By: Enid Harlow
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.
Publication Date: May 2013
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: June 24, 2013
In her latest novel, Good To Her, Enid Harlow delivers a bittersweet tale that spans New York’s Prohibition era to the changing and evolving times of the ‘60’s as Nate Neumann ponders the true meaning of love and the essence of its worth.
Nate Neumann is a successful and accomplished New York city businessman. He is the president of Chicle; the company responsible for the famed Chiclets® gum. The year is 1964 and today he reflects on the countless years his life was blessed because of his wife, Sallie. How appropriate his reminiscing should occur in James Moore’s iconic New York eatery, Dinty Moore’s; a place he has frequented for decades. This was the one place Nate resolved as the only true home he ever knew. Long gone are his inner circle of fight night buddies—one-by-one over the years beginning with James. Today his thoughts are not reserved for them. Today is Sallie’s day. He remembers the first time he laid eyes on his beautiful Sallie—young and full of life Sallie with her piercing green eyes, contagious laugh and exuberance toward life. He goes back to Wednesday night—November 21, 1945. Sallie May Wheeler walked through the front, etched-glass door of Dinty Moore’s. She chose him—a man more than twenty years her senior…him. Was he Good to Her? He wondered...
For some it was as much a shock as a surprise when Nate married Sallie; yet others understood why. It was his destiny. It was the one event in his life that could wash away the guilt his father imposed on him from the day he was born—a day when just as he was being brought into the world, his mother was washed away. How could that have been Nate’s fault? It doesn’t matter; his father insisted it was. Sallie came and so began his chance to do life over. Nate was blessed with the prospect of taking her innocence and teaching her the ways of the world as their years together unfold. He educates her on the history of the Big Apple and all its allure as she graces him with a family—two adoring daughters. She may have had her infidelities over the years and perhaps even some selfishness with her insistence in her pursuit of a dancing life; but she always came home to him. Yet Nate wanted to know. Was he Good to Her? He wondered…
As a native New Yorker, Enid Harlow delivers a confident and delicious epic tale of the inner works and coveted allure of the goings on behind the etched glass entryway of the iconic Dinty Moore’s restaurant. She showcases the celebrity, famous patrons and theatre people as they frequent the one establishment they all had in common—Dinty Moore’s. Through detailed imagery and the tangible electrical pulse of New York, Harlow portrays the essence of the Big Apple both pre and post prohibition. Simply put, her wonderfully descriptive writing springs off each page. She coaxes a willing reader to follow her lead as she exposes the complexities of the lives of her characters. However, she devotes detailed focus and dedication to the intricacies of her main characters, Nate Neumann and his Indiana born Sallie Mae Wheeler. Enid Harlow has delivered a story that will leave her readership with a melancholy sense of loss but has, at the same time, eloquently accomplished the necessity of closure by the time she arrives at story’s end.
Quill says: Good to Her is a truly enjoyable read that focuses as much on true love as it does the fantastic history of one of the world’s most iconic cities.