Eli Cranston, an attorney who himself suffered from the broken legal system and moreso from the loss of his wife and daughter, flees Los Angeles to a place that might hold – should he let it – forgiveness, redemption, and purpose: Bar Harbor, Maine. There, in a small white farm cottage by the sea, Eli launches a new career with Forward-Life Progression, a program that helps clients work past trauma and addiction to built a resilient new life. He finds Hope, cares for rescue horses and a pregnant cat. He is drawn to Rebecca, a farmer at the Farmer’s Market, and forges a revelatory relationship with Dr. Otto Gunther, a Holocaust survivor. With unopened boxes and a pile of letters marked “Return to Sender,” Eli can’t hide his secrets much longer. Is this his second chance?
“Elias, you know when I read about your work and your experiences, I just couldn’t believe you hadn’t been doing the work your entire career,” the leather creaking under him as he leaned forward. He handed the lit cigar to Eli.
“That is to say, it can take a lifetime to develop what you have in a few short years.”. And then to learn that this is in fact your second career just really intrigued me. I don’t ever remember feeling that anyone has had any new insights in this field for such a long time. It’s truly refreshing and I have to say, quite daring on your part. I do believe youth has a tapferkeit, a bravado that has long been scared out of anyone over the age of forty – in any field.” He sat back and looked out the window to the water. “But…alles was Sie brauchen ist hoffnung.”
Eli watched him, staring at his profile and wondered what this man’s life was really like, how long he’s been in this country, his accent still so strong but his English perfect. His nose had a slight concave hump and his glasses sat exactly on the precipice seemingly undecided about which direction they want to travel. The scar on his cheek was not a slight one but he knew the story behind that. He had read about his run in with the SS officer who beat him for calling to a girl he thought was his sister.
Eli handed the cigar back to Dr. Gunther. “I sometimes think I was given a second chance at life, Doctor. I mean, not the life I was looking for, by any means but a second chance at making a life I can be proud of. The life I have now is not one I would give up for anything. But I had to lose everything to get it. You must know what I mean.”
Otto Gunther looked at the younger man sitting in his office and thought back to the start of his adulthood in Germany just after the war. He remembered thinking that a man Eli’s current age was so old. And then he thought what it would be like to be fifty-two once again.
“Yes, Elias. I do know exactly what you mean. And it is only people who have been through their verletzung, their wounding, sufficiently who can say such things.” I trust you understand that about your clients as well. The ones who have been beaten so badly by life that they are open to anything, all their preconceived notions and cares gone, just like that. They quite literally have nothing left to lose.”
Nodding, Eli took the cigar back, feeling quite at home here and comfortable with this man he’d only read about in interviews and in other therapists’ research.
“I know that to be true, Doctor. It wasn’t until I turned forty-one that I knew real pain. I couldn’t understand how the absence of someone could hurt so much and the unabating urgency to make it stop was just absolutely brutal. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Not any one.”
Otto turned to look directly at Eli and said, “One man’s pain cannot be compared to another’s. What is unbearable for one, is just a bruise to another.”
Eli sat stunned for a moment. “Well, if that’s so and I’m not saying it isn’t, what is the difference?”
“The difference, Dr. Cranston, is hope.”
Thank you, Caroline Zani and RABT Book Tours
About the author
In addition to being a critically-acclaimed author, Caroline Zani is an intuitive medium and a teacher. Left-handed, Aquarius, middle-child, introvert, and empath, she absorbs everything around her which informs her storytelling and writing. Zani teaches others to develop their own intuition. Believing life is about balance and our bodies are where our souls live, she also teaches health, wellness and stress management classes. She has contributed to articles on Bustle and Boston Voyager and has been a guest on many radio programs. She has one daughter, Amanda, and lives with husband Brian, puppy Tulip, and her soulmate Hermés the Siamese cat, on the hill, under the willows.