Review by Dr. Rollo K. Newsom in Amazon.com
This is a Christian novel and more. Some of that more is a romance and more of the more is an unusual form of a coming of age story. Romance gone wrong due to incomplete communications and immature or irresponsible judgments lead to lives prematurely separated in young adulthood. Those separate lives are not all that bad but leave the principles feeling unfulfilled and incomplete in mid-life. Tensions in the novel stem from efforts and events that work toward reuniting the protagonists. But this is not easy and requires sometimes painful change for the two main characters. This is not the adolescent discovery of self and sex coming of age. Instead here we have two seasoned and basically successful adults who must mature spiritually. A number of things contribute to that spiritual maturation including painful discoveries of what went so very wrong years ago, forgiveness for those and subsequent events, understanding of the consequences and new empathy that comes from prayer and God's grace.
The setting is a mid-sized Southern city in the mid to late 20th century (Austin, Texas) and exceptionally apt descriptions of real recognizable places and accurate references to the "times" lend authenticity to the novel.
Much of the action takes place on a bookmobile including librarian-patron interactions and a believable chase scene. I think we all make inappropriate use of the word unique at times. But in reviewing Frost's Where Love Once Lived, I can honestly say his use of the bookmobile is unique to the point where it might be considered a supporting character.
In addition to the bookmobile peripheral characters are well developed, interesting in their own right and serve as impediments or more often facilitators of the action. Secondary characters enrich the story and contribute to the growth of the main characters by modeling and interpreting Christian principals.
In support of the main story line there are several minor themes including an interesting view on changing race relations. A related minor and equally interesting minor theme explores how older adults react to the developing loves, marriages and career aspirations of their children. Not blatant at any one point in the novel but clearly one key to the developing relationships and to resolutions to conflicts is a core group composed of several no longer young men that formed in their college age years. Such a core group is rarely found in the real world or in novels either.
This book is a page turner and early on you will begin pulling (praying?) for those folks to work it out.