The Key to Everything
After WWII and a family tragedy, Peyton Cabot seeks connection with his troubled veteran father by retracing the trip he'd taken from Savannah to Key West at the same age. The adventure forces Peyton to come to terms with his identity and decide how much he's willing to risk for the girl he loves.

The Key to Everything Details

TitleThe Key to Everything
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 2nd, 2020
PublisherFleming H. Revell Company
ISBN-139780800737504
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Romance, Christian Fiction, Young Adult

The Key to Everything Review

  • Maureen Timerman
    January 1, 1970
    As we begin this story we are at the annual family picnic, a very wealthy dysfunctional family, when tragedy hits the life of young Peyton.Now this young man is a very respectful, kind to others, and has a big heart. You will like his parents, and his Aunt and Finn, and the impact they have on his young life.As we journey with Peyton, without a doubt you see life repeating itself, and there are some surprises along the way.A story of growing up and becoming a young man, a story of learning about As we begin this story we are at the annual family picnic, a very wealthy dysfunctional family, when tragedy hits the life of young Peyton.Now this young man is a very respectful, kind to others, and has a big heart. You will like his parents, and his Aunt and Finn, and the impact they have on his young life.As we journey with Peyton, without a doubt you see life repeating itself, and there are some surprises along the way.A story of growing up and becoming a young man, a story of learning about his father and wanting to seek what he was seeking, and a story of young love and finding oneself.Loved that there was an Epilogue at the end, and we are updated and find out what happened!#TheKeytoEverythingI received this book through Revell Reads, and was not required to give a positive review.
    more
  • Olivia
    January 1, 1970
    *This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell, through Interviews & Reviews, for my honest opinion.* There was something tangible about this story when I picked it up. Although I read it slowly, I loved Peyton's story. As he biked across Florida I could see and smell the fresh ocean and hot sun. The people he met along the way, and his love for his parents encouraged him to know their story. The romance was sweet. I was a bit unsure how I felt about the such strong love at a *This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell, through Interviews & Reviews, for my honest opinion.* There was something tangible about this story when I picked it up. Although I read it slowly, I loved Peyton's story. As he biked across Florida I could see and smell the fresh ocean and hot sun. The people he met along the way, and his love for his parents encouraged him to know their story. The romance was sweet. I was a bit unsure how I felt about the such strong love at a young age, but it was done so well and sweet. There isn't a strong spiritual message...a lot about finding happiness, but I appreciate the hope that was found in Peyton's journey.I recommend this beautiful story that's a perfect summer read and may make you want to go to Florida for a few weeks.
    more
  • Ebos Aifuobhokhan
    January 1, 1970
    We sure don't get to choose our families and when they come dysfunctional there is so much we can do. Peyton had one but his father was different and Peyton followed in his footsteps. I loved the way this book drew me in. I felt every emotion as I was journeying with Peyton. I admired the actions and decisions he made despite his young age. He had a good head on his shoulders. Despite his loss, he didn't drown under it but sort answers just like his father before him. And he wasn't disappointed. We sure don't get to choose our families and when they come dysfunctional there is so much we can do. Peyton had one but his father was different and Peyton followed in his footsteps. I loved the way this book drew me in. I felt every emotion as I was journeying with Peyton. I admired the actions and decisions he made despite his young age. He had a good head on his shoulders. Despite his loss, he didn't drown under it but sort answers just like his father before him. And he wasn't disappointed. There are all kinds of family, some you are born with and some you are lucky to meet along the way. What Peyton lacked in blood relatives he gained in beautiful people God planted across his path. I really loved this book. I received a copy of this book and this is my honest opinion.
    more
  • Staci
    January 1, 1970
    Unique coming of age story about a 15 year old young man from Georgia. Peyton Cabot was born into a wealthy yet dysfunctional family. His father returned from WWII a changed man and turned to liquor to ease his pain. While his mother is loving, Peyton years for the love of his father.Following a tragic accident, Peyton decides to follow in his father's teenage footsteps and bicycle across Florida with his final destination Key West. During this journey Peyton learns a lot about himself and what' Unique coming of age story about a 15 year old young man from Georgia. Peyton Cabot was born into a wealthy yet dysfunctional family. His father returned from WWII a changed man and turned to liquor to ease his pain. While his mother is loving, Peyton years for the love of his father.Following a tragic accident, Peyton decides to follow in his father's teenage footsteps and bicycle across Florida with his final destination Key West. During this journey Peyton learns a lot about himself and what's most important. I loved his caring and giving heart. Peyton showed a lot of courage and faith to take the journey to Key West.It was an enjoyable ride. The epilogue nicely put a bow on Peyton's story.This is my third novel to read by this author. The words flow beautifully and the stories are unique and full of heart. I look forward to what she writes next.My gratitude to publisher Revell for a complimentary NetGalley copy of The Key to Everything. I was not required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.
    more
  • Chris Jager
    January 1, 1970
    How well do you know your parents? What would you do to understand them better? The Key to Everything is a coming of age story about Payton finding understanding about a father who returned from war a changed person. Good southern fiction that makes the reader long to get to know their parents better.
