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Book Review: Comeback Love – Peter Golden

Donna Brown3 comments1019 views
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About Comeback Love
Comeback Love

Like Nicholas Sparks and Robert James Waller, first-time novelist Peter Golden knows how to write the kind of nostalgic fiction that men and women alike fall for. In Comeback Love, a universal story about lost love, he offers an evocative debut that begins in the tumultuous 1960s and ends in the feverish thrill of present-day New York City.

Over thirty-five years ago, Gordon Meyers, an aspiring writer with a low number in the draft lottery, packed his belongings and reluctantly drove away, leaving Glenna Rising, the sexy, sharp-witted med student he couldn’t imagine living without.

Now, decades later, Gordon is a former globetrotting consultant with a grown son, an ex-wife, and an overwhelming desire to see Glenna again. Stunned when Gordon walks into her Manhattan office, Glenna agrees to accompany him for a drink. As the two head out into the snow-swept city, they become caught up in the passions that drew them together before tearing them apart. And as the evening unfolds, Gordon finally reveals the true reason for his return.

Comeback Love is a bracing journey into the hearts of two lovers who came of age in the 1960s. Plumbing the depths of youth, regret, and desire, Peter Golden deftly illuminates the bonds that mysteriously endure in the face of momentous change.

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Review: Comeback Love

When I was reading some of the press material about this debut literary fiction novel from Atria Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), I noticed this quotation from Susan Novotny of Staff Picks Press:

“If you are a boomer who fell in love in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, this book is for you.”

Well, I’m not and I didn’t – I wasn’t born until several years later – but I still feel that this book is for me.  It opens with the protagonist, Gordon Meyers, looking up his former lover, Glenna.  From this point on, the book hints at some big event that led the two of them to separate, despite their love for one another.  But what could it be?

Peter Golden does a marvellous job of building up suspense throughout the novel, without over-playing his dramatic hand.  Gordon and Glenna don’t have a perfect relationship by any means – there are rows and upheavals, misunderstandings and meddling from other parties – but the tension builds slowly and steadily as you wonder what could possibly arise that would cause decades of separation.

One of the clever aspects of Comeback Love is the way Golden keeps injecting progressively more serious events into the novel so you find yourself asking ‘Will this be what does it?’ or ‘Surely this is the one!’.  In this way, despite the steady almost melodic pace of the novel, the suspense is always there to keep you turning the pages.  Once you do finally realise how these two have been split and kept apart, the story takes on a very different feel – the suspense gives way to frustration, confusion and sadness.  As well as the role of the characters in their own fates, an important aspect of the novel is also the role that events in American society play and how Glenna and Gordon’s responses to these events impact their lives forever.  As you begin to conceive of the cost to these two people of the decisions that were made by themselves and others, the book becomes much deeper.

Comeback Love is a beautiful debut from an excellent writer.  Peter Golden’s attention to detail brings the characters to life – their quirks, foibles and personalities constantly coming across through banal and seemingly unimportant gestures that Golden has taken the time to capture and which add real substance to his portrayals of Gordon and Glenna in particular.  This is a moving and compelling read and a great accomplishment for any writer, let alone a first-time novelist.  Technically a 4.5 but in the absence of half scores, a thoroughly well earned 4 is the final verdict!

Verdict: 4/5

Source: Netgalley

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.


  1. Really a great review. Comeback Love seems a new generation aspiration with lot of suspense added with a huge waves of emotions. Seems the story will take to the real world of human psychology. Would love to buy it soon. 🙂

  2. I am not a boomer myself, but I guess this story will be interesting. I would definitely include this one on my bucket list.

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