For as long as Halley Steen has known her husband Nathan, he has carried a handful of stones in his pocket. Each day he uses those stones to remind him to follow the Golden Rule, moving a stone from one pocket to the other with each act of kindness. So it's not unusual that Nathan stops to help a stranger on the side of the highway while on his way to his son's football game one Friday evening. But that one act will change all of their lives forever, when a car hydroplanes off the road, killing Nathan instantly.
As Halley and her children Ty and Alice struggle with their grief, Nathan's spiritual legacy lives on. A Facebook page appears, where countless stories about Nathan's selfless acts are shared. But among them is one that stands out, from a woman who says that Nathan saved her life. Neither Halley nor her children have ever heard of Madeline Zuckerman. But soon Halley discovers years of e-mails from this woman to her husband on his computer that refer to "our little girl." How could her husband have kept the secret of this other child for their entire marriage? Why had he lied to her? Was he not the man she thought he was?
Only thirteen-year-old Alice maintains unwavering faith in her father. She knows there's an explanation. When she sets out to find Madeline and learn the truth, she will start to unravel the complex story of The One Good Thing Nathan Steen did that had the greatest impact of all.
If you want a book that is entertaining, filled with mystery, and edifying...this is a must read! Honestly, I started to pass on it since I had too much going on right now and a stack of other books and films I had promised to look at and was concerned about fitting it into my schedule since the blog tour is this week. I finally decided that it looked like something I would enjoy in between some of the "heavier" books I was reading. This became one of those books I did not want to put down once I got started. The topics of bullying, secrets, and the impact it has on families and told through multi-generational layers and time periods showed a cause and effect that changes a life and determines how you treat others.
One man's life changed when he caught a glimpse of the inner heartbreak of a classmate. His honor and acts of kindness are what he has become known for, but his unexpected death reveals secrets that appear to vindicate those who felt he had betrayed them in the past. Was Nathan the good man everyone thought he was or was he trying to atone for lies he kept covered? The use of many characters voicing their POV in individual chapters, in addition to the comments left by others on the Nathan Steen Facebook Tribute Page "The One Good Thing" gave a well-rounded look at the man.
This also lets the reader ponder what each of us may face and how it appears to others. I loved the actual use of stones Nathan used to help him make a conscious effort to do a good thing. We often hurl stones of indifference, hatred, avoidance ,etc. at others and think nothing of it. Is lack of action, when offered the chance to do good, as bad as doing evil? Two of my favorite quotes sum up my opinion:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ~ Edmund Burke
"Do to others as you would have them do to you." ~ Jesus Christ
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment letting me know that you would like to be entered in the drawing to win your own copy of
"The One Good Thing". Drawing will be held Tues., March 19, 2013 at 1pm CDT.
Kevin Alan Milne is the author of The One Good Thing, The Paper Bag Christmas, The Nine Lessons, Sweet Misfortune, and The Final Note. He earned an MBA at Pennsylvania State University. Born in Portland, Oregon, Milne grew up in the nearby quiet country town of Sherwood, Oregon, where he currently resides with his wife and five children.
I received my copy of this book from Sarah Reck at Hachette Book Group and Center Street for the opportunity to review it. I was not required to give a positive review or to participate in the blog tour.