The Missing Piece
By REBECCA PANYON | February 22, 2011

Imagine for a minute growing up the redheaded stepchild, so to speak, of a father who seemingly despises you for no apparent reason other than your mere existence that fuels his anger.

Imagine enduring a secret life of pain inflicted by the person who’s supposed to love you unconditionally and ignorance from those who should be bold enough to stand up for you.

If you can’t quite fathom such a life, you’ll have no trouble sympathizing with teenager Ben Hunter, son of Colonel Max Hunter, a USNA graduate with skeletons that lurk deep and plentifully in his closet. When the booze doesn’t quite bury the skeletons enough, an out-of-control temper and brute force against the son he clings to with an iron fist will try to finish the job.

Solomon’s Puzzle by Loris Nebbia tells the story of this deeply afflicted father-son duo.

The book immediately instills in its pages a love by the reader for Ben Hunter who yearns to simply be loved, who protects his mother and younger siblings with a fierceness that belies his age, and who questions a God who would let his children suffer at the hands of their earthly fathers while seemingly turning a blind eye.

But Ben’s dreams of a family life filled with love and warmth almost become reality when he meets the MacBride family. He immediately fits into their family dynamic as if he’s the missing piece to a puzzle. But why? Why such a stark connection to people he’s never met before and why is Ben having flashbacks from his past that almost seem like deja vu?

As Ben questions an earthly love of fathers and sons and a heavenly love of a father and sons, it becomes crystal clear that Ben’s whole life is made up of half truths told to him by his own parents, but why? Does he even know who his mother really is? Everyone talks about her to him in a way that is the polar opposite of what he sees at home.

And why do Tom and Laurie MacBride feel like the parents Ben’s never had? Can Ben solve the puzzle about his past so that he can move forward in his own future before his father goes too far?

Just when you think you’ve solved the puzzle, another page will prove you wrong. And leave you yearning to know more. More about the demons that drive Ben’s father, the silence that drives his mother, and the love that drives the MacBride family straight to Ben’s heart.

Rebecca Panyon can be found online at A Happy Heart, a blog about living life happy out loud even in the midst of less-than-happy circumstances.

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