Disclosure: I received this book to review through iRead Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
The Vietnam War Changed America. Two Best Friends Weren’t Spared. Only One Was Drafted.
It’s 1968. America is rocked by assassinations, war protests and political upheaval. Alan Young, 21, is brooding over having been dumped by his girlfriend. This won’t last long. His draft notice is in the mail. Stefan Kopinski isn’t about to let the war get in his way. He spends his days at the mercy of his reckless ambition. When fate steps in, will he finally understand what has been right in front of him for 30 years? “Stefan’s Promise” is the story of Alan and Stefan. Circumstances part them and sharply diverging temperaments further erode their bond. Yet, Alan and Stefan are wrong in supposing their friendship has ended. It’s just getting started.
“We were at war in Vietnam and my fiancé was drafted the day after he proposed to me. I hadn’t thought of that September day for so long, and then I began “Stefan’s Promise.” Soon I was recalling that day and others, events and circumstances shared by those of us who lived through the “tumultuous year of 1968” and the following 35 years. In the Preface, Sam Rennick states his intention to deliver a completely absorbing tale. He does!”
The author brings great sensitivity to one powerful scene after another. There is Mike Huxtable, victim of an unprovoked blow, aimlessly wandering the aisles of a drug store, day after day. There is Stefan Kopinski, half-pondering his friend’s illness, half-observing the Midwestern city in which he finds himself. These scenes but two among many in this compelling novel.”
—Silvia Lorente-Murphy, PhD Professor Emerita Purdue University
This was such a different type of read that I am used to, but I am glad that I took the chance and gave this book a try. While it wasn’t what I considered my “norm”; I found it to be an enjoyable read.
Two warnings; one, the book is very long. It’s probably close to one of the longest books I have read in awhile. Two, and the author warns this himself in the beginning, the author has a unique way of writing. It isn’t quite modern, it’s more educated, professional, and “olden” writing. A few areas tripped me up and I had to re-read sentences, but overall, it wasn’t a big struggle and I found that the writing lent itself to the story line. It was all fitting.
This two part book comes full circle with Alan and Stefan together, going their separate ways as life tends to do with school friends, and then brings them back together.
Not being alive during the time frame of the story setting; I found it insightful. Because it wasn’t a time that I feel affected me personally, it was a unique experience to read the views (while shared by one writer there were different sides shared within the story) and the experiences that came with that time.
Overall, I found Stefan’s Promise to be a good, change of pace read than my normal repertoire of genres. I give the author credit. He states from the start that a good book keeps you interested and wanting to read and this book did exactly that.
About the Author
Sam Rennick began writing Stefan’s Promise forty years ago, but it wasn’t until fairly recently, when he retired from his law practice that he was able to take his manuscript from its drawer and finish it. He admits he wishes he could say he planned this all along, since the two books comprising the novel, though written many years apart, combine perfectly into a compelling narrative.
While many authors have influenced him, he singles out Somerset Maugham as his muse, observing that Maugham always starts with a good story, but often finds a way to insert that “something extra” separating merely a nice tale from literature. Sam’s interest in books is only exceeded by his love for baseball, which began when he was nine years old.