Paperback (also available as an e-book and an audiobook), 978-1-6846-3073-8, 376 pgs., $16.95
April 6, 2021
“. . . you have to give yourself permission to uncover spectacular happiness.”
Picking up the pieces after losing a spouse to an illness takes fortitude and time to heal and figure out the best way to fix a broken life. Lark Mead, née Lovejoy, has lost her husband, James, after a long, debilitating battle with ALS. Lark, a pro bono lawyer in Houston, is left to raise five-year-old Jamie and three-year-old Charlie alone and to ensure these two little boys never forget their dad and his brave battle to live a lifetime of memories in such a short time.
Financially stable after her husband’s death, Lark takes her boys to Fredericksburg, Texas, and moves in with her parents, hoping to find comfort in her childhood home, start anew in a small town, and maybe even dredge up a long-buried dream of owning a winery. What Lark finds is ex-soldier Wyatt Gifford, adjusting to civilian life and trying to heal his physical and psychological war wounds. While the romance factor is fairly high between Lark and Wyatt, the serious themes of evolving family dynamics, job-related stress, and childrearing take center stage.
Healing comes in many forms and on many levels, including grief from losing a loved one, physical scars and acclimation after losing a limb, and the process of bolstering familial relationships. In Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy, Lark finds herself deeply involved on all these levels of healing. Nothing prepares her to be a single parent, even with the emotional support from family, and no one can warn her about falling in love with someone with a heart of gold weighed down by emotional baggage and physical wreckage. When people hurt, love can be both balm and glue and provide a much-needed safe haven.
Kris Clink’s Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy is book one in the Enchanted Rock series, presented as a lighthearted romance wrapped in the serious psychological themes of PTSD and grief, without overt sensuality, bad language, or political bias. Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy is perfect for anyone wanting to read an enjoyable story set in the Texas Hill Country; however, this fiction is anything but superficial or full of fluff. Night terrors, self-doubt, and physical damage from military service are all too prevalent in today’s world, and Kris Clink’s story brings that conflict to light without burdening the reader with lengthy, depressing prose or tangents. The characters handle their pain realistically for the most part, giving the reader a glimpse into the struggle of reentering society after military service or after the death of a spouse.
Falling in love catches both Lark and Wyatt off guard because neither one is looking for a serious relationship, but honest friendship and family can sooth the internal emotional bruises and facilitate the transition from staring at a bleak future to taking chances and embracing a life filled with hope and laughter.
Texas wineries offer interesting imagery throughout. Cultivating the fruit and turning it into wine take time and hard work, similar to growing a healthy relationship. The end result can be delicious or unsavory, based on honest and ethical labor, realistic expectations, and sturdy roots and support system. Acknowledging another’s flaws and trauma takes just as much courage as revealing scars and fears, but when the ties are true and strong, love can illuminate the darkness and either keep the ghosts and torment at bay—or maybe even banish them completely.
Kris Clink's relatable characters rely on humor and tenderness to navigate complicated relationships. Set in middle America, her novels are laced with romance, heartbreak, and just enough snarky humor to rock the boat. When not writing, Kris spends her time searching for an open karaoke mike and an understanding audience. Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle, Kris lives in Wichita, Kansas, where her great Dane, Sophieanne, runs the house Kris shares with her editor-in-training husband.