    more
  • Amanda Tero
    January 1, 1970
    If you like bittersweet yet heartwarming tales, then this book belongs on your shelf.Peyton Cabot is the most kind-hearted, serving, and pleasant teen around. The people he meets can’t help but love and trust him. And though he sets off on an emotional journey, it is lyrically and smoothly told. He quickly learns the skills he needs for his bike journey and sets off to follow the path his father had traveled over a decade earlier.A long, slow glimpse of life in 1947 is captured in these pages, g If you like bittersweet yet heartwarming tales, then this book belongs on your shelf.Peyton Cabot is the most kind-hearted, serving, and pleasant teen around. The people he meets can’t help but love and trust him. And though he sets off on an emotional journey, it is lyrically and smoothly told. He quickly learns the skills he needs for his bike journey and sets off to follow the path his father had traveled over a decade earlier.A long, slow glimpse of life in 1947 is captured in these pages, giving a romanticized view of the era. The story meanders at a steady pace, giving readers an escape from today’s busy living.The story ties a satisfactory bow from circumstances in the beginning to end.As for being a Christian book, I was a little disappointed. A solid Biblical message could have been tied into Peyton’s quest to find himself, but it wasn’t in there. It was a clean and moral story, just not Christian. A Catholic mass and St. Christopher’s protection were mentioned as well as the impact of St. Joseph’s cathedral, but these were not in detail.There were a few instances where “doing the right thing” seemed a little slanted (like freeing another man’s alligators, taking kids away from their boss, and a wife divorcing her husband and being praised for it). I don’t agree with abuse in any form and think that steps should be taken to relieve those in that situation, but it was confusing that these actions were the right thing to do because apparently the good outweighed the bad. And then Peyton was never caught doing these actions…The romance was threaded through the story as Peyton and Lisa were separated in the beginning, yet Peyton never stopped thinking of her. There were a few kisses mentioned and a few very vague comments about people assuming they were going to “do something” and making judgments. Though Peyton and Lis were fifteen, it did seem to be a calmer love story between them.The writing style is quaint and endearing—perfect for the era of this story. While I personally feel it lacked tension and character depth, this could very easily be the perfect fit for another reader.*I received this book from the publisher and happily provided my honest review*
    more
  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    This beautiful coming-of-age novel takes place in the years after WWII in the South. The book begins in Georgia at a family reunion of a rich, old family that is definitely dysfunctional. The brothers and sisters don't get along with each other and the mother/grandmother doesn't get along with anyone. When something tragic happens at the reunion picnic, it sends Peyton, the main character, off on a quest.Peyton's father has returned from the war totally depressed from his experiences. His only w This beautiful coming-of-age novel takes place in the years after WWII in the South. The book begins in Georgia at a family reunion of a rich, old family that is definitely dysfunctional. The brothers and sisters don't get along with each other and the mother/grandmother doesn't get along with anyone. When something tragic happens at the reunion picnic, it sends Peyton, the main character, off on a quest.Peyton's father has returned from the war totally depressed from his experiences. His only way to alleviate the pain, is to turn to the bottle. While drunk he had a terrible accident at the family reunion and ended up in a coma in the hospital. Peyton and his mom, Katie, spend as much time with him as possible, while Uncle Julian, who always wanted to take control of the family money, works very hard to have his brother declared incompetent so that he can take control of the family. When his dad dies, Peyton decides to take a trip to Key West on a bicycle just like his father did at the same age of 15. He takes the trip in honor of his father but the people he meets on the road and the situations that he gets into, make him grow up fast. During his long trip to Key West, he meets many interesting people, all of who show him a different facet to life as an adult. The other reason for his bike ride is to find Lisa, the love of his life who has been sent to her aunt's home for the summer. Will the lessons that he learns make him a stronger and wiser man? Will he find Lisa? I loved that the author added an Epilogue that is 20 years in the future so that we can how Peyton grew up and how the lessons that he learned on his bike ride affected his life.This is a beautifully written heart-warming story full of situations and characters that you won't soon forget. It's a story of family - the one you were born into and the one that you create with the people you love throughout your life.Thanks to Revell for a copy of this book to read and review.
    more
  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    The Key to Everything is a coming-of-age story that envelops the reader in a blanket of nostalgia, eliciting those warm and cozy sentiments that only nostalgia can bring. Clearly, the author intended this to be the case because of the moving dialogue and the delightful description that fills the pages.The story takes place in the years immediately following World War II, when the country was still recovering from the war and many veterans were still reeling from its impact. Our teenage protagoni The Key to Everything is a coming-of-age story that envelops the reader in a blanket of nostalgia, eliciting those warm and cozy sentiments that only nostalgia can bring. Clearly, the author intended this to be the case because of the moving dialogue and the delightful description that fills the pages.The story takes place in the years immediately following World War II, when the country was still recovering from the war and many veterans were still reeling from its impact. Our teenage protagonist, Peyton Cabot, is trying to understand why his father is so different after the war, numbing his emotions with alcohol. When his father dies after a freak accident, Peyton sets off on a journey where he tries to come to terms with his father’s death, as well as look inside himself to understand where his life needs to go.There is very little backstory in this tale, and I consider that a very good thing. The author provides the minimum amount of backstory necessary for the reader to understand how the current situation came to be. There were times when the author could have given us more backstory about certain characters, but I don’t think it would have moved the story along, so I was grateful she didn’t.What really sets this novel apart, in my opinion, is the dialogue. The author breathes life into the characters with her use of dialogue. I think this entire novel is a textbook example of show don’t tell. It is mostly through dialogue that we discover what a character thinks and feels. Without going overboard on vernacular, the author assigns each character with individual styles of dialogue. I loved it!The spray of the ocean, the feel of the sun on a hot summer day, and the damage a full day of bike riding can wreak on a body are all examples of the description in the story. When combined with the dialogue, the author’s use of description completely immerses the reader into the story. That’s a true statement; once I got into the story, I actually felt like I was a bystander watching the story unfold before me.The story also has a wonderful, consistent pace to it. It wasn’t too slow, nor too fast. It was right where it needs to be. As you can probably imagine, coming-of-age stories have some huge character arcs. This one was no different. But that’s not a bad thing at all. It’s expected. It satisfies.Now for the best part! The author includes an epilogue that takes place about 15 years after the story ends. We get to see what happens to the characters - how everything turns out. This adds an additional layer of closure to the story, and I loved it!I recommend this story to anyone who enjoys those warm and cozy sentiments.
