Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Review: A Note From An Old Acquaintance


Brian Weller is a haunted man. It's been two years since the tragic accident that left his three-year-old son dead and his wife in an irreversible coma. A popular author of mega- selling thrillers, Brian's life has reached a crossroads: his new book is stalled, his wife's prognosis is dire, and he teeters on the brink of despair. Everything changes the morning an e- mail arrives from Boston artist Joanna Richman. Her heartfelt note brings back all the poignant memories: the night their eyes met, the fiery passion of their short- lived affair, and the agonizing moment he was forced to leave Joanna forever. Now, fifteen years later, the guilt and anger threaten to overwhelm him. Vowing to make things right, Brian arranges a book- signing tour that will take him back to Boston. He is eager to see Joanna again, but remains unsure where their reunion will lead. One thing is certain: the forces that tore their love asunder will stop at nothing to keep them apart. Filled with tender romance and taut suspense, A Note from an Old Acquaintance is an unforgettable story about fate, honor, and the power of true love.


Emotional, passionate and poignant, A Note From an Old Acquaintance is a striking read about the power of love. With starkly contrasted characters, touching and fluid writing, and a bold storyline of passion and decision, this book holds many elements that grab the reader and pull them in from the start. Divided into three sections, the book first sets the stage of the present before transporting them back fifteen years, building the characters at that time and showing what has brought them to the present, before moving back to tie things up and reunite these impassioned lovers.

Brian is intuitive and insightful, coming from loving and strong parents who have passed much of that strength down to him. Falling for Joanna from the first time he sees her, Brian takes many risks to be with her despite knowing she’s engaged. There is a spark and connection between the two instantly, something almost tangible to the reader. As things progress, however, and Joanna’s fiancĂ© becomes aware of the swift moving, intense affair, the potency of Brian’s character comes through in stunning ways. There is a shift between the late twenties boy of the middle section of the book and the broken, lost man of the first and final. Having always regretted letting Joanna go- something clear from the start even as he sits by his wife’s comatose body- Brian’s pain and confusion is palpable.

Joanna is a character as complex as Brian, creative and wild yet holds a potent ability to love once the right flame comes along. Despite her feelings towards her fiancĂ©, she cannot deny the way Brian makes her feel and the freedom he gives her. While Eric keeps her restrained and on a pedestal, Brian encourages her to push her art and branch out. As a writer, Brian understands the creative freedom and constraints that come with an artful lifestyle and it is this deeper connection that also pulls the two towards each other. Her character grows and changes as strongly as Brian’s, a woman as broken over losing Brian as he was her.

Eric is a seemingly vicious man, ruthless when it comes to getting what he wants by way of business but much of that same pushing transfers into his marriage. His views of what love is and how to show it are skewed, a few well placed scenes providing some sympathy but overall the decisions this man makes, while providing a large driving force for the plot, is a hard man for the reader to like. Instead, he shows even more boldly how well suited for each other Brian and Joanna are, as well as the strength of their connection. The contrasts between Eric and Brian are innumerable, with little cross over and an easy understanding to the reader about their true selves.

The plot is, in its simplest form, an easy one- an affair during Joanna’s engagement in which she finds a man better suited for her and to whom she loves far more passionately. Yet Brian walks away, leaving her with Eric and breaking them both. When Joanna contacts him out of the blue fifteen years later, at a time when Brian’s writing career is hot despite his struggle to write his latest book yet his personal life is in shambles, the trepidation and desire he feels about replying to Joanna’s email comes through boldly. Both the past and present sections are strongly well written, building the characters and their motivations.

Though the book is written in third person, the reader slips into the minds of Brian, Joanna and Eric, learning what drives them and forging a unique connection with each. Walker’s writing is very poignant, painting vivid pictures and inducing strong emotions. There is something unique about the relationship between Brian and Joanna, a certain intensity to their affair that isn’t always present in such situations. There is a distinction between each character’s mentality despite the third person perspective, each focus tailored to the character and creating more of a first person bond.

While some events of the book are predictable and there are hints laid throughout out to explain things in advance, the main driving force of this book is what causes the lovers to separate and what they decide to do once they are back together fifteen years later. Walker includes enough subtle mystery to make the reader want to keep reader for answers but the intensity of the writing, emotions and characters keeps them hooked in a far great manner.

Overall, this book pulls the reader through the same journey the characters go on, twisting in surprising ways and instilling a flurry of emotions to different situations. The writing is strong, the plot smooth and well paced and the ending a very well done one with an understandable and explainable reason for its outcome. The strong differences in the characters- not only between each but also the past and present selves of them- create a memorable dynamic. For anyone who has ever experienced any sort of love, this is a fantastic read and an alluring one.

Source: Finished copy received for review from author for review
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: iUniverse (June 11, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1440133336
ISBN-13: 978-1440133336


  1. Kari: Just wanted to sincerely thank you for your cogent and heartfelt review. It's very much appreciated.

  2. This sounds like an intriguing read Kari! I'll have to check it out! Great review. :)

  3. How many times am I going to have to use the words fantastic and excellent to describe your reviews? <3 this one.