Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Large Print / Hardcover)
I loved this book! Pure pleasure right from the start and it delivered all the way to the very end. Tarkington tells the story of two half-brothers in a small Virginia town on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains as they navigate the respective comings of age (there is 8 years between them). Narrated by Rocky, the younger of the two, the story tenderly and tangibly weaves its way through the 1970's exploring and reminiscing about freedom, loyalty, first and true loves, disappointment and revenge, replete with the perfect sound track (principally Neil Young) that takes you back to the very place and time. Tarkington's characters stayed with me a long time; as soon as I finished I wanted to pick it up and start over again.— Linda McLoughlin Figel
January 2016 Indie Next List
“Tarkington's debut novel feels positively Shakespearean in its sense of family dynamics and the sometimes destructive power of love, but it speaks with the deceptively plain, poignant language of a Neil Young song. Set in the 1980s in a small Virginia town, the book tells the coming-of-age story of Rocky Askew as he copes with fraternal abandonment, dangerous liaisons, caregiving, and one town scandal after another with little help other than his brother Paul's old vinyl collection. Only Love Can Break Your Heart speaks to anybody working to function, however imperfectly, in any type of family.”
— Andrew Hedglin (W), Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS
Welcome to Spencerville, Virginia, 1977. A time when teenagers roamed wild and free. When sons worshipped God, loved their mothers, and feared their fathers. And when eight-year-old Rocky still worshipped his older brother, Paul--sixteen and full of rebel cool--who was happy to have his younger brother as his sidekick, until one day things went terribly wrong and Paul disappeared. Seven years later, Rocky, now a teenager himself, must reckon with the past after a mysterious double murder brings terror and suspicion to their small town, and to their broken family.