Hush Now, Don’t Explain
by Dennis Must
Coffeetown Press

"I pulled him to me as I had Billy the night before. But here I wasn’t holding a man. Instead I was holding a past."

Sometimes what is unsaid speaks loudest. Now and then a writer has the confidence to hint rather than hammer. This author’s story of the loss of innocence and the search for one’s future in the secrets of the past uses revelation sparingly—which is to say well. Nor does he burden the reader with expositional excess. No sentence, paragraph, or page feels overwritten. While one is eager for the start of each new chapter, there’s no overt attempt to create cliffhangers. This is a novel where the writer’s measured pace makes it all the more enjoyable.

Just after the Second World War a young orphan named Honor goes to live in a boarding house. She is befriended by Billy, who is only a few years older. As they grow they see and share much together, such as a curiosity for the brothel just down the street, a longing to see new places and experience new things, and a relentless desire to know more about who their parents really were and how they came to be separated from them. Eventually they run away and begin an adventure on the road. It is a journey that matures them beyond their years and sets them on different paths to find the enlightenment they seek.

Author Must has penned far more than a coming of age story. He has created a circle of life mystery that encompasses not only the devastating effects of racism, but also the life affirming values of kindness and friendship. This tale of shared humanity will be recalled warmly long after the last page has been turned.

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