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Celebrate fathers with A Well-Respected Man by @DavidWBerner #fiction #fathersday #giveaway

Title: A Well-Respected Man

Author: David W. Berner

Genre: Fiction

Book Blurb: Professor Martin Gregory is the author of a critically acclaimed novel of love and longing, a cult favorite among women. The book brings him unexpected status and prestige, but also unwelcome fame. A love affair with one of his students derails his career and breaks his heart. Coming to terms with a life knocked off balance, Martin retreats to a quiet English village, only to be confronted at his flat by a mystery woman with an unexpected message and an implausible request, one that could alter his life forever.


Martin Gregory slept in an ordinary twin bed in his rented

flat. His place was sparsely furnished but comfortable. There was

a small kitchen table and two wooden chairs, a writing desk,

a worn leather couch, and a single chair in the living space. It

was how he liked it. Simple. There were no mirrors, photos, or

paintings. The only item he’d tacked to the wall since moving

to Banbury three years ago was a pencil sketch from his journal,

a drawing of the town’s train station at night. He had captured

it while waiting alone just after dusk for a cab following a visit

to London to see Westminster Abbey for the first time. Martin

could hear a light rain on the window and see the milky, gray

light of a March sunrise through the bedroom blinds. On his

nightstand, next to an old wind-up Big Ben alarm clock, was a

hardback copy of Ulysses, a weathered edition he found in a used

bookstore just after the holidays. He’d promised himself he’d

finally get around to reading Joyce’s masterpiece, but it had been

weeks since he last dog-eared any of the pages.

Martin untangled himself from the light gray sheets and

wrapped a tattered robe over his shoulders, tucked his disheveled,

graying, still thick-but-in-need-of-a-trim hair behind his ears,

and shuffled to the kitchen to put water on the stove. Martin

was trim, in an angular way. Not athletic, just lean. His build

suggested he once had more energy for the world. He wasn’t old,

certainly. Forty was the new twenty, or at least the new thirty.

And he kept busy. But a certain spark had dimmed. Desired

routine had emerged. He once wanted to make history with his

prose. It was never about fame; it was about legacy. But he knew

how a dream like that was for fools. He was not bitter; he had

only become realistic. Celebrity had never been what he wanted.

Still, it had found him for a time.

Dismayed to find the coffee container empty, Martin dug

out the previous morning’s grinds from the bottom of the small

French press on the counter, enough to make one weak cup.

He washed his face, put on one of the four blue button-down

shirts he owned, tied one of his three obligatory rep ties, pulled

on a pair of threadbare khakis and his grey herringbone coat—a

wardrobe he had adopted since coming to England. He grabbed

the still damp, black umbrella he’d left leaning against the wall

by the front door the previous evening and headed through the

entranceway and into the weather. It was then that he noticed

her, standing erect on the gravel in the space between the walkway

and the road, dressed in a midnight blue raincoat dampened

by rain on the sleeves and shoulders, an open yellow umbrella

above her head. Tight against her chest, she held a frayed paperback


“Mr. Gregory?” Her voice was tentative.

“Can I help you?” he asked, struggling to adjust the strap of

his leather bag over his shoulder and maneuver his now opened

umbrella against the freshening breeze.

The woman was plain but appealing, waif-like, maybe in her

early-30s. Her hair was deep brown, nearly black. It hung to the

base of her neck. The rain had moistened it, and it clung to her

pale cheeks.

“Mr. Martin Gregory?” she asked more precisely. Her accent

was American.

“Yes,” he answered, becoming impatient. Martin locked his

front door and stood directly in front of the woman.

“I believe you have written about my life,” she said. Her voice

was now less cautious but remained delicate.

Martin was uncertain of exactly what he had heard but yet

familiar with visits like this one, although it had been a long time

since the last encounter.

“I hope that I may speak with you,” the woman said.

Martin Gregory had returned to Banbury after living in the

hamlet for one month, many years ago. He had arrived to complete

his Masters of Fine Arts degree and the manuscript that

he was required to present to his university advisor. The college

had allowed five writing students to live at Wroxton Abbey in

Oxfordshire while they labored with the final edits of their works.

Martin quickly became fond of the small town. He treasured its

quiet tidiness, its gardens, and the village’s low-ceiling pubs, and

even its weather—mainly gray and damp but at least consistent.

For years after his days as a student, he’d considered returning

for a peaceful holiday. What he couldn’t have predicted was that

he’d return to live and teach at The Academy in Banbury—the

secondary school—and that Banbury would be his sanctuary.

“I have not written about your life,” Martin insisted.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

Why is your featured book a must-read?

The protagonist in A Well-Respected Man is faced with a life-changing challenge that presents not only a major shift in his life plans, but has him contemplating modern-day parenthood, and considering a what a man must evaluate to become a father.

Giveaway –

Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 17 books featured in the Celebrate Fathers Bookish Event:

Open Internationally.

Runs June 18 – 21, 2020.

Winner will be drawn on June 28, 2020.

Author Biography:

David W. Berner has written nine books, including the award-winning novel A Well-Respected Man and the memoir The Consequence of Stars. He has been honored with the position of Writer-in-Residence at the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, Florida and at the Hemingway Birthplace Home and Museum in Oak Park, IL. He is the founder and editor of Writer Shed Stories and a frequent contributor on writing and creative work at the online platform MEDIUM. He teaches at Columbia College Chicago.

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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Jun 19, 2020

Thank you, David, for sharing your book in our Celebrate Fathers Bookish Event. Happy Father's Day!

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