Breaking and Holding
by Judy Fogarty
Lake Union Publishing
For Patricia Curren, the summer of 1978 begins with a devastating discovery: an unfamiliar black pearl button in the bed she shares with her controlling husband, Jack. Seeking the courage to end her desolate marriage, Patricia spends a quiet summer alone on beautiful Kiawah Island. But when she meets Terry Sloan, a collegiate tennis player trying to go pro, their physical attraction sparks a slow burn toward obsession.
Once Patricia and Terry share closely guarded secrets from their pasts, they want more than a summer together. But their love soon fractures, as a potential sponsor takes an unusually keen interest in Terry—both on court and off. And when single, career-driven Lynn Hewitt arrives, other secrets must surface, including the one Patricia has kept from Terry all summer.
An intimate portrait of the folly of the human heart, Breaking and Holding explores buried truths that are startlingly unveiled. What’s left in their wake has the power not only to shatter lives…but to redeem them.
This isn’t my story. It’s Patricia and Terry’s. But in the summer of 1978, their lives were wound around mine like strands of twine around a spool. Twine. Rope. Barbed wire by August.
She had a smile that happened slowly. It tantalized him as he waited for its full expanse and the shifting of a tiny birthmark just above her upper lip. It was so black, flat, and perfectly round that it looked like a dot she’d drawn with the tip of a permanent marker.
I combined her account with his, similarities exceeded differences. But the differences were what mattered. I suppose the truth lay somewhere in the middle, without angry reds and blinding whites, without the midnight-black of selective memory, without the grays they dabbled in to muddy their guilt and failures. Prosecutor and defender for both, judge and jury for neither, I deposed and cross-examined her as diligently as I had deposed and cross-examined him. Husband and wife were equally convincing.
This isn’t Chekhov, Tricia thought on the flight to Savannah. This is theater of the absurd, and I have the leading role.
Breaking and Holding was a complex, evocative, and angsty read. The characters were fascinatingly tarnished, frustratingly weak-natured, and so deeply flawed they were practically ruined before the story started. They were also stunningly detailed with vibrant descriptions that thoroughly conjured them from the page and brought them fully formed and clearly visible while they darted about in my minds-eye. I was frequently annoyed with Patricia’s floundering and helplessness, although I had to keep reminding myself the story was taking place during 1978 and early 80s. While this era wasn’t that long ago, it would be a largely unrecognizable world to many today. I came of age in the 70s and do not remember it fondly; men enjoyed a profound sense of entitlement where domestic abuse and/or intimidation were generally not reported nor unusual, and women were considered to be dependents or possessions instead of partners. Being a dominating a-hole was frighteningly close to a revered status in the inbred rural hamlet of my youth.
Written from a multiple POV, Ms. Fogarty expertly captured the pop culture and flavor of the era while keeping the storyline taut with tension and fraught with anxiety and profound inaction. Everyone had at least one or two dark secrets and feared exposure and a sense of impending disaster. I felt the constant thrum of pressure and awaited the approaching train wreck; I knew it was coming and was intrigued about just what the specific antecedent would be that would trip the bomb and blow the track. There were multiple instances I thought the fuse was lit and was bracing for the explosion, but oh – what a sly and clever minx Ms. Fogarty is, she fooled me more than once. The storyline was cleverly constructed and smartly written. Judy Fogarty has made a stunning debut.
About Judy Fogarty
Judy Fogarty lives, writes, reads, and runs on the historic Isle of Hope, in her native Savannah, Georgia. She holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois and has served as Director of Marketing for private golf and tennis communities in the Savannah/Hilton Head area, including The Landings on Skidaway Island, Berkeley Hall, and Callawassie Island. She is a devoted (even rowdy) tennis fan as anyone who has ever had the pleasure (or displeasure) of watching a match with her will attest. Breaking and Holding is her debut novel. She is happily at work on her second, and as always, enjoys the invaluable support of her husband, Mike, and children, Colin and Sara Jane.
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