    more
  • Becca
    January 1, 1970
    I found this to be an absolute delight. This coming-of-age story centers on fifteen-year-old Peyton, who is making a long bike ride down the coast of Georgia and Florida as he sorts through changes in his family. Throw in themes of found family, young love, and a host of likable characters, and you're in for a treat. I loved the "wholesome" nature of this book. While it contains the complexities of family and heartache, it leaves out the unnecessary drama. The story moves forward with adventure I found this to be an absolute delight. This coming-of-age story centers on fifteen-year-old Peyton, who is making a long bike ride down the coast of Georgia and Florida as he sorts through changes in his family. Throw in themes of found family, young love, and a host of likable characters, and you're in for a treat. I loved the "wholesome" nature of this book. While it contains the complexities of family and heartache, it leaves out the unnecessary drama. The story moves forward with adventure and fun encounters with interesting people. There were times that the "coincidences" were teetering on the edge of credibility, but for me, it made the reading experience more fun. I would recommend this for fans of southern fiction, heartwarming stories, and coming-of-age stories.
    more
  • Katie P.
    January 1, 1970
    The Key to Everything is my first book by Valerie Frase Luesse. I didn't know what to expect, but I found a touching and poignant coming of age story in an interesting time period. I've found that many books I read are set either before WWII or 1960 and after, not many are set in the period following the war. Peyton Cabot is a 15-year-old, born into a wealthy, but problematic family. When Peyton's father dies in a tragic accident, Peyton begins a journey of self-discovery that has him retracing The Key to Everything is my first book by Valerie Frase Luesse. I didn't know what to expect, but I found a touching and poignant coming of age story in an interesting time period. I've found that many books I read are set either before WWII or 1960 and after, not many are set in the period following the war. Peyton Cabot is a 15-year-old, born into a wealthy, but problematic family. When Peyton's father dies in a tragic accident, Peyton begins a journey of self-discovery that has him retracing his father's own journey years before. I enjoyed the journey Peyton took both physically, on the road from Savannah to Key West, and emotionally, through his struggle to find his identity and come to terms with his father's death. This book is well-written and entertaining. It is a perfect beach read or summer read! I received a galley copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Revell and NetGalley!
    more
  • Lone Star Literary Life
    January 1, 1970
    Featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours. Lone Star Blogger Team average rating: 4.6 stars. Featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours. Lone Star Blogger Team average rating: 4.6 stars.
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    In one of The Key to Everything's defining moments, our hero states, "It's not that I don't get scared. I just try not to let being scared stop me from doing whatever I've made up my mind to do." Enter Peyton, born to the superfluously wealthy Cabot clan of Georgia. Every Spring the family holds an annual picnic, where the kin who cannot stand one another, gather en masse. It's here that Peyton's grandfather reminds his children yet again, Peyton's father Marshall is the favorite. And the favori In one of The Key to Everything's defining moments, our hero states, "It's not that I don't get scared. I just try not to let being scared stop me from doing whatever I've made up my mind to do." Enter Peyton, born to the superfluously wealthy Cabot clan of Georgia. Every Spring the family holds an annual picnic, where the kin who cannot stand one another, gather en masse. It's here that Peyton's grandfather reminds his children yet again, Peyton's father Marshall is the favorite. And the favorite will inherit the leadership and fortune of Grandfather Cabot's vast estates. Money makes the world go round, as they say, and Uncle Julian seems to believe it. When Marshall Cabot takes a fall and turn for the worse, Peyton and his mother are helpless to watch Uncle Julian seeks to claim it all. What begins with an idyllic scene of the not-so-distant past, turns into a story about heartbreak and betrayal.Peyton finds himself taking the same steps his father took before the War took Marshall's spirit. In the wake of personal tragedy, Peyton decides to take the same bicycling trip to Key West, the trip where his father found his mother and decided their future. Now Peyton needs answers. He has spent most of his life living under the shadow of others, but now he'll step beyond everything he's ever known. As our hero so eloquently puts it, "Somewhere along the way, you gotta draw your own map."The pacing of this story is slow and steady, and doesn’t really pick up until Peyton begins his journey in and out of the lives of strangers. Along the way, he demonstrates, again and again, the kind of altruism that seems unthinkable by today's standards. Peyton makes a hundred dollars helping a race car driver win, then later uses that money to get his friend out of jail the same day. Unlike the rest of the Cabot clan, Peyton knows money means nothing, not if people aren't willing to give it up to do the right thing and help one another.There were several times I wanted to shout at Peyton through the pages: not to be so trusting, not to give it all away in the face of an uncertain future, not to hinge so much on the hopes of one girl. But therein lies the miracle of Peyton Cabot. He's not a perfect kid by any stretch, but he is selfless, generous, and willing to take big risks to find answers. Peyton is the kind of person we all wish it were safe enough to be, and because of this, I found myself rooting for him anyway.Author Valerie Fraser Luesse surrounds the reader with people, places, and a time that soon draws you deeply into her story. The Key to Everything doesn't set out to be profound, and even Peyton Cabot doesn't see his deeds as grandiose. The beauty of this novel shines through the same way it does in life, through the surprising in-between moments we aren't looking for. The little moments we often miss when we're distracted. Luesse is inviting us to take a pause, and truly look and see the world around us, the same way Peyton comes to see things. I found this to be a lovely read in uncertain times, and it's stories like this I believe we need most of all. To remind us to listen quietly, love deeply, and to remind us, as Luesse writes, "You are not the only one who has felt forsaken. That is how you know you are not."**I was provided with a copy of The Key to Everything by the publisher and this is my voluntary and honest review.**
    more
  • Nora St Laurent
    January 1, 1970
