How much of his romance with “Ava” is true is only for the author to know.
Perhaps this is a good point for a disclosure. I was a very good friend to “Jay.” As his roommate, I knew his parents and brother. I met Susan when I visited “Jay” during his final illness. When I read the characters in Susan’s novel I know them; I know them as well as I knew “Jay.” Many vignettes in this novel that relate to West Point are true; a few are fictional to support the story line. I was not privy to some of "Jay's" private conversations with others. “Jay’s” concept of Honor was so strong that it drove him to do the “harder right rather than the easier wrong.” I admire him for the decision he made. He was a good friend and I miss him still. His sons should know that their father was an honorable man.
More important to this review, Susan has crafted a great story. Personal. Poignant. Revealing. An enjoyable read. You did a great job here, Susan, thank you for honoring John with this work.
That Susan combined fiction and memoir in her third book is absolutely brilliant. She fulfilled this reader’s need to know her late husband’s story in his own words. And that she had his memoir to draw from was such a gift. How many of us would love to have the writings of the people we have loved and lost?
While reading A Portrait of Love and Honor I couldn’t help wonder if the fictionalized love story was the true story of Weidener’s romance and marriage to a man who struggled through his West Point Academy education and of how their love and marriage overshadowed the colorectal cancer that later took his life.
Weidener is a wonderful writer. Her writing flows naturally and simply while not leaving out the necessary details important to her character’s lives. She started out as a journalist working for the “Philadelphia Inquirer.” That job unfortunately ended after her husband’s death, leaving her an unemployed single mom with two growing sons. She now works as a memoirist and novelist besides leading writing workshops, facilitating writing retreats, and editing other authors’ books. In fact that’s how I thought she met her husband, that he was looking for an editor to help him with his memoir. However, Susan set me straight. That was the fictionalized version of how they met, and the makings of a wonderful fairy tale.
However, whether fact or fiction, reality has a way ruining the road to happily ever after. Fortunately for Susan G. Weidener, she is happily writing wonderful books that we all need to read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
terrible carnage of America's young men woven around a love...Read more