It’s April 1947 in Savannah, Ga., and 15-year-old Peyton has his eyes on lovely Lisa. He’s happy just thinking about her, and he’s hoping to spend a lot of time with her in the months ahead. But at home, Peyton struggles as he witnesses his father, Marshall Cabot—the head of an affluent but discontented old Southern family, and a recently returned WWII veteran—drown his unspoken, horrific memories in alcohol.
Peyton has always admired his father. He’s often heard the story of Marshall’s bike trip from St. Augustine, Fla., to Key West when he was 15 years old. But now his dad is becoming increasingly remote, and Peyton isn’t sure what to think of him. When Marshall is involved in a tragic accident, Peyton’s life is further upended. To make matters worse, Lisa’s mother puts a stop to their relationship.
Peyton is sent to St. Augustine to spend time with Aunt Gert, his mother’s wise, independent, and feisty aunt. The older woman encourages Peyton to mature in skills, risk-taking, and understanding of his father and his family. When she shares a family secret, Peyton grasps the depth of his father’s character and suffering.
Peyton decides to use his father’s old map and travel by bike from St. Augustine to Key West, stopping at the places his father visited. As Peyton meets quirky, daring, wise, and colorful characters, most of whom are exceptionally kind and hospitable, he often feels “at war with himself, one minute struggling to piece together his dad’s every move, the next wishing he could put the long-cherished map away for good and find his own way, taking the road as it came, on his own terms.”
This gentle, coming-of-age journey narrative and romance novel for adults is based mostly on a true story. It contains some subtle biblical references pointing to hope found in Jesus Christ, who was forsaken by God on the cross and offers his presence and comfort to those who feel forsaken. (Revell)