When a woman falls in love with a married man, a struggle begins. When that woman presides over a regional university and holds high ethical standards, a major conflict looms.
Katherine Embright, chancellor of North Carolina’s Wickfield University, thinks she can manage her head-versus-heart dilemma until she is diagnosed with colon cancer. Reluctantly, she turns to campus security officer Paul Stafford, the man who secretly stirs her feelings. This is 1990, an era when women executives cannot afford to appear weak. And Katherine needs Paul’s expertise to help conceal her advancing illness from the public eye.
Prez, A Story of Love takes the reader behind the ivy walls of academia into the real-life drama of the human heart. Along the way, Katherine runs out of gas on a mountain interstate, tangles with her aging Board of Trustees chairman, and rides through the winds of Hurricane Hugo. Adding to her tension is the guilt she harbors toward the long-ago deaths of her father and young brother.
With a keen eye for both imagery and first-person narration, Margaret Garrison develops themes that embrace romantic passion, devotion for family, and spiritual grace. In the end, this debut novel will leave the reader feeling emotionally empowered and enriched.
Mine has been a good life, if lives are measured by decency and prosperity and the number of mourners you expect to sign your funeral book. If gauged by other standards, such as the intensity of love both given and received, mine has been magnificent. (“Prologue”)
How long did I lie on that couch, anchored by my thoughts? One hour? Two? I lost all rhythm of time until nudged by the sound of shifting logs. I watched them jostle into new positions. They were like sleeping lovers who relinquish their grips on thighs and shoulders, tucking into empty spaces and nestling together for another spell. (Chapter 23, “Madrigal Dinner”)
I pressed the cold glass against my cheek. “But, well, the story gets even more complex, Karl.” There. I could not back out now. I laughed roughly, too loudly. Then the tears began to stream, and I let them course, tasting their saltiness as they pooled around my mouth. I was about to bare my innermost soul to this dear man. I would somehow stumble through a confession of all that seemed to doom me and try not to watch his face when he perceived the depths of my sins. (Chapter 48, “Forgiveness”)
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