Told through a series of past and present episodes, Comeback Love focuses on the theme of timeless love. Aspiring journalist Gordon falls in love with Glenna, a ravishing medical student, during the late 1960s heyday of free love, drugs, and civil rights. As Gordon struggles to make sense of his place in New York City, he and Glenna develop an attachment common to the free spirits who proclaimed “Live for today.” As she finishes work on her M.D., Gordon tries to make sense of their lives together showing the “almost truthfulness” of couples afraid of long-term commitment, yet longing for it at the same time. Their youthful zest and enthusiasm is tempered by their parents’ lives, which are more conventional but more confused than their own. The novel slips back and forth among their various reencounters over fifty years, carefully blending those mysterious elements in love affairs that seem to mock the passage of time, and yet transcend it all the same.
Those who experienced the military service in Viet Nam, the fight for women’s reproductive rights, and the thrills of Woodstock will recognize the powerful forces mirrored in Gordon and Glenna’s experiences. Peter Golden’s period references to drugs, sex, and rock and roll are accurate and compelling. Through his characters, Golden brings to life the enduring influence of “the Stars and Stripes with a peace symbol stamped on it”.