I was in the middle of Penny Vincenzi’s THE BEST OF TIMES (Headline, 2009) when my hubby phoned to say that he had had a major car accident on the freeway. He had lost control on the icy road and the vehicle rolled over twice. Fortunately and miraculously he was left with only a sprained shoulder besides having had the fright of his life. THE BEST OF TIMES deals with the same topic that unexpectedly hit close to home, the after-effect of a devastating car crash on a bunch of victims and rescuers. From the inspiring actress who yearns to forget she even was in the lorry that started it all to the kind-hearted married doctor who pays dearly for having had his mistress on sight, not to mention the star-crossed lovers who almost lost the chance or reuniting after 60 years—those are only some of the fascinating people highlighted in this doorstopper of a novel.
Indeed, THE BEST OF TIMES reaches 880 pages and not once does it feel overwritten. It is an easy breezy read from cover to cover. The author is an ace at delivering multi-plotted situations. Her narrative, as well as her characterization, is fresh and oh so well-handled. I could go on and on praising the novel, just as I could go on and on talking about the plot and subplots but as always I prefer saying as little as possible so you can savor it just as I did. One thing I will admit, however, is that throughout my reading journey many a time I found myself smiling, cringing, and shedding a tear or two while hoping resolutions would eventually come for these lovable but flawed people. Many nights I stayed awake just to get to that finish line of a conclusion. I would have read hundreds of pages more, even, had it been the case.
Those who religiously follow this blog may remember me stating that I intended to read Penny Vincenzi’s novels chronologically. I am of course aware that I skipped many titles to get to this one. The reason might be the parallel it has with the accident my hubby experienced on that faithful day. I believe nothing is left for chance. Color me gullible but THE BEST OF TIMES may have been right there just so I could cope better with the situation. When death is just around the corner, the perspective of mortality becomes a whole new ballgame. I believe that what these fictitious people went through gave me the leeway to a connection far beyond my imagination. Farfetched to some perhaps but to me it’s clear as daylight. And for that, Miss Vincenzi, I will always be grateful.
You can still get this title wherever digital or conventional books are sold.
Until next post—Martin