“Book Review: Shadows of Swayne Field”
Reviewed by Jaylynn Korrell
A wholesome tribute to family through America’s favorite pastime
There are few things as classic to America as baseball, and Ronald R. Harrington knows it. His latest book Shadows of Swayne Field combines baseball gameplay and appreciation with a deep love of history to tell a nostalgic grandson & grandfather adventure. By recreating the past with a few imaginative twists, this novel offers baseball lovers and history buffs the positive spin they’re probably searching for.
The main character (Punk) is a middle-aged man with a strong passion for baseball. After finishing a reenactment game and feeling the repercussions on his now-older body, he begins to realize just how far away his glory days are. But when the attic at his mother’s house caves in, some of his best days are suddenly brought back to life. While trudging through the mess with his family, Punk is given the opportunity to tell a story he thought he’d never be able to tell, and it has the entire family hooked.
The story takes us back to his youth with his grandfather, a spectacular expedition to find missing family artifacts but none more important than a baseball signed by Abraham Lincoln. Before they can find that, they’ll have to discover the last page of a journal that may tell them where it is. With supernatural twists, a handful of baseball games, and a lot of good food, this road trip between grandfather and grandson ends up as a touching adventure story through family and baseball history.
Ronald Harrington creates a family classic with Shadows of Swayne Field. It’s the kind of nostalgic book that you hope someone in the family will write, as it weaves together a very real family history with supernatural imagination. Taking place in and around Toledo, Ohio, Harrington writes in a way that only a local could.
The relationship between Punk and his grandfather is wholesome, as they enjoy nearly every activity they do together and have many things in common. I’m confident that reading about their journey together will evoke plenty of readerly smiles.
Together, they enjoy countless meals of mashed potatoes, stadium hot dogs, and the great Irish food at the golden arches. They greet old friends like pals, as they work tirelessly to solve the puzzle of finding the family baseball. And they’re doing it all together. While we may have spent a bit too much time in historical and baseball description, it’s a novel that I’m thankful to have experienced. It’s just what we look for a nostalgic baseball book.
Shadows of Swayne Field is a great read for people wishing to escape to a different time. This touching family story is enough to keep you going even if baseball isn’t your thing, but if it is, you’ve come to the right book.
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Category: Baseball Fiction / Historical
Print Length: 232 pages
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