Captivating. Mesmerizing. Hypnotizing. Just a few of the words I would use to describe The Traveling Man, the newest novel from Jane Harvey-Berrick. I knew from the very beginning that this book would consume me, and I was not wrong. From compelling characters, a unique and impassioned love story, to an exciting, uncommon setting, this story hit all the right spots for me.
With her words, Harvey-Berrick paints a beautiful picture of first love, beginning with the unexpected friendship between two very different children. Aimee comes from an uptight, straightlaced family in a small town, never seeing much outside her own backyard, while Kes is wild, traveling the country as a carnie, wise and experienced beyond his young age. Their connection is immediate, and even I, as a reader, was charmed by a 10-year-old Kestrel Donohue.
What follows is a story of friendship, devotion, and eventually, love. The two youngsters are put to the test from the very beginning, only able to see each other for two weeks each summer. But somehow, their devotion to each other does not wane. Their relationship is so unusual, especially for people so young, and it was fascinating to watch it play out on the page. Jane’s writing is so vivid, I could feel my heart racing right along with Aimee’s every time she heard the trucks from the carnival rumbling past her house each summer, signifying Kes’ return.
Told in two parts, their story borders on epic, stretching many years, and many trials. Not once, however, are you left to doubt the power of their connection, and you never stop rooting for this couple. This really shows the power of Harvey-Berrick’s storytelling, that she can make this strange and unlikely connection truly seem right.
Of course, since this book is part of a duet, their story is not complete. You’re definitely left wanting more at the end. I saw one review that likened the end of this book to an “intermission”, rather than a “cliffhanger”, and I LOVE that comparison, and feel like it’s totally fitting for this book.
I’ll be waiting with baited breath for the next act, when The Traveling Woman releases in the spring.
Meet Jane Harvey-Berrick
I live in a small village by the ocean and walk my little dog, Pip, every day. It’s on those beachside walks that I have all my best ideas.
Writing has become a way of life – and one that I love to share.