Bernie Brown’s debut novel, I Never Told You, is an emotional mother-daughter story that moves geographically from a small town in Iowa to a competitive art school in Chicago to the glitz and glam of Hollywood in 1965. Anna and her daughter Katya love each other, but there are important parts of their lives they can’t share with each other, moving them apart emotionally as well. The chasm between them deepens, and only tragedy can bring them together.
The strength of the story comes through Katya’s transformation from a teen with a dream to a woman navigating the ups and downs of the dream realized. The setting is accompanied by what – if committed to disc – is a wonderful and nostalgic musical play list, an accessible reminder that music crosses all strata of life despite our differences. Pop culture references of the era root the story and help to recall American life from over a half century ago, which in the case of this reader brought back fond childhood memories. Secondary characters are delightful, especially Chubbs (an interesting name for an interesting character with an interesting marriage). Perhaps Chubbs deserves a companion novel of her own *wink*wink*. Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.