    This novel reminds me of the movie Forrest Gump (as both characters went on an adventure that had them meeting fascinating people). There is a Forrest Gump kind of feel mixed with a coming of age story minus the graphic sexual side of things which I enjoyed.From the start readers get to know Peyton and his mother after a tragic event. They are waiting for medical news about their loved one. It’s then Peyton learns the details of his mother and father’s love story and a few surprising things abou This novel reminds me of the movie Forrest Gump (as both characters went on an adventure that had them meeting fascinating people). There is a Forrest Gump kind of feel mixed with a coming of age story minus the graphic sexual side of things which I enjoyed.From the start readers get to know Peyton and his mother after a tragic event. They are waiting for medical news about their loved one. It’s then Peyton learns the details of his mother and father’s love story and a few surprising things about himself.This is heart-warming and delightful story of Peyton and his quest to go on the same journey his father went on when he was 15 years old. He sets out with his bicycle and backpack filled with his stuff and goodies from his mom.The expedition begins in GA and goes all the way to Key West, Florida. I enjoyed Peyton’s adventures and the interesting people he encounters. I lived in Ga and Florida, so I appreciated the trip through the streets of GA and Florida and all he saw there. Peyton says to Lisa, “Do you think my father found it” Peyton propped on his elbow, looking down at Lisa. “Yeah, I think he did. But the sad thing is, he left it here.”“I don’t want to do that, Lisa. Because there’s something else I’ve figure out. You can’t follow anybody else’s path, like I tried to do with Daddy – Like Daddy thought he had to do with Granddaddy. Somewhere along the way, you gotta draw your own map.” Good point. I loved the charming cast of characters (including the ones you were not meant to like) with a captivating in depth story I could not stop reading. It was a grand adventure mixed with a splash of young romance, family drama and a remembrance of a life well lived. At the end the author shares what inspired her to write this story, “…General Patterson really did ride his bike to Key West and back, Sleeping in police and fire stations,..Like Peyton, General Patterson loved to fly, completing 101 missions as a US Air Force fighter pilot during the Korean War… couldn’t resist giving Peyton Cabot just a little bit of my own dad, Junior Freser, whose creative, adventurous, take-it-as-it-comes spirit always amazed me growing up. There’s just a touch of Daddy in my protagonist. I don’t think Holly will mind. There’s room for both of our heroes in Peyton.”This is a book that would work well for a book club pick. There is so much to talk about. If you have not read a book by this author, I highly recommend you read this heart-warming tale that will leave you with a smile on your face and a happy heart.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”Nora St. LaurentTBCN Where Book Fun Begins!The Book Club Network Blog www.bookfun.org
    more
  • Kelsie
    January 1, 1970
    The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse is a book that reminds me of storytelling at its finest. The book isn’t exciting. There are no real plot twists or overly dangerous situations that make your heart leap into your throat. It’s a relaxed journey to adulthood for one Peyton Cabot, a fifteen-year-old son of a WWII veteran who spends more time with the bottle than he does with his son. The book follows his adventure to ride his bicycle all the way to Key West, Florida, to discover…what? The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse is a book that reminds me of storytelling at its finest. The book isn’t exciting. There are no real plot twists or overly dangerous situations that make your heart leap into your throat. It’s a relaxed journey to adulthood for one Peyton Cabot, a fifteen-year-old son of a WWII veteran who spends more time with the bottle than he does with his son. The book follows his adventure to ride his bicycle all the way to Key West, Florida, to discover…what? Purpose? Answers? Love? Himself? He’s trying to figure it out himself. This novel was different than what I’d usually read, but I enjoyed it. If I had to choose my favorite aspect of the story, I’d say its tone. I’ve read books that featured a “Southern twang,” and I haven’t liked them. I think of what in particular that I read during the summer of 2019 that left me wanting to throw my Kindle out of a car on a busy highway, but I didn’t have the same response to this one. With The Key to Everything, the hints of Southern charm added quality and genuineness to the story that I think it needed. Peyton comes across all sorts of people on his trek to Key West. He learns something from each of them, and they likewise learn from him. There was only one character I didn’t like, but I think the author’s intention was for us to not like her. This book made me smile. It did take a while for me to get into it, but once I adjusted to the author’s writing style, I was all in. For most books I read, I quickly move on to another novel and often forget elements of past stories. The Key to Everything is one that’s going to stick through me. There is nothing about this particular novel I would change. What was so unique about it was that it didn’t need the heart-pounding excitement. Don’t get me wrong, it does have some thrilling elements; it’s not a lackadaisical walk in the park. Peyton faces troubles and challenges along his route, but he has an incredible support network to assist him. The Key to Everything is a novel you can read a chapter at night, and you’ll fall asleep with a smile on your lips. It’s exactly the kind of book you can use to wind down at the end of a stressful day. This one took me a while to finish, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I savored the journey, and you will, too.*Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for my honest review.
    more
  • Chattynatty Van Waning
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars. Thank you to Reveal, a division of Baker Publishing, for sending me this book to review. This is my second book to review from the author- Valerie Fraser Luesse- and it was my favorite thus far. (I highly recommend her book Almost Home, too).Why did this one stand out... it was a story of finding yourself through a journey. I think it is ironic this is the third book with the main story line being a bike journey for me in 2020. I'm not a big fan of biking, so don't see me taking to the 5 stars. Thank you to Reveal, a division of Baker Publishing, for sending me this book to review. This is my second book to review from the author- Valerie Fraser Luesse- and it was my favorite thus far. (I highly recommend her book Almost Home, too).Why did this one stand out... it was a story of finding yourself through a journey. I think it is ironic this is the third book with the main story line being a bike journey for me in 2020. I'm not a big fan of biking, so don't see me taking to the road, but I will live vicariously through these bikers' stories. Peyton, the main character, is 15 years of age. He has had some major changes come about in his life, within a short period of time: father back from WWII Pacific theater, has a girl he's dating- Lisa, father is dealing with PTSD/alcoholism after returning from the war, an accident occurs sending Peyton to live with his Aunt Gert for awhile, and there is this bike trip his dad did when he was 15 years of age from St. Augustine, Florida to Key West always rumbling around in his head. The bike trip is the backbone of the story. Peyton is pondering following in his father's footsteps and doing the long ride to Key West as a way to reconnect with his father. Events occur and the bike trip happens. I loved the people he met along his journey to Key West. I loved the side story of his parent's relationship. I also appreciated the way Peyton's own love story evolved during this book, because it didn't take away the lime light from the story as a whole. I flew through the 352 pages in 2 days as it was an engaging read and also a great get-away read (a book that takes you away from your own reality). I look forward to reading her first book "Missing Isaac" and any new books on the reading horizon.
