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The Traveling Man (The Traveling Series #1) Kindle Edition
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I absolutely loved part one. We meet our couple as 10/11 year olds and experience the wonder of young love with a carnival setting as the backdrop. Kes and Aimee. They meet on her 10th birthday and meet up every year while Kes's carnival is in town for 2 weeks each summer. As time progresses, it is simply beautiful watching their love grow. Becoming more physical and more emotionally attached year after year. I loved seeing how tender the oft-times brusque Kes could be with his Aimee. Even though he couldn't always verbally express his feelings, his actions truly spoke for the affection in his heart. And when hasty plans for a once in a lifetime adventure come to an abrupt halt, we sadly watch as our couple separate never really knowing whether or not they will see each other again.
Then there is part two. 8 years pass and we have the 24 year old version of Kes and Aimee. I had a bit of an issue with this part of the book. Although I fully understand Kes's upbringing and the struggles and true strife that he has encountered, the way he treats Aimee and those around him at times is no less than cruel. I couldn't always justify his actions and I was left even wondering why he and his girl should even be together. Their passion is evident and they do have their touching moments. But all the yelling and doors slamming didn't sit well with me. Aimee deserved better yet I get that sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants no matter how much your head disagrees.
I will say that the book is well written and that I am always in awe at the way the author pays attention to detail and does her research. The sights and sounds of the carnival life are so vivid, you can almost taste the hotdogs and smell the cotton candy as the carnies entice you to try your luck at one of their games.
The secondary characters added that right amount of tension, that right amount of balance to this unconventional world. Zachary, in particular, was a true bright light and often the only voice of reason in a very chaotic atmosphere. His love of his friends and in particular Kes, made me smile quite often. His support of Aimee was often the only thread she could hold onto when she didn't know what to do when it came to her man. I am even kind of hopeful we might get his full story someday.
Overall this is a well thought out and worthy read. I just hope book 2 will present both Kes and Aimee in a more flattering light and that they can figure out a way to be together when their worlds couldn't be further apart.
A solid 4 stars.
I loved how Jane puts us in Aimee's head, hearing the story from her point of view. She starts out as a 10 year girl in a family with an overbearing, heartless father and a mother who only supports her sometimes. She meets Kes at the carnival and they have an instant connection. He becomes her best friend and for two weeks of every summer she spends all her time with Kes when the carnival travels through her town. Jane weaves their friendship expertly, showing us how their relationship grows as they grow older, coming to a head when they are 16. It was very refreshing to read a story about young people who age and mature into their teens. Aimee's feelings and thoughts were spot on for the ages that she was throughout the book. I didn't feel like she was a 10 year old but she was talking like she was twenty something.
My heart was in my stomach as the first part of the book ends with something heartbreaking happening. Part 2 of the book picks up 8 years later and we get to see Aimee as an adult who has graduated college and became a teacher like she had always said she wanted to. A chance encounter brings her and Kes together and it is clear that there is still a ton of emotions between them. I was so, so glad these two actually sit down and talk about what happened 8 years ago that pulled them apart. Kes convinces Aimee to travel with him and the carnival for the summer so they can reconnect. It is crazy and impulsive and I was yelling at her to say yes!! She agrees and we get to see how Aimee and Kes try to reconnect, get to know each other again, but also face the trials and tribulations of living together, in an RV that is traveling across the country.
The supporting characters in the story are absolutely wonderful and it was amazing to see inside what a carney family looks like. Jane must have done a ton of research on the subject because her insight into their lifestyle, their beliefs, they desires, the stigma against them was impeccable.
I truly felt for Aimee throughout this book. She grows up as a child who is living in a loveless home, with no support from her parents, actually feeling like she isn't wanted and is a disappointment to them. She suffers terrible heartbreak in her teens and has to pick herself up and carry on with little more than her sister for support. She lives her dream of college and becoming a teacher, but she's dumped by her lying, cheating boyfriend and all I could wonder is if she were only with him to feel accepted. She basically has gone through life not feeling accepted or loved. She truly loves Kes but he doesn't express his feelings so how can she be so sure he really loves her? He brings her into the carney family, but truly this is HIS family and she only feels accepted because she is with Kes. So at what point in time is she going to feel like she belongs?
There is so much push and pull with Kes and Aimee. She loves him, he can't tell her he loves her. He wants her to stay, she doesn't feel she belongs. What is it going to take? Will these two make it work?? We won't find out until book 2, The Traveling Woman is released!! I hope our wait isn't too long!!
Soo... this is one a tricky one because there were parts that I actually really liked, but there were also plenty of parts that I didn't like that much. Overall it fell rather firmly in the "I like this book" box.
I loved reading about the way Kes and Aimee grew up. I adored reading about their friendship and gradually growing romantic feelings for one another. What I didn't like so much, was the way they were pulled apart for years for really silly reasons in my opinion.
I'm usually a sucker for aloof heroes (don't ask why, it's just a personal quirk I don't really get myself either), but there's also a thing called heroes who seem too aloof, too uncaring, and too secretive. Kes is one of those heroes for me. His way of keeping secrets kind of makes sense since it had been years since he last met Aimee and man, how well can you really know someone if you only meet once a year for two weeks. But on the other hand I just wish he had just talked to Aimee about his concerns and whatnot because I'm fairly certain that this cliffhanger of an ending (and the sequel) could've easily been prevented with some good old-fashioned communication.
I felt that Aimee put her heart all out while Kes simply refused to return the three words of love or even apologize when he messed things up. Communication really is the key and I don't particularly care how much you've been burnt in the past, but if someone you care about, is leaving, then man the f up just say how you feel and don't storm off in a huff.
On the upside, I actually really liked the carnival setting. It just wasn't enough to up the rating and in the end I'm not interested in reading the sequel - The Traveling Woman.
Most recent customer reviews
Brilliant writing and story from Jane Harvey-Berrick.Read more
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Wow ! I loved this, it's totally out of my comfort zone! this book is not one I'd usually pick.Read more