Just Before The Dawn
Sometimes you read a book that really touches your heart and makes you pause and reflect on what life is and what you expect from others. Love is something that everyone hopes and wants to experience at least once in their lives.
But, true love, unrequited love, is something that may never happen or you hope to find. Just Before the Dawn is a unique and very complex novel that introduces us to two characters that fell in love and will take the reader on their journey from the beginning until the end of their short, but magnificent romance.
Rebecca Daily receives a package that is quite bulky and has no idea who would send it. The size of the package appears to be that of a manuscript of some type. Opening it she learns that it is a 200-page letter from a former lover who wants to reconnect with her after ten years. How does she feel about this and why now? Married to another man who loves her and has made her life complete, she begins to doubt her feelings for her new husband and remembers the times she had with Thomas.
The author takes the reader of three separate journeys throughout this novel. Beginning with Thomas and how his life with his wife Ellen came to a close and how he began his romance with Rebecca. The author recounts their many meetings, their dates and how they fell in love.
Next, the author tells us about Rebecca, her first marriage to Arthur, and the reasons for her divorce. Arthur, being unfaithful to Rebecca, forced her to have to find another life for herself and learns to handle being alone. But, that was not for very long. Meeting Thomas opened up a whole new world for her and she learned a lot about golf, literature and life from being with him.
The third part of the book is the letter that Thomas writes to Rebecca that tells the reader about their love affair and as Rebecca remembers what happens during that time you can feel her becoming enveloped in those times once again and even though it was short lived, you begin to wonder if she will want to rekindle her romance with him.
Joseph Gillian works with adults and children who are physically and mentally challenged. Through the character of Thomas, he describes the many students, adults and events that Thomas has when working with these people and you can feel the pride in his words as he relates, what this reviewer feels, are his own wonderful experiences. He describes Thomas’s life as a pilot, in the military and his love of literature and the arts. To learn more about the many authors that he wrote to and loved to read, you need to read it for yourself to really understand and appreciate what our author is relating to the reader.
As Rebecca and William decide to take a short vacation she becomes aware of a shift in his character. No sooner do they return home does he break the news to her that he wants a divorce. Once again Rebecca has to deal with being alone and try to find a place for herself. Hoping to get Thomas’s phone number from their mutual friend Julie, she comes face to face with huge roadblocks. Julie does not feel that giving her his number would be in his best interest and instead claims she cannot find it.
Thomas seems to have many issues that anger him and using his letter writing he is able to express his feelings and vent to the reader. He brings to light issues such as sexual abuse in the church, literature that he loves to read and others that he does not, experiences that he relates with those who have terminal illnesses and his own feelings about death. The author inserts a lot about himself through Thomas each time he tells about Loveland Center and one of the students who was fortunate to spend time with the Governor of Florida along with him.
Thomas and Rebecca both seem to have a problem finding themselves. Thomas can’t seem to settle for one relationship and is constantly searching for more yet in his heart he seems torn between his feelings for Rebecca and another woman named Olivia.
Struggling with many life-changing decisions the author will take you on a journey of one man who finally finds the answers at the end of his life. In order to understand and appreciate what Thomas learned about life, God, and death you need to read the last three chapters to fully understand how much he endured and how he finally finds peace.
Through out the book the author reverts between Rebecca and Thomas and the love that they experienced together and their beautiful memories that they will always treasure. But, at the end you will be surprised by what Thomas really wants to do to change his life and what finally does happen.
Does he find love and everlasting happiness? What does finally happen between him and Rebecca? Why did he write her this letter? What do we learn about his feelings for God, Priests, religion, life and more, you will have to read this very informative, enlightening, well written and quite illuminating book.
By Joseph Gillan
Reviewed by Fran Lewis: Author of Memories are Precious and the Bertha Series of Children’s Books