    more
  • Tonstant Weader
    January 1, 1970
    The Key to Everything is a sentimental coming of age story. Peyton is fifteen when his father is injured in an accident and dies. All his life he has heard about his father’s bike ride from Georgia to Key West. He has his father’s map and decides to follow his route. He has an additional incentive. His girlfriend has been shipped off to her aunt in Miami by parents who disapprove of their romance.He has many adventures along the way, doing odd jobs such as bartending and spotting for a race car The Key to Everything is a sentimental coming of age story. Peyton is fifteen when his father is injured in an accident and dies. All his life he has heard about his father’s bike ride from Georgia to Key West. He has his father’s map and decides to follow his route. He has an additional incentive. His girlfriend has been shipped off to her aunt in Miami by parents who disapprove of their romance.He has many adventures along the way, doing odd jobs such as bartending and spotting for a race car driver. People are open and friendly and he is relentlessly kind, wholesome, and virtuous.So, I confess I enjoyed The Key to Everything even though it is a truly bad book. I swear this is COVID-brain at work because normally a book with such cartoonishly one-dimensional characters would be unreadable. Still, I enjoyed the goodwill and the sheer niceness of it all. Still, I was irritated by how Peyton’s uncle makes Snidely Whiplash look complex and sympathetic. His every appearance irritated me because he was so ridiculously evil, full of petty spite of the cut off his nose variety. There was far too much coincidence as well. Nonetheless, if you want a warm-hearted story that is made for Hallmark Channel dramatization, this is enjoyable.The Key to Everything will be released on June 2nd. I received an ARC from the publisher through Shelf Awareness.The Key to Everything at Revell Baker PublishingValerie Fraser Luess at “Southern Living“https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...
    more
  • Faye
    January 1, 1970
    A coming of age story about fifteen year old Peyton Cabot, a young man following in the footsteps of his father, in a life changing bike trek to Key West. This was a quick and pleasant read, though I felt it slow to start, at times episodic. Peyton is a likable young man, he is upright has a sense of direction, but is also willing to go with the flow and take things as they come. Over the course of the book he learns about his family's past and meets a plethora of colorful and welcoming characte A coming of age story about fifteen year old Peyton Cabot, a young man following in the footsteps of his father, in a life changing bike trek to Key West. This was a quick and pleasant read, though I felt it slow to start, at times episodic. Peyton is a likable young man, he is upright has a sense of direction, but is also willing to go with the flow and take things as they come. Over the course of the book he learns about his family's past and meets a plethora of colorful and welcoming characters. It was an entertaining read, with many fascinating snapshots of Peyton's varied experiences along the way. I loved Aunt Gert and her humorous and honest approach to life, as well as the sly but loyal Fin. In the end, though he did come upon many interesting situations, I felt like things came a together a little too easily, and Peyton was almost too agreeable in my mind. Though we didn't spend more time with the extended Cabot family, there were characters that did intrigue me, and I wish that we had gotten to know them better. There was much to appreciate, like the very bold Southern characters, as well as the different pace of life that was brought to life well. A quick Southern coming of age tale about the choices that can change your life. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
    more
  • Karen R
    January 1, 1970
    A touching coming of age story set in the South just after WW2. Part adventure, part family drama, with a clean, tender romance. A fifteen year old is determined to follow his father's legacy in a long solo bike ride down the coast to Key West in an attempt to connect with him.I enjoyed this Southern style tale with an epic trip full of self discovery and life lessons. Peyton is a blessed young man in many ways, and his kind, big heart opens up further as he embraces people along his journey. Th A touching coming of age story set in the South just after WW2. Part adventure, part family drama, with a clean, tender romance. A fifteen year old is determined to follow his father's legacy in a long solo bike ride down the coast to Key West in an attempt to connect with him.I enjoyed this Southern style tale with an epic trip full of self discovery and life lessons. Peyton is a blessed young man in many ways, and his kind, big heart opens up further as he embraces people along his journey. The theme seems to be centered on finding your own path, following your dreams, and loving people. He is certainly met with some divine appointments as he makes his way south. His mom has her own side story told in parallel, highlighting her memories of a young love and better times. Aunt Gert is a hoot and my favorite character. She seems to have a lot of wisdom and grace, embracing the joys of life and encouraging others too. I enjoyed the epilogue that rounded out the story so well. This was a satisfying read. Readers who enjoy Southern fiction will want to pick this one up. It would be a good beach read. Recommend! 4.5 stars(An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.)
