Just Once

Atria Nov. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781982104443. $27.99. CF
Irvel Holland Myers has Alzheimer’s. Soon she’ll forget everything, but one thing she doesn’t want to lose is memories of her love of a lifetime, Hank Myers. Hank buys a video camera, and they begin recording their recollections of how they met in middle school, how Irvel almost married Hank’s brother instead, and how they both served their country in World War II. The tapes reveal family secrets too, like that Irvel wasn’t a nurse for the navy—she was actually a top-secret codebreaker and spy. From the small towns of Indiana to the battlefields of the Pacific, Irvel and Hank explore what it means to serve God and country.
VERDICT Reminiscent of timeless romantic tales such as The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks and Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller; librarians should hand this to fans of closed-door romance. While Kingsbury is best known for her long-running “Baxter Family” series, her stand-alones showcase her range as a writer, and her first foray into historical fiction is a fast and worthwhile read.
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