In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe decided to study how stressful life events affect one’s health. Based on their test subjects’ rankings, Holmes and Rahe discovered the most stressful life events to be the death of a spouse and divorce.
Eastern Kentucky author Tommie Conrad deals with both these elements in his novel Kentucky Summer (CreateSpace, $11, www.createspace.com, search for title).
Set in Lexington, the story follows Dr. Marianne Capshaw, a pediatrician whose busy career got the best of her marriage, and Ryan Devane, a horse farm owner mourning the loss of his wife to leukemia. The profound hurt of these losses has left both characters closed off to the possibility of future relationships.
When a well-meaning hospital administrator sets up Ryan and Marianne on a blind date, neither is prepared for the sparks that result. Ryan must consider whether he’s ready to risk giving his heart to someone else. Fears that he will forget the memory of his wife haunt him with each step closer to commitment. Marianne struggles with a strong desire for motherhood that seemed out of reach after her divorce.
As romance blossoms, Marianne also finds another relationship beginning with a sick young boy, Michael, under her hospital care. Having no family of his own, he quickly wins over the hearts of the hospital staff, most of all Marianne. An interesting twist of fate seems to have brought Ryan, Marianne, and Michael together for a reason. Now Ryan is faced with even tougher decisions as he wrestles with his feelings and his hurts. Have the three found love, or has it found them?
Tommie Conrad is a University of Kentucky alumnus who enjoys reading, traveling, drawing, and painting when he’s not writing. His paintings include the cover of his first novel. He finds listening to music while he’s writing helps him set the scene for his story. Readers can connect further with Conrad by visiting his blog at www.tommieconrad.blogspot.com.