This is a story about the magic of first love, and the coming of age of a young man in an era of innocence.

Its 1957, and Michael is spending summer vacation at a New England resort named Ocean Bluff. There he meets Linda, a pretty young girl who captivates him. Michael and Linda become engrossed by each other. Michael is flabbergasted at his attraction to Linda, thriving in their friendship and struggling with unfamiliar physical desire. Their romance builds to a pinnacle where both teeter on the edge of surrendering not only their hearts, but also their innocence. Will they be able to live with the consequences if they consummate their love? Will their love survive separation?

A GIFT ONCE GIVEN is a sweet story. The characters are well drawn and the feelings evoked will remind a reader of their own teenage angst. The setting is vivid; however, it tends to overshadow and slow down the simple plot. Mr. Barclays talent is obvious, and I hope to see more of him in the future. (Jul., 234 pp., $18.00)

Reviewed by: 
April Redmon