Reviewed by Sara Padilla

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A Stop in the Park is the story of Michael, a middle-aged family man who works long hours, gets paid very well, and despite a beautiful home and a successful career, finds it increasingly difficult to relate to his wife, Jamie, and their two daughters. After putting in several years as a hard-working attorney, he is often frustrated, angry and impatient. Although he realizes how unsatisfying his work has become, he doesn’t see the possibility of change until a stranger named Rufus arrives, unexpectedly, into his life. Rufus asks him questions that cause Michael to explore his potential to create a happier way of life, and he begins to mull over the possibilities.

However, it may be too late. Jamie kindly yet seriously asks him to leave, and it appears the marriage may be over.

The story moves quickly as Michael struggles to figure out how and what he must change in order to save his marriage and reclaim happiness. Stopping by a public park in Washington, D.C., Michael chats freely with Rufus during a game of chess. The two men are an unexpected pair. Each man discovers how much one can offer the other – both professionally and personally.

Becoming friends, Michael shares his love of music with Rufus, who in turn invites him to visit a unique youth group in the heart of the city. There he offers lessons to low-income students who are engaged immediately, and in turn engage Michael in the classroom. Back at home, Michael begins to realize his capacity for change. Skeptical, Jamie observes him changing as well, and begins to consider a new approach to their way of life. The question remains whether each or both of them will make the right decisions.

In a time when many households rely on two incomes to make ends meet, this story challenges the reader to consider a different way of life. It recognizes the fact that change isn’t easy, and doesn’t come without sacrifice, but it gives us a place from which we may reconsider our own values and professional decisions. A Stop in the Park is a heartwarming journey of family and unexpected friendship and a true pleasure to read.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

A Stop in the Park is available for $0.99 for a Kindle download and $11.99 for a paperback on September 20-21st only!

Ms. Sara Padilla is a freelance writer and maintains a personal blog on family, health and wellness. She resides in the Pacific Northwest.

Review and giveaway copies are provided free of any obligation by Peggy Panagopoulos Strack. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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