TGleichner

West Across the Board by Andrew Jalbert

In book review, Pump up Your Book Promotion on May 14, 2008 at 7:55 am

ISBN – 978-0-595-42194-7

170 pages

www.iuniverse.com

To purchase click here.

Excerpt from the back of the book:

What are the elements of friendship that last a lifetime – the mysterious connection that can outlast great distances and long periods of separation to bring friends back together?  For Lazaro, a salty Cuban mariner, and Dominic, a sophisticated Chicago engineer, the answers can be found in the game of chess.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect when reading this book.  First novels can be a bit choppy and poorly edited at times, showing that the author has some growing to do before the true quality of their work shines through.  Such is not the case when it comes to Andrew Jalbert.  I was delighted not only by the story, but by the way the characters were formed and the ability of the author to separate two different eras in the same book, while still allowing the story to flow smoothly – something that is not an easy task.

The friendship between Lazaro and Dominic is one that we all hope to have.  When tragedy strikes Lazaro he flees the Keys and decides to start over, never looking back.  His friend Dominic writes faithfully at first, but Lazaro just wants to close that part of his life so he packs the letters away with the infamous chess board.  He does think of his friend often, but it is too painful to think of everything that has happened so he immerses himself in the lives of his wife and son.  But when tragedy strikes again, he starts to rethink the separation and writes Dominic, keeping it very informal and just full of information about what has been going on in his life.  Dominic writes back but also keeps it impersonal.  This continues until Lazaro receives a phone call which beckons to his heart to go back to the Keys to see his long-time friend, something he should have done long ago.

This story is sure to tug at your heartstrings and make you realize that sometimes it is better to face your fears and keep living, without giving up the things that truly matter.  Very well written and easy to read!

On a side note, I was THRILLED to have Manitowoc mentioned, as this is my hometown.  And, my husband is from Two Rivers.  During World War II, Manitowoc built 28 submarines, and we still have one on display.  I have been through it a bunch of times, and it is truly amazing to think that people actually functioned on these vessels.   

 Thanks to everyone at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to read this!

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  1. Wow, thank you, Tracee! I’ll go inform Andrew…he’ll be delighted!

  2. This sounds like a wonderful book.

    Cheryl

  3. […] AMATEUR DE LIVRE: I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect when reading this book. First novels can be a bit choppy and poorly edited at times, showing that the author has some growing to do before the true quality of their work shines through. Such is not the case when it comes to Andrew Jalbert. […]

  4. This is a great case for not judging a book by its cover. I most likely would never have picked up this book from the cover art but your review showed that it isn’t even what I imagined the story would be. It sounds like a great story.

  5. This quickly has become one of my favorite books and I have given it away as gifts to family and friends and they all have grown to love it as well. Mr. Jalbert spins a heart-warming tall of true friendship that transcends decades. Don’t we all wish to find that?

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