Title: To Never Know
Author: Thomas Duffy
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Hollywood Book Reviews
To Never Know by author Thomas Duffy is the story of love lost, found and lost again, as a young man is trying to break free from his troubled past.
When we first encounter Steve Lewis, he is a senior in high school in New York City. He is a bit shy, lacking in confidence even though he achieves good grades. He’s just not like the other kids, and doesn’t have a date to the prom. This small fact is the hinge for bigger events yet to come, as he suddenly meets a new girl to the school, Kelly, who like him, is an outsider and also has no prom date lined up. The attraction is immediate and mutual. But just when things seem to be going right with Kelly, school is over and Steve loses touch. Desperate for female companionship, he meets Nancy on an online dating website. They get along well for a while, but their relationship, like that with Kelly, is gradually derailed. Steve’s family moves to Florida, but after the 9-11 attack, Steve feels he must get back to the city and reconnect with Kelly. She seems to have dropped out of sight—but Nancy is back in the picture—until tragedy forces Steve in a different direction, alienating Nancy, probably permanently. Realizing he’ll never know what life with Kelly, the girl of his dreams, might have been like, Steve decides to help her mother, Emily; what develops is an unconventional connection based on need and grief; yet it seems, at times, to have the potential of blooming into a true love affair.
Life has more in store for Steve, though. He can’t go on accepting low paying jobs and dodging the possibility of forging a professional career path. He must stop compromising with his work life, acknowledge his abilities and make the most of them. And he must stop compromising with love, and seek the fulfillment of his heart’s deepest desires.
Practiced novelist Thomas Duffy writes in plain language displaying a fascination for the supposed minor details of life, which he depicts capably. We know where Steve works, how he gets there, what he does there, and how he feels about his workmates. Through such spare, seemingly mundane details, Duffy subtly reveals the intensity of his hero’s secret suffering and the blunders he makes as he learns how to be a man and most importantly, how to treat a woman and win the love he has been waiting for. The ending that the author has chosen for Steve’s story will certainly surprise and satisfy the readers.
Thomas Duffy has built a complicated tale out of the simple events of everyday life, with a hero wrapped up so tightly that it takes the prodding of fate to help him see the larger landscape.