Save My Place by Oliva deBelle Byrd is a heartwarming and heart wrenching love story set in 1960s and 1970s. It was recently honored with two Gold Medals in Florida Fiction for Adults and Cover Design by the Florida Presidents Book Awards. It is the story of love through various stages of courtship, marriage, war, and personal tragedy.
The story opens with Elisabeth Belle Sterling, a young college student who is “creative, independent but not rebellious.” She begins to enter the dating scene and after a lot of misses, she feel she’s doomed to be an old maid. Until she meets Kincaid Patterson, an Army buddy of her roommate’s boyfriend. The two immediately hit it off and before they know it, they are married and settling into life together. He is stationed at Fort Banning and she becomes a second grade teacher. Soon their wonderful life is halted as Kincaid is deployed to Vietnam. Before he leaves, Kincaid tells Elisabeth to “save his place.” She ends her letters to him with “your place is saved.” Will Kincaid return home? Will Elisabeth be able to learn to live without him?
I loved this book. It was sweet and tender. It had shocking moments when you gasped and hoped for a positive outcome. I can’t give more without ruining the entire book but there are moments when you cry and your heart aches for the characters as they deal with different tragedies. I especially loved the ending. It showed a great loved between these characters and I can imagine them living today still hand-in-hand. I highly recommend Save My Place. It definitely has a place on my keeper shelf.