Heading off to work one morning, magazine reporter Parker Towne gets into his car and finds a surprise in the back seat. A homeless woman was sleeping off her hangover in his car. Shocked by finding her there he treats her very badly but after she’s gone he starts to think about her circumstances and tries to find her soon after. When the search leads nowhere he writes his next article about her and soon Cleo shows up at his apartment window to tell him her story.
Cleo begins her with life as teenager in love for the first time. When he’s sent to war and dies overseas Cleo’s comfortable life is disrupted and things begin to change. She heads off to college and loses touch with her sister then marries a childhood friend and has a daughter to fill her days.
Years later at her husband’s urging she tracks down her sister and learns some startling truths about her family including both her parents, her aunt and her sister. When her sister takes her to an underground club where the drinks are free and visitors are encouraged to let their inner spirituality shine on an improv stage life changes yet again for Cleo.
After Parker’s initial story is published a television reporter tries to entice him to share more of his interaction with Cleo on air but he’s hesitant. Entranced by Cleo’s life Parker knows there something more to her story that the reporter knows and he doesn’t. Then another woman comes forward claiming Cleo is her mother Parker is torn between keeping Cleo’s whereabouts a secret and thinking he needs to get her help because she might be in danger both physically and mentally.
Wow. This must be my lucky month for reading books that keep me up past my bedtime. The Blue Pen is another tale that I didn’t want to end. The anticipation of learning Cleo’s secrets and finding out about the path that lead her from a wealthy background to homelessness left me almost agitated that I couldn’t read faster.
Rusczyk gives us such eccentric and wondrous characters I was totally absorbed by this extraordinary tale of love and friendships. I highly recommend this one to all fiction lovers.