    more
  • Permanently_Booked
    January 1, 1970
    All his life Peyton Cabot has heard about the journey his father took on bike from a boys’ camp in Okefenokee to Key West. When tragedy strikes the family, Peyton decides to bike from St. Augustine to Key West honoring his father’s memory and hoping to find what his father might’ve found on that trek across miles. This was a touching story of young love, loss, southern charm and coming of age that swept me up. The people Peyton meet, the family history that unravels and the unique situations he All his life Peyton Cabot has heard about the journey his father took on bike from a boys’ camp in Okefenokee to Key West. When tragedy strikes the family, Peyton decides to bike from St. Augustine to Key West honoring his father’s memory and hoping to find what his father might’ve found on that trek across miles. This was a touching story of young love, loss, southern charm and coming of age that swept me up. The people Peyton meet, the family history that unravels and the unique situations he finds himself in kept me entertained as he embarked on his journey of self-discovery. There’s a lot that can be said for a novel that eloquently shows the difference between the family you’re born into and the one you create along the way. I enjoyed the writing style and the quickness of the read. The characters are easy to connect to and I loved the backdrop being set in Florida where the State bird is basically the mosquito. This was a fun and lighthearted read that I would recommend to others who enjoy coming of age fiction reads.Thank you to Revell Baker Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this beautiful story. True rating 3.5/5.
    more
  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    War has impaired Peyton's father. After an accident leaving his father in the hospital in critical condition, his mother sends him to live with the woman who raised her. Upon his arrival Peyton is immediately given the keys to mature, grow up and learn the ropes of being a man. These skills quickly come to the test as Peyton sets off on the SAME bike ride across Florida that his own father took many years before. This father son adventure is emotionally gripping. From the characters Peyton meets War has impaired Peyton's father. After an accident leaving his father in the hospital in critical condition, his mother sends him to live with the woman who raised her. Upon his arrival Peyton is immediately given the keys to mature, grow up and learn the ropes of being a man. These skills quickly come to the test as Peyton sets off on the SAME bike ride across Florida that his own father took many years before. This father son adventure is emotionally gripping. From the characters Peyton meets to uncovering the love and secrets of his father's own footsteps on his ride all those years ago, this coming of age is the perfect nostalgic read. After having read "Missing Issac" and "Almost Home" by this same author, Luesse continues to showcase her talents in this newest penning. From historical family drama and depth in theme and overtures this is another is brilliant in crafting incredible stories. *Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
    more
  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating coming of age set in the South and a story I greatly appreciated!I enjoyed Payton's story to the fullest and I especially enjoyed the journey. But along with riding a bike, I don't think I would have any legs left by the time the journey was over though,Kind of reminded me of the trip we took West in 2005.I couldn't put this book down until I was finished with it.I especially loved the epilogue at the end where Valarie gives us insight on how she came up with the idea for this stor A fascinating coming of age set in the South and a story I greatly appreciated!I enjoyed Payton's story to the fullest and I especially enjoyed the journey. But along with riding a bike, I don't think I would have any legs left by the time the journey was over though,Kind of reminded me of the trip we took West in 2005.I couldn't put this book down until I was finished with it.I especially loved the epilogue at the end where Valarie gives us insight on how she came up with the idea for this story. I thought it was a neat idea! I think that was my most favorite part of the book. But really I enjoyed it altogether with Payton of course being my favorite character. I love his ambitious self to do what his father did.The scenes through Georgia and Florida made me feel like I was there. I just moved to Florida this past month but I still enjoyed the story.I highly recommend this book.IMy thanks to Baker/Revell Publishers for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review and all opinions are my ownI
    more
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    The Key to Everything is a small-town fiction novel by author Valerie Fraser Luesse.I grew up in Florida and lived in Georgia where parts of the story took place. It was interesting to revisit the years gone by in both states. I knew and visited, most of the places mentioned in the book.Whether the reader is a Florida native or not, the author presented the settings perfectly. So grab your bike and set off for a trip of a lifetime along the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll be sure to believe you’re actual The Key to Everything is a small-town fiction novel by author Valerie Fraser Luesse.I grew up in Florida and lived in Georgia where parts of the story took place. It was interesting to revisit the years gone by in both states. I knew and visited, most of the places mentioned in the book.Whether the reader is a Florida native or not, the author presented the settings perfectly. So grab your bike and set off for a trip of a lifetime along the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll be sure to believe you’re actually there.I highly recommend this fictional tale to fans of small-town fiction.Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
    more
  • Abigail Harris
    January 1, 1970
    A powerful novel of a boy becoming a man in the midst of grief.The Key to Everything isn't your usual coming of age story. It spans two childhoods, a son searching for answers in his father's life after a tragedy.I don't know that I have read any coming of age story from a boy's and mother's point of view, and I find that I liked it. And I loved the way that The Key to Everything ended, really, this novel has to be read to feel the emotion that it has in every word.While I enjoyed the book, I di A powerful novel of a boy becoming a man in the midst of grief.The Key to Everything isn't your usual coming of age story. It spans two childhoods, a son searching for answers in his father's life after a tragedy.I don't know that I have read any coming of age story from a boy's and mother's point of view, and I find that I liked it. And I loved the way that The Key to Everything ended, really, this novel has to be read to feel the emotion that it has in every word.While I enjoyed the book, I did not like how there was not any spiritual content, though there are mentions of being protected by a saint.This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing (Revell), through Interviews & Reviews.
    more
  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book by Valerie Fraser Luesse that I've read but hopefully it won't be the last one. I really enjoyed this book.The characters were quite well developed, they seemed like real people from the time and area of the book. The setting is in the south in post WWII. The main character is a 15 year old boy trying to figure out life. The story was based on a true event and was very interesting. The story flowed well and kept my interest throughout. The descriptions were very well done, This is the first book by Valerie Fraser Luesse that I've read but hopefully it won't be the last one. I really enjoyed this book.The characters were quite well developed, they seemed like real people from the time and area of the book. The setting is in the south in post WWII. The main character is a 15 year old boy trying to figure out life. The story was based on a true event and was very interesting. The story flowed well and kept my interest throughout. The descriptions were very well done, not too flowery or wordy, but enough to see what she wanted you to see.The book is from Revell and it is a clean story. It is not what I would call a true Christian book as very little of faith is revealed. You get the impression the mother is a Christian but it is in no way a preachy book.I was given an ARC version and the editing was very well done. This is important to me as it can make an otherwise good book unreadable if not edited well. I am not required to write a positive review, this is my own, unbiased opinion.I would recommend this book to my friends and give it a 4 out of 5 star rating.
    more
  • Sally Reilly
    January 1, 1970
    This book is heartfelt and wonderfully written. I felt I was part of Peyton's adventure as he biked through Florida in the 40's.
