Outskirts Press (2015)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (12/15)
“Keeping it Cool” by Taylor Hardman is the story of Bill Evans. As far as Bill is concerned, his life is going exactly according to plan. He is content, repairing and upgrading an old house he bought at auction, and business is steady for his heating and air conditioning company. Yes, life in Parrytown, California is good, if not predictable, but that’s okay with Bill. One day, he finds a box of old letters and his life takes a swift detour as Amelia, a young history teacher, offers to help Bill learn more about the history of the letters. As the two unravel the dreams of the soldier and the young woman in the letters, they become closer to one another and it seems Bill’s life may take, yet again, an unplanned detour. With all the work involved in owning his own business, and other complications multiplying, can Bill meet all the challenges and get his life back on plan?
I found “Keeping it Cool” to be a pleasant read in general. While I enjoyed the basic concept of the story, I would like to have seen more depth to the characters, as I could not really find myself caring that much about them. The relationship between Bill and Amelia felt a bit superficial. I liked the characters and wanted to get to know them better, but was unable to connect. Something was a bit off for me with the setting as well. The story read like circa 1950, but actually takes place in the current era.
Overall, “Keeping it Cool” by Taylor Hardman is certainly an enjoyable read. If you are looking for a simple, feel-good story about life in middle-class suburbia America, this is your book.