Today’s spotlight is shining on an ARC from Amazon Vine: A Place We Knew Well, by Susan Carol McCarthy.
Intro: (10:47 a.m., Wednesday, March 11, 2009)
As I wheel right into Dad’s driveway, a six-foot chain-link fence jumps up out of nowhere. I stomp on the brakes. My car heaves to a stop within inches of the padlocked gate.
My hands, shoving the gearshift into park, switching off the ignition, are shaking. I rest my head against the wheel, my heart still skidding inside my chest. Stupid, stupid! I think, only now remembering Clem’s phone call two weeks ago. “DEP recommends it, Charlotte,” Dad’s attorney told me, asking my okay for the expense of the fence. “Plus, it’ll secure the property against vandals. Or vintage collectors looking for a five-finger discount.”
But the sight of Dad’s station turned ENTRY RESTRICTED fortress, flanked by the tall fence lined with green sight-blocking screens, is still a shock.
Teaser: (October 1962)
The lobby of the State Bank was packed with a long, snaking line of locals withdrawing cash. Avery noticed the rise in the communal pulse, the rapid shifting of eyes and feet, the nervous jingling of pocket change, and the odd tendency to grab the cash envelope without comment and stalk directly out the door. (p. 68).
Blurb: Late October, 1962. Wes Avery, a one-time Air Force tail-gunner, is living his version of the American Dream as loving husband to Sarah, doting father to seventeen-year-old Charlotte, and owner of a successful Texaco station along central Florida’s busiest highway. But after President Kennedy announces that the Soviets have nuclear missiles in Cuba, Army convoys clog the highways and the sky fills with fighter planes. Within days, Wes’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel.
Sarah, nervous and watchful, spends more and more time in the family’s bomb shelter, slipping away into childhood memories and the dreams she once held for the future. Charlotte is wary but caught up in the excitement of high school—her nomination to homecoming court, the upcoming dance, and the thrill of first love. Wes, remembering his wartime experience, tries to keep his family’s days as normal as possible, hoping to restore a sense of calm. But as the panic over the Missile Crisis rises, a long-buried secret threatens to push the Averys over the edge.
With heartbreaking clarity and compassion, Susan Carol McCarthy captures the shock and innocence, anxiety and fear, in those thirteen historic days, and brings vividly to life one ordinary family trying to hold center while the world around them falls apart.
Would you keep reading? I know I am eager to do so. Perhaps those of us who were around back then & vividly recall those two weeks—those poignant weeks—the urge to continue reading is very strong. I can still see my college professor’s face that fall as he shared his thoughts about the unfolding events.