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars"Somewhere along the way, you have to draw your own map."Struggling over what life had just handed him, Peyton Cabot decided to put tragedy behind and move forward in the footsteps of a man that he loved as much as life itself; his father. The journey would take him all the way from Savannah, Georgia to beautiful Key West, Florida . . . . mostly from the seat of a bike; following a crude time-worn map that Marshall Cabot had drawn so many years prior, when he made the same trip, at the 3.5 stars"Somewhere along the way, you have to draw your own map."Struggling over what life had just handed him, Peyton Cabot decided to put tragedy behind and move forward in the footsteps of a man that he loved as much as life itself; his father. The journey would take him all the way from Savannah, Georgia to beautiful Key West, Florida . . . . mostly from the seat of a bike; following a crude time-worn map that Marshall Cabot had drawn so many years prior, when he made the same trip, at the same age of fifteen.This book is about what Peyton learned along the way; about life, about love, about grief, about hope, about deciding who he wanted to be . . . who he needed to be . . .. about who he already was. The author's melodic word flow, combined with a natural ability to paint a story in every color imaginable, will leave readers loving these characters through the best, and the worst, of what life has to offer. "Hey, Lisa . . . . what do you think we look like from the sky?"I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
    more
  • Kelly-Ann ~ Sassy Bookish Mama
    January 1, 1970
    What an amazing story by Valerie Fraser Luesse. The way she writes just completely brings the book to life. You definitely feel transported to that time frame and location. The cover of this book completely captivated me and the fact that it was mostly set in in my home state of Florida sold me on it. This story is absolutely beautiful. The bulk of the story although mainly about Peyton and his journey to adulthood but it also interweaves the story of his mother Kate. This was done flawlesslySin What an amazing story by Valerie Fraser Luesse. The way she writes just completely brings the book to life. You definitely feel transported to that time frame and location. The cover of this book completely captivated me and the fact that it was mostly set in in my home state of Florida sold me on it. This story is absolutely beautiful. The bulk of the story although mainly about Peyton and his journey to adulthood but it also interweaves the story of his mother Kate. This was done flawlesslySince Peyton was young he has heard the story of his father riding his bike from St. Augustine to Key West and he tells his cousins that one day he would like to do the same. So the whole time he has this wild idea on the back of his mind. His dad has a tragic freak accident and after having surgery, he wakes up and lets Kate knows that its time for Peyton to have an actual summer and head to St. Augustine to stay with Aunt Gert. There he learns a lot more about his father's past and how his mother and dad fell in love. He learns to drive a boat, get his boating license and all the time feeling this tug of taking that bike route his dad did years ago. Unfortunately Kate (Peyton's mom) comes to St. Augustine with the news that his dad has passed on so begins the bike journey for young Peyton.First of all it was refreshing to see a young man of almost sixteen show such maturity in everything he does. I know this something that comes with that generation and its sad we don't see it more often in this day and age so I loved that because its the way we are raising our boys to be so focused on themselves but to learn from others. Peyton does that. Every person he encounters on his trek, he learns something from them. Every challenge he faces, he learns something from it as well. He builds this incredible network of people as he travels. He also sees what his father must have seen when he was on the journey and feels like he is starting to understand him a little more. I love this from the book when he realizes what the purpose of the trip was:" I don't think it makes sense to spend a lotta time worryin' about what other people think as long as you do what you believe is right. Everybody has a true them that they're meant to be."While Peyton is traveling down to Key West, his mom is coming to terms of losing the love of her life. It is heartbreaking and you feel her loss. This story is more than just his journey there is also a love interest in this story. Lisa is the girl Peyton loves. It was beautiful to see how their love story unfolds and how it mimics the love story between Peyton's parents.The story is definitely a clean read and in no way is it overly preachy or full of faith filled moments. I highly recommend it! It would make a great summer read!FTC Disclosure : I received this book as part of the Revell Reads Program. I was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!
