Book Review: Twilight, by Kristen Heitzmann:
Laurie Prelane returns to her hometown with her two small children, hoping to escape a dangerous situation and a husband who has lost his way. There she is forced to confront personal issues that she never resolved as a child and teenager, including her old sweetheart, Cal. Danger follows her, and soon she and her children are again at risk.
Cal Morrison used to be the best firefighter in town until a tragedy left him unable to do his job. Now he dresses in a clown suit and does public education on fire safety. When Laurie comes back, he wonders if they can rekindle the old flame and make a new life together. But both Laurie and Cal are so scarred from their pasts that they hide their true thoughts and feelings. It will take a series of crises to get them to open up to each other and begin the road towards healing and real love.
I read this book years ago, and I was very frustrated by Cal and Laurie. Why couldn’t they just tell each other what was really going on inside? Cal, I thought, had an excuse, with his PTSD, but Laurie? She needed someone to shake her. She didn’t even tell Cal that she was still married, and it was obvious that he was falling in love with her. Come on, girl, I wanted to say, what is wrong with you? Can’t you recognize a good thing when you see it? But I read Twilight again in February as I was on my way to my aunt’s funeral, and it was as if it was a different book. What made the difference? Life happened to me. People get hurt, and they hide away who they really are, hoping to shield themselves from being wounded again. I now understood Laurie, and why she tried so hard to dig into her little foxhole and cover her head. I saw her mother, the stiff, unemotional Marjorie, who hadn’t dared to express anything honestly for decades, and I understood her too.
Tragedies happen. People make mistakes. The consequences don’t go away by themselves. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripples spread out and effect everything and everyone in their lives. But as this story shows so dramatically, there is redemption and forgiveness. If we will dare to be honest, if we can dare to love, we can find our way, and grow and learn from the experiences we go through. Kristen Heitzmann does an amazing job of showing the real people beneath the masks they wear. This book moved me deeply, and has made me determined to be not only a better writer, but a better person as well.