By Laurel Johnson
1stBooks - September 2002
ISBN: 1403370591 (e-book) 1403370605 - Paperback
Some explicit sexual content

Reviewed by Nancy Mehl for
Buy a Copy (Amazon link N/A)

When the stories of a war in Europe reach Beck Sanow, a farm boy in Frankfort, Kansas, he makes the decision to join the fighting on the front lines. His dreams of Paris, her beauty and her love of art, fuel the young painter to protect the city he longs to experience. But the horror of war is beyond his endurance. After undergoing more than three years of hell on earth, Beck Sanow, now a shadow of the young man who ventured to the other side of the ocean to battle for his dreams - has none left inside. Broken, devastated, and alone, he fights his way back to Paris. A kindly concierge at the Hotel DeVille, takes pity on the wraithlike man whose dead eyes see nothing beyond the darkness of his own soul. Jean Clerc takes Beck in, giving him a place to lay his head and food to feed his body. His spirit is another matter. Jean has no cure for what ails the broken man. Perhaps he is beyond help - destroyed by the evil that men perpetuate on each other.

One night, as Beck sits in a French bistro, a young woman begins to sing. Her song and her presence touch a heart he thought he no longer possessed. Something in her large, luminous eyes brings a touch of light to the blackness that envelopes him. When another man savagely beats Cerise, Beck cares for her. As her injuries heal, his inner wounds begin to mend as well. Beck knows he must face his past and confront the nightmares that rage inside him. With Cerise by his side, he believes he can once again find the Beck Sanow he left for dead on a bloody European battlefield. But tragedy has another plan for the lovers. Can love really conquer all - or can the human soul wander so far from the light that it can never find its way back?

Laurel Johnson has penned a modern masterpiece. Her poetic words flow seamlessly, creating a story of incredible depth. Beck and Cerise become flesh and bone as the reader feels their pain and celebrates their triumph. Johnson clearly displays her natural ability as a storyteller and her deep understanding of the human spirit.

THE ALLEY OF WISHES is a book no one should miss - and no one will forget.


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