Blog Tour: The Key to Everything

Valerie Fraser LuesseContemporary Christian Romance

Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: June 2, 2020
Number of Pages: 352

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Based on a true story, Valerie Fraser Luesse’s new novel takes readers on an incredible journey of self-discovery. The poignant prose, enchanting characters, and captivating settings in The Key to Everything make this a moving story that readers won’t soon forget. Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon, and distancing himself from his son. When a tragic accident separates Peyton from his parents, and the girl of his dreams seems out of reach, he struggles to cope with a young life upended.

Pushed to his limit, Peyton makes a daring decision: he will retrace a slice of the journey his father took at fifteen by riding his bicycle all the way from St. Augustine to Key West, Florida. Part loving tribute, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will unlock more than he ever could have imagined, including the key to his distant father, a calling that will shape the rest of his life, and the realization that he’s willing to risk absolutely everything for the girl he loves.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac and Almost Home, as well as an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse received the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society for her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana. A graduate of Auburn University and Baylor University, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Dave. 

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Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT


The story begins with Peyton at yet another family event with the Cabot’s. His father, Marshall, had returned from the war some time ago and was dealing with his own demons from his past. A twist of events leads this semi-normal family into a world of new adventures and past discoveries. As Marshall recovers from an accident, Kate must work to keep his family at arm’s length as fights for his life. The life Payton once knew no longer exists as he works to grasp a hold of who his Father was. After learning of his father’s adventurous bike ride, Payton decides to take the same ride in an attempt to truly understand the father he felt like he never knew. We journey through the rest of this novel with Payton as he discovers who he really is, who his father was, and what love truly means. Will Payton find what he is looking for on his journey or will he die trying?

This is the first book I have read by this author and she has done an amazing job. I have always been interested in books writing based on different time periods. This novel is written based in the year 1947 after the completion of World War II. In the beginning of the book we see Payton described as a young boy who is in love with a new girl in town. However due to the events with his father he decides to break it off with her as he moves to another state state to be with his family as they work to heal. The author dives a bit into he healing process that a family goes through after the loss of a loved one and Payton learning to forgive his father for his alcoholism after returning from the war. Payton simply wants to understand the actions of his father and understand who he was before he went to war. On his long bike journey we see him develop friendships, get glimpse into his father’s past, discover his identity, and building lasting family in different places. He grows up fast after his father’s death and is able to not only take care of himself but those around him. All while he is working on his self discovery, his mother is at home working on grieving from a major loss. She seeks comfort in the Cabot family member and says goodbye to the life she built with her late husband. She learns to grieve in her own way by not only learning to set her husband free but also Payton. There is more to this story but you will have to read it to truly discover the love that exists not only between Marshall and Kate but between Payton and Lisa. Throughout this story you will find yourself not only captivated by the true love that exists but the courage and strength of Payton and his mother.

The author does a wonderful job unpacking multiple themes and plot twists as you continue throughout the novel. You both laugh, cry, gasp, and applaud while you read the stories of each character. Payton’s character is developed so eloquently that you feel as if you have been transported into the story with him as you ride the bike alongside him. Lisa’s character, although not seen as highly focal point character until later in the story, is well written and I enjoyed the bit of family drama that surrounded her character. Each character is developed in a way that provides depth and detail that can only be described as something straight out of a movie. Did I cry while reading this book? Yes. I didn’t cry because it was super emotional. I cried because of the beautiful scene the author created. The father’s passing was described as nothing but an act of God and the mother’s raw emotions when she prayed truly shows the great lengths of a mother’s love. It is often a challenge for to capture the true essence of grieving that is associated with living with a parent who has a destructive addiction that leaves the entire family feeling abandoned and left to pick up the pieces. I loved how the author showcases positive moments in a tumultuous journey. Each journey we take is a bit different but it is nice to read a book that allows you to connect a bit more with the characters and truly see parts of your life represented. This is such a great ode to Father’s and the families they leave behind.


I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in reading a captivating christian fiction novel based on a true story. This book is appropriate for adults and young adults.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


One Winner: Copy of The Key to Everything, Necklace, $25 B&N Gift Card; 
Two Winners: Copy of The Key to Everything + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

June16-26, 2020

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