Scott Lord’s novel Come November is a stunning family saga, love story, and historical, political thriller all wrapped in a riveting read. I planned to read this book in small chunks, as it’s 400 pages. But I quickly fell in love with the protagonist, Jeanne, and much to my family’s chagrin, the book consumed much of my weekend.
So, what’s Come November about and why did I like it so much?
The book opens with widower, Jeanne, age 72, struggling with a heart issue. As she reflects on her life and mortality, she receives an email from her lost love. Despite her marrying and raising a son, her heart belongs to another man, John. He reaches out from Italy, asking her to visit and collaborate on a book—one that begs to be told of their youthful adventure. But John is not referencing a fun, little excursion from their past. Rather, an event in history that forever changed their lives—a political assassination attempt.
This is a book that goes back and forth from the past to the present, gradually unearthing the enigma of that fateful trip alongside the mystery of what kept Jeanne and John from their happily ever after.
I’ll give you a hint: budding journalist, John, puts his career first, whereas Jeanne, a talented high school stringer , puts her dreams on hold for love. But their goals are swiftly upended, and their values shift. Why? The international intrigue and political threats they uncover on that trip to the United Nations in 1947 have enduring aftershocks which change their trajectories in both rewarding and unsettling ways.
I’m sure the author will be pleased to know that Come November has glimmers of John Jakes and Ken Follet, some of my favorite authors. In today’s world of online news and social feeds, the journalistic process of following a lead to print publication took me back to my reporting days. You don’t need these familiar memories to fully enjoy this book. Jeanne and John’s youthful, story-hungry Woodward and Bernstein-esque adventures, coupled with the unfolding family saga, make Come November, a must-read!
Image and Book Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc. and Greenleaf Book Group