From the bestselling, acclaimed author of Tully and The Bronze Horseman comes the unforgettable love story between a college-bound young woman and a traveling troubadour on his way to war—a moving, compelling novel of love lost and found set against the stunning backdrop of Eastern Europe.
Chloe is just weeks away from heading off to college and starting a new life far from her home in Maine when she embarks on a great European adventure with her boyfriend and two best friends. Their destination is Barcelona, but first they must detour through the historic cities of Eastern Europe to keep an old family promise.
Here, in this fledgling post-Communist world, Chloe meets a charming American vagabond named Johnny, who carries a guitar, an easy smile—and a lifetime of secrets. From Treblinka to Trieste, from Karnikava to Krakow, from Vilnius to Venice, the unlikely band of friends and lovers traverse the old world on a train trip that becomes a treacherous journey into Europe’s and Johnny’s darkest past—a journey that jeopardizes Chloe’s plans for the future and all she ever thought she wanted.
But the lifelong bonds Chloe and her friends share are about to be put to the ultimate test—and whether or not they reach Barcelona, they can only be certain that their lives will never be the same again.
A sweeping, beautiful tale that mesmerizes and enchants, Lone Star will linger long in the memory once the final page is turned.
Veteran author Simons stumbles in this coming-of-age romance about four Maine teenagers and the European adventure that changes their lives. Chloe Divine has spent half her life dreaming of going to Barcelona with her best friend, Hannah. They finally make the attempt their summer before college, with boyfriends in tow, and tack on a detour to Eastern Europe. The story suffers from characters rife with all the irritating immaturity of their youth while burdened with an implausible middle-aged introspection. It collapses under the weight of overwrought prose: "Reading about Barcelona burst her heart into a flame." The foursome are insufferable by the time they reach Latvia, a quality that is exacerbated when Johnny Rainbow waltzes into their lives with a guitar on his back and a foreshadowing tremor in his hands. Fortunately, Johnny rescues the story, letting the focus expand to the history and beauty of their setting, where Simons's strength as a storyteller comes into play. Chloe's growing passion for Johnny and dread in the face of a clearly doomed romance turns a clunky, irritating slog into an engrossing epic with a too-tidy ending.