The Heart of June
Place Published: Braddock, PA
Publisher: Braddock Avenue Books
Date Published: November 7, 2013
Walter Farnham is on a mission. Only he doesn’t know it. Living above the garage of his former wife and her new husband, Walt has never been one to finish things, not even a divorce. In fact, the closest he’s come to a steady anything is as caretaker for Hardwick, the grand old family home of the heiress, Miss June Bonwell Creighton.
Although Miss June is a stern mistress, Walt responds to her demands with good-natured indulgence. It was Miss June, after all, who took the motherless boy under her wing so many years ago. But now, well into her eighties, Miss June is running out of time to make Walt into the son she never had . . . and for Walt to show her that he is the man she believes him to be.
Bonded by a routine of affectionate banter and soft chiding, neither character is prepared to acknowledge that their relationship conceals a deeper problem—a shared reluctance to fully embrace the present, Walt through systematically refusing to complete anything, and Miss June by residing in memories of her lost love and lost life . . . until, that is, the young and accomplished Gwen Thompson steps into their world and irrevocably alters the carefully constructed pas de deux that is life at Hardwick.
Mason Radkoff has brought us a book brimming with wit and charm and filled with characters so engaging you’ll need to pinch yourself to realize you haven’t actually met them. A story filled with poignant encounters and madcap adventures, The Heart of June traces the surprising relationship between a wayward handyman and a crusty octogenarian as they discover together that what really matters in life was right in front of them all along.
This generous and brightly imagined book will have you laughing and crying and smiling ear to ear. A story about the debts and obligations we owe one another, and about the surprising satisfaction of settling them, The Heart of June is an unforgettable story about the transformative power of loyalty and love.
“Mason Radkoff’s moving debut novel The Heart of June is a literary masterpiece. Radkoff renders his flawed yet bighearted characters with such warmth, compassion and charm that I’m still thinking about them, long after turning the last page.”
– Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot
"Walt Farnham, the handyman hero of The Heart of June, is a good man whose life is in serious need of repair but knows it's sometimes better to enjoy what we have than mourn what's lost. Mason Radkoff's debut is sweet and funny and wise, besides being a deeply-felt love-letter to Pittsburgh, past and present."
– Stewart O’Nan, author of Snow Angels and Emily, Alone
“The Heart of June carefully illuminates the lives we craft for ourselves and the implications of things left unfinished, plans cut short. With gorgeously crafted prose and the rich history of Pittsburgh as its backdrop, Mason Radkoff weaves a generous tale that had me spellbound from the start.”
– Eugene Cross, author of Fires of Our Choosing