Does true love stand a chance against a hitman and the mob?
When Anna, a young naive girl, is forced into an arranged marriage to William Bakalar, a hitman for the Youngstown, Ohio mob, she never expects to risk everything by falling for another man. But Mark Banos, known on stage as Tom Marks, is everything to Anna...not just her love, but her destiny.
Tom, a quick-tempered night club performer, and Anna, an innocent psychic who toils away her days as a department store clerk, find romance. But their union is merely an undercurrent of what’s really at stake for this couple.
They share a deep connection beyond mere physicality, but that which is also spiritual. Their Twin Flame relationship, if not realized, will affect more than their hearts, but also the wellbeing of everyone. Together, they create a healing frequency that will maintain the balance of the planet. The world stands to lose their combined saving powers if they are not reunited.
Compared to Richard Matheson’s classic novels, “What Dreams May Come” and “Bid Time Return” about a man who travels back in time to court a woman, Spencer Michaels’ story, “If” provides a satisfying, page-turning journey for romance and fantasy readers.
About the Author
Prior to becoming a novelist, Michael Bennington worked as a professional musician for over 50 years playing night clubs, coliseums and even serving as back up to nationally known recording artists. He shared his love of music as a teacher for 13 years before retiring in 2012. These days his music is limited to playing at his church where he serves as choir director.
Spencer's first book was inspired by what he believes is an inspiration to many a writer...the love of a beautiful woman. He also credits the stories his dad told about his early days as a nightclub entertainer with sparking his imagination.
Michael notes that his love of writing began accidentally when he suffered a stroke. Not being one to rest on his laurels, he launched into writing and convinced Spencer to jump on board. Michael lists The Baltimore Orioles as his other passion, along with single malt scotch.
Originally from Denton, Maryland, Michael and his wife, Susie, have called Danville, Virginia their home for the past 40 years. Spencer describes his birthplace as being more than soupy grits, but also the perfect blend of Southern home splendor, small town community and big city dreams. Although Michael remains in Danville, Spencer plans to relocate to Tampa, Florida and wonders if gator wrestlin' is in his future as he is an accomplished Tae Kwon Do instructor.
In addition to son Spencer, Michael and Susie, have one other son, Michael Jr., two grandchildren, and a Sheltie named Luci, who the family considers their only daughter.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ok, so, I’m just going to say this upfront--some of the humor is a teeny-tiny-itty-bit inappropriate. But it’s really funny. Like, George Carlin having frozen yogurt with Mel Brooks type of funny. Like, some parts are just as funny as that infomercial for the squatty potty. Yeah. I said it. So that’s what stands out to me, but If really is a love story once you get all the initial chuckles out of the way. And I like that Spencer Michaels isn’t afraid to make a few ridiculous jokes--some of these other romance novels out there can just be too serious, you know?
As someone who has had a few too many experiences with the psychic realm, I can safely say that If presents a hauntingly realistic account of astral projection, non-human entities, and the kinds of effects inter-dimensional mishaps can have on our day-to-day lives. Mark’s spiritual journey and experimentation with “portals” as they’re described here makes a pleasant homage to some of the themes in disability literature. His journey to realize the unfathomable infinity of the universe is complimented well by Anna’s continued growth in the realm of understanding the human psyche. One lover explores outward while the other delves inward, truly emblematic of the dynamic inherent in the Twin Flame relationship. Honestly, the thematic depth of this book keeps me thinking about the story long after finishing.
What exactly is memory? Is it ever something we can rely on for an accurate account of the past? Or is it something different? Something more? If, by Spencer Michaels, begs the question of how and why memory and narrative meet. Through Mark Banos’s desperate search for the story of his own life, the reader discovers the painful, dark, and often unsettling places a mind can retreat to to escape emotional pain. But this novel isn’t one of doom and gloom. Sure, the narrator is an old man trying to recount a story of a long lost love despite years of cognitive deterioration and potential retrograde amnesia, but what unfolds is a story of undying commitment, indomitable spirit, and a love that borderlines on the supernatural. While the story sounds like the typical melodrama one might come to expect from the sub-genre of “paranormal romance,” it actually has a depth, humor, and excitement to it that readers will be surprised by. Michaels does an excellent job of balancing the development of both Mark and Anna, as well as their fairly intricate backstories. The integration of the mystical/magical was subtle and believable but provided enough of phantasmagoria to keep me guessing. Overall, if you’re looking for a beach read, a rainy-day cup of tea story, or a novel that will have you contemplating the meaning of everlasting love, If is the right choice for you.
Recently I asked my Mom if true love really existed or could exist in this world. She said it could...but sometimes I find it hard to believe just her opinion alone. Even though it’s just a work of fiction, I feel like If is coming from a true place. Mark and Anna’s relationship is an example of everlasting love, one that can’t be interrupted by time or death or even abuse and hatred. Spencer Michaels is just another voice that gives me hope that you’ll always end up with the right person for you--even if you have to wait lifetimes.
Loved it! I laughed, I laughed some more, and I might have even cried once or twice. But seriously, this book does a great job of demonstrating just how complicated and messy our lives can seem in small moments, but just how symmetrical and planned they can appear in a long enough timeline. Because Mark is narrating this from such an old age, the book covers all the stages of life and love. What’s fascinating is that the style of the book changes with the characters--and everything just seems to fit! I really can’t explain just how well If intersects faith, love, spirituality, science, and all the other ways we try to make sense of our lives. What’s great is that the story doesn’t try to push just one answer either--it’s delightfully ambiguous!