From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a moving novel about the bond between a five year old abandoned by his mother and the man who raises him. After accidentally killing a police office five years ago, Pearl has managed to protect her bright, frail young son Leonard from her violent past. Then one day, Pearl drops him off with their neighbor Mitch, and never returns. Mitch is far from the ideal caretaker--he’s having an affair with a client’s wife--but he and Leonard must find a way to bridge the gap between them as they bond as parent and child.Gritty but big-hearted, Love in the Present Tense is an inspiring story of love and the surprising forms it can take.
Uniting vivid, needy characters in unlikely relationships is Hyde's specialty (Pay It Forward), evidenced in her emotional sixth novel. Featuring a tough teen, her sweet son, and their flawed but sincere neighbor, each take turns narrating their story in fresh, distinct voices. At thirteen, Pearl lives with a kind prostitute while her mom copes with a crippling drug addiction. In one tragic night, Pearl gets herself pregnant and accidentally kills the father, a police officer; on the run, Pearl decides that she and her son, Leonard, will share a "forever love," an unbreakable and unconditional bond. Pearl protects Leonard like a lioness, shielding him from the dangerous world and the tragic story of his father. At five, Leonard smart, loving and saddled with a degenerative eye disease stays with 25-year-old next-door neighbor Mitch while Pearl works; when Pearl disappears, Mitch must assume responsibility for Leonard not easy to do while maintaining a home business and an affair with a client's wife. Despite Pearl's mysterious departure, Leonard stays true to her "forever love," denying that he has been abandoned. Mitch isn't so sure, and when Leonard begins having his own doubts, they both must re-examine their beliefs. Hyde excels in sentimental, utopian storytelling, and though it isn't as sharp a hook as "paying it forward," her story of a love that transcends time, place and human weakness is a worthy successor.