The Nearness of You
Set in 1952 in the fictional town of Hooper’s Crossing, New York, the story centers upon a young, sheltered librarian, Lily Denton, who longs for the excitement of a big city. Lily schemes with her best friend to run away, but Lily’s father is a widower who depends on her for companionship. At the last moment, Lily capitulates and decides to stay in Hooper’s Crossing, while her friend takes off for New York City.
Fate intervenes by sending a New York photographer, Boone Tatum, to Hooper’s Crossing to document the annual Fall Festival for Life Magazine. Boone has taken photographs all over the world, and Hooper’s Crossing does not look even remotely interesting. Just when Boone is counting the minutes till he can finish his assignment, he captures Lily in a photograph and everything changes. Unknown to both Lily and Boone, a would-be bank robber has also been captured on the film, which now draws Lily into danger. As Lily and Boon fall for each other, Boone knows he is supposed to wrap up this assignment and leave for his next gig. He finds himself protecting Lily and doesn’t want to leave her behind. Lily is torn with the realization that to be with Boone will mean having to leave Hooper’s Crossing after all.
The characters are all believable, and while the novel was a light summer read for me, I kept wishing for more historical details that would have fleshed out the era of small-town living in the early 1950s. I did like the suspense of wondering whether Lily would leave all she had ever known to follow a man she had only met a few days ago.