    more
  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    The Key to Everything is a historical novel that begins in 1947 Savannah. Peyton Cabot is 15 years old when a family tragedy prompts him to retrace his father's long ago bicycle ride from Savannah to Key West. Over the summer trip he discovers his dreams, a sense of family, and first love.I wanted to read The Key to Everything because I am originally from Savannah and was intrigued by the setting. I also love vintage Florida and was curious about that aspect of the novel.This novel is such a lov The Key to Everything is a historical novel that begins in 1947 Savannah. Peyton Cabot is 15 years old when a family tragedy prompts him to retrace his father's long ago bicycle ride from Savannah to Key West. Over the summer trip he discovers his dreams, a sense of family, and first love.I wanted to read The Key to Everything because I am originally from Savannah and was intrigued by the setting. I also love vintage Florida and was curious about that aspect of the novel.This novel is such a lovely, leisurely road trip! Peyton is such a likable, kind-hearted young man and I enjoyed his pursuit of an unlikely dream - to travel to Key West on bicycle. My father was just a little older than Peyton during this time period and I found the novel particularly interesting because of this connection.The details of life in Savannah and vintage Florida (especially St. Augustine and Key West) were lovely. The author does a beautiful job at evoking another time and place, with passages like:"St. Augustine was a marvel. Peyton had grown up around historic architecture in Savannah, but this place was seriously old. Everywhere, you could see remnants of Spanish buildings— and others still intact and in use. Tourists swarmed the centuries-old fort on the waterfront. He picked up a map in a candy shop, where he couldn’t resist the aroma of chocolate, and wandered cobblestone streets while he nibbled on fudge. Eventually, he made his way to the Ponce de Leon, a grand hotel built by the man who had dreamed up the railroad to Key West. It looked like something out of Arabian Nights." (Kindle location 1242)The coming of age aspect of this book and the iconic nature of Peyton's journey (and his father's journey years ago) was so moving. This passage encapsulates the family legend:"The boys listened as their Uncle Gil retold his favorite story, the same one he told at every spring picnic. 'Marshall says to me, he says, ‘I believe I’ve seen all this ol’ camp has to offer.’ And I says, ‘What you plan on doin’ about it ?’ That’s when he pointed at the bicycles Papa had left for us. He says, ‘I’m gonna ride my bicycle to Key West and see what those islands look like.' The cousins finished the story with their uncle, repeating his favorite line in unison: 'And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the last time Marshall Cabot ever let anybody tell him what to do.'" (Kindle location 120).I truly enjoyed The Key to Everything and recommend it highly for fans of historical fiction, southern fiction, and for anyone interested in life in Georgia and Florida during the 1940's.
    more
  • Meagan Myhren-bennett
    January 1, 1970
    The Key to EverythingBy Valerie Fraser LuessePeyton Cabot's father came home a changed man - the war and its horrors were too much - they broke him. Seeking to numb his pain he has sought refuge in bourbon, but it just may be his downfall.There was nothing Peyton could do to stop the accident from happening and now his father's body was as broken as his spirit. With another family tragedy on top of his father's injury, Uncle Julian seeks to seize control of the Cabot family fortune and further d The Key to EverythingBy Valerie Fraser LuessePeyton Cabot's father came home a changed man - the war and its horrors were too much - they broke him. Seeking to numb his pain he has sought refuge in bourbon, but it just may be his downfall.There was nothing Peyton could do to stop the accident from happening and now his father's body was as broken as his spirit. With another family tragedy on top of his father's injury, Uncle Julian seeks to seize control of the Cabot family fortune and further destroy Peyton's father. Peyton's willing to do all he can to help his mother and protect his father, even if it means the summer he planned to spend with Lisa is only a lost dream.When Peyton's parents send him to spend time with Aunt Gert in Saint Augustine his summer is about to become one he never imagined. Hoping to get a chance to better know the man his father used to be Peyton sets out to follow the journey his father made when he too was just fifteen years of age. Can he learn what his father discovered all those years ago? Or have too many changes come?As Peyton pursues his journey he grows into a person he hopes his father would be proud to call son. But, as his mother tells, this journey is more than pedaling a bike. Peyton has choices to make - choices that will stay with him long after he puts his bike away and returns to his life. He makes discoveries about his family that will forever alter how he sees them.This is an excellent read and one I would have no hesitation recommending to most readers. It is set in the post-WWII South but it has a timeless message that is for any era. There's right and there's wrong and those who pick the right with no thought of gain are few and far between.The Key to Everything is well-paced with an emotional tug throughout most of the book. It is a celebration of family and of life. Sometimes we have to risk everything to obtain that which is most important and the journey from here to there often helps us to see more clearly just what is truly important. Valerie Fraser Luesse brings her characters to life so that reader has no choice but to be drawn into their lives and care about what matters to them. In my opinion, this book is worthy of more than one read and I applaud the author's work.I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.
    more
  • Sally
    January 1, 1970
    Savannah in Georgia and St Augustine in Florida are two of my favorite location in the southeastern United States. I visited both in December of last year, so memories of both are fresh in my mind. This novel, set in 1947, took me straight back and I fell in love quickly."A late-afternoon Florida sun was hanging low in the sky, casting its glow on the Matanzas River. To his left he could see the historic district with its ancient Spanish architecture just a street crossing from the harbor. To hi Savannah in Georgia and St Augustine in Florida are two of my favorite location in the southeastern United States. I visited both in December of last year, so memories of both are fresh in my mind. This novel, set in 1947, took me straight back and I fell in love quickly."A late-afternoon Florida sun was hanging low in the sky, casting its glow on the Matanzas River. To his left he could see the historic district with its ancient Spanish architecture just a street crossing from the harbor. To his right were barrier islands that kept the Atlantic at bay."Luesse’s writing, as the above example shows, paints beautiful scenes with her words. Side characters are portrayed so richly that they surely deserve their own stories. I followed Peyton’s physical journey on a map and wished I could meet these people. Key West is now on my bucket list, although I’m certain it’ll have changed greatly. But, while she has given us readers some beautiful imagery, Luesse hasn’t shied away from reality. Peyton comes from a wealthy family, although he isn’t afraid of work when it comes his way. On his long trip, Peyton will encounter visible reminders of post-war poverty and evidence of orange grove owners profiting through cheap labor and child exploitation. Peyton’s story is about a boy on the edge of manhood. The Key to Everything has been described as a coming of age tale, but Peyton seemed older than his years from the beginning. The idea of a 15-year-old going off by himself seems unthinkable, so it was amazing to read that Luesse used a real-life story as her inspiration. Brigadier General Ben Lane Patterson, Jr. cycled alone from Georgia to Key West when he was 15, and when I found his photograph in an obituary (he passed in 2016) that was the icing on the cake. But the story isn’t only about the end of Peyton’s childhood. It’s about the end of a way of life because nothing stays the way it was before tragedy interrupted his teenage years. The final pages describe those changes, and we’re left with the enduring thought that we really can’t go back to the innocent years even when we’d like to think that we can.Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the words and opinions below are my own.
    more
Write a review