★★★★ Sometimes the people you need in your life the most are the ones you were never supposed to meet. Around the Block is a novella about the moments someone is at their most defeated and how the sacrifices of strangers can create bonds that last a lifetime. Jane is recently divorced and has moved back in with her outgoing and lavish mother. Her sarcasm is a shield to keep people away but her obligatory weekly walks with her mother’s dog, Thor, force her to make connections with the neighbors. Connor Gentry is a widower pediatrician who has let his life drift by, despite the meddling of his friends and family. Esther is trapped in an abusive, loveless marriage and can only find true happiness in her daughter Hannah. When she can no longer shield Hannah from her husband Maurice, the three characters band together in unexpected ways to save mother and child from destruction. Tragic, fast paced, and with a healthy dosage of humor, Around the Block is an experiment in trust, love, and pure friendship.
Keslar has expertly written a peppy novella that can be consumed in one sitting, as the reader races through the pages just as the characters race to save each other. The characters are relatable and easy for the reader to root for. From the very start, the reader feels engrossed in the unifying conflict that suddenly causes each of the characters’ storylines to collide, and the humor and banter present throughout the story, serve to effectively cut the intense dramatic tension at key points. Around the Block is a great example of how a few deftly plotted events can set up an edge-of-your-seat drama that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. Full of warmth despite the darkness, kindness and love triumphs over evil.