Terry Boyle is your typical small town guy. Friendly, kind to strangers, a devoted husband and father. A gentle soul quietly moving through life. But still waters run deep, and Terry’s inner turmoil derives from a secret that he can’t share with anyone.
As fate would have it, Terry’s guarded world is turned upside down the day he walks into a hardware store and meets Renee Patrick, a free-spirited beauty who is as tough as the nails she sells out of her family business. Unfiltered and unapologetic of her questionable lifestyle, Renee ignites a spark deep inside Terry.
As these two lost souls embark on an unlikely relationship, they are both forced to face secrets they have long kept hidden in order to survive. Now, each of them must decide if they will risk completely destroying their fragile existence in a last attempt to find true happiness.
“Van De Yacht’s talents as a storyteller are solid and impressive. Well-structured, the appealing book delivers polished writing and multidimensional characters.” — Kirkus Reviews
“An unassuming yet potent novel about the power and possibilities of personal transformation after traumatic events.” — Kirkus Reviews
- Captivating! From the opening, Terry Boyle and Renee Patrick leap off the page. Van De Yacht uncovers layer after layer with his impressive writing. Terry, a loyal family man, life begins to spin out of control, as he finds himself reluctantly drawn to, Renee, a force of nature antagonist who runs a local hardware store—an attraction that threatens to destroy everything he’s vowed to protect. We soon learn that all isn’t right in Terry’s family and marriage. The chapters from Hannah’s perspective leave you breathless, and her anxiety is palpable, gripping you by the throat, as Terry desperately tries to spare his 7-year-old daughter Miranda from the pain of a mentally ill parent, refusing to seek help. The pain churning under the surface leaves you rooting for them all the way, despite what may come. Van De Yatch’s skill at exposing each characters wounds and secrets is far more compelling than a surface-level romance novel. You soon realize you are reading literary fiction, rich with detail and inner dialogue profoundly haunting. From start to finish, I fell in love with this story. I couldn’t put it down. It is one of the best books I have read in years.There is something so unique in how Van De Yacht spins a story, setting him apart from all the others. Fabulous debut novel! If you found Manchester By the Sea, moving, you will find, A Man Walks Into A Hardware Store, mesmerizing!
- what a fun, mysterious, engaging read! the author has created characters that keep drawing you in– layered, nuanced, and alluring– and then weaves them into a tale that is easy to hurry through… just so you can see what happens next. he leads you down a road you may think is predictable, but keeps you on your toes as he twists and turns through love, marriage, deceit, desire, and tragedy. if you are looking for a captivating story to start (or end) your summer, this is the perfect beach read. two enthusiastic thumbs up!
- Mr. Van De Yacht is an exceptional storyteller, drawing you in from chapter one. The characters are well developed and while the reader is engaged in the budding romance, it becomes clear that something is missing. The hint of suspense that is weaved throughout the storyline makes it difficult to put this book down. I read it in one sitting, guessing at the twist (of course I did not get it right) and being shocked when it was finally revealed. If you’re looking for something suspenseful with great characters and a well-executed plot, this book is for you. Great debut!
- A great book. I was hooked from chapter one. I read the entire book in one day between football practice, dinner and laundry. I couldn’t put it down. I love a good book. With crazy schedules it’s hard to find one that captures you. This book did that and more. The characters were very well developed, that I am still thinking about them after having finished the book. Mr. Van De Yacht is a very talented writer. I am looking forward to reading many more books from this author.
- The novel is haunting, in fact, soulful, a beautiful, elegiac work, which grabbed me from the moment I began reading all the way through the last page; it drew me into Terry’s world. But, it’s more than that — the story delves deeply into multiple character’s points of view, uncovering layer after layer of thick beautifully written trauma from every perspective with a very healthy dose of exquisite sexual tension. If I had to compare it to another book it reminded me a bit of The Bridges of Madison County falling into the realm of soulmates. But, hard to encapsulate, it’s not that either. It is a story of shared grieving, healing, and love. But like a heightened thriller it leads you in one direction, and then just when you think you know what’s going to come next it takes a turn, and then another turn until I was utterly blown away by the ending, which I don’t want to spoil! This gem of a little book packs a wallop that will keep you thinking about the story long after you read it.
- Terry Boyle walked into a hardware store, met Renee Patrick, the partial owner and full-time operator of Hardware California, to buy five fire escape ladders for his home. According to the overly cautious, extremely conservative, and always well-organized Terry; you could never have too much safety equipment. If we believe that opposites attract, Terry was the perfect match for Renee; a spur-of-the-moment woman, a sex addict, and a woman dedicated to a life of instant gratification. Terry was very aware of his marital status; he would not succumb to the overt sexual invitations Renee signaled. Renee was very aware of Terry’s marital status, wasn’t bothered by it at all, and looked on Terry’s resistance as a challenge worth overcoming. No other man had ever resisted her, and married men were better conquests because they went home. Tools used should be put back in their place after use.
A Man Walks into a Hardware Store by Bernie Van De Yacht follows the sexual tension and struggle between Terry and Renee from the time Terry first walked into the store up to the time Renee finds out Terry’s secret. Why was Terry resisting Renee so much? She was going to win and the only person who didn’t know it was Terry. Renee was not sure that Terry possessed some deep, dark, secret (he did) she was only puzzled by why her charms did not work on the only man she had developed an interest in.
Along the journey to solving the problem of Terry, we meet Lois, Renee’s mom. The mother and daughter have a very contentious relationship. Renee would just as soon not talk to mom but after Dad’s death, she and Lois had inherited the hardware store at a time when there was competition from a neighboring superstore, Home Despot (that is what Renee called it). Their mom and pop hardware store was almost impossible to sell for any profit, so Renee had reluctantly decided to stay in town and run the store with her Mom until business picked up. But she did not have to like it. The two rarely talked and when they did it was only for Lois to express disapproval at Renee’s exuberant attachment to her sex addiction.
Terry made numerous visits to the hardware store. Despite faithfulness to his wife, Hannah, and daughter, Miranda, Terry felt a strange and growing attachment to, and even fondness for, Renee. He returned repeatedly to the store to purchase home safety equipment while knowing he could have gotten the items cheaper at the larger nearby superstore. Would the inevitable happen? Would Terry cheat on Hannah (and Miranda)? Renee had become much more vulnerable after her mother had suffered a recent heart attack and died. At least she would not be complaining about Terry to Renee. And she would no longer be trying to warn Terry away from Renee. The death of Lois was almost a relief. Maybe Renee would finally sell the store, even at a loss. And she would get rid of the sign in front of the store that contained the neon-lit name evoking Hippie days past. Hardware California indeed!
This is a fast read with an interesting surprise ending. Readers who like stories of relationships between people of widely disparate backgrounds will like this novel. If Renee and Terry finally resolve their differences, will they be happy? This is a novel full of questions which I enjoyed enough to give it four stars.