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The Special by J. E. Pendleton is a novel reminiscent of times past, a country rich in innocence teetering on the edge of war. Billy Pendleton hitchhikes his way to California, where he becomes intrigued in the race car scene and meets a beautiful woman Sally, who he falls for hook, line and sinker. He hooks up with Carl and his son, Frank (Babe) and they not only build a race car but become the best of friends. It is Babe who narrates the story many decades later to Billy Pendleton's nephew.
The Special is a special book reminiscent of one of my favorite all time movies Pearl Harbor. A love story ensues as Sally and Billy grow closer. She is wealthy and Billy is a simple working man. The backdrop is San Diego, beautiful sunny, leisurely days; the perfect setting for innocent young love to bloom. The sparks between them simmer as they grow closer. As the plot gains depth with the threat of WW2 hanging in the balance. Lovestruck Sally can't stand the separation and crosses the ocean to be with Billy after he enlists, where they later marry.
This novel is most eloquently written. J.E. Pendleton's style captures the essence and hearts of his characters, the times, and the building of the car as well as the heart of the reader. In layman's terms he is able to cover the entire construction and design of the special and make it understandable to a reader who has no concept of the difference between a drive train and a transmission. His words delve the reader into the hearts and minds of each character, giving them life and dimensionality.
The Special is an impassioned, powerful novel.
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