AUTHOR: Loree Lough
PUBLISHER: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC
Franco Allessi is a broken, lonely man who wants nothing more than to outrun the ghosts of his past. For years, he tries to numb the pain of his wife's death with cheap beer and whiskey. When he's convicted of drunk driving, the judge revokes his license for six months and orders him to serve fifty hours of community service. Franco chooses Savannah Falls Hospice for no reason other than it's walking distance from his dilapidated house trailer. On his first day on the job, he meets Aubrey Brewer, a woman whose time on earth is quickly ticking to a stop. Their unusual connection teaches powerful, life-changing lessons about friendship, acceptance, and the importance of appreciating that precious treasure called Life.
50 Hours is not a romance, but it is definitely a love story. When Franco is ordered to complete fifty hours of community service, the nearby hospice house is a logical choice—close to home, since he’s lost his drivers licence, and he and his wife (deceased) used to own a landscaping business. When he meets Aubrey, he makes assumptions about her. After all, Savannah Falls is an exclusive, beautiful hospice. But her physical weakness compels him to protect her, and a friendship, albeit shaky, is begun.
This story was difficult for me to read, and I had to take breaks several times to calm my emotions. One of my closest friends is currently fighting stage 4 cancer, and I’ve lost several loved ones to that dread disease. Author Loree Lough’s personal journey with cancer is evident in her writing—so poignant, so real—hit hard, but the love growing between Franco and Aubrey pulled me back. Touches of humor sprinkled throughout the story lightened the load of impending grief and created even more realism. I loved the secondary characters, too, as Aubrey’s example of acceptance of death becomes a type of healing for them.
Faith is not clearly defined, but it is present and growing in all the main characters. Love is the main theme of this story, the kind of love Jesus lived. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.” (John 15:13) 50 Hours earns five stars, and I highly recommend it.