To Have and To Hold

To Have and To Hold

by Trae Stratton


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To Have and To Hold by Trae Stratton

April 23, 1994.

The date is set. Colin MacLann is getting married. Growing up in the suburbs of New York City at a time when kids could still be kids and sometimes were for too long, Colin looked like he had it all: he was smart, athletic, had a voice for rock 'n' roll, and lots of luck. There were girlfriends too, five of them: Cindy, Haley, Cara, Monique and Tessa. Each of them burst into his life at different times to inspire him in their own unique way, and more often than not, broke his heart too. Still, fate has chosen one of them to be his soul mate. Will Colin grow up in time to earn a place at the altar beside her? Or must destiny deliver someone else?

In To Have and To Hold, Trae Stratton takes the reader on a rare journey. By writing almost exclusively from the point of view of the groom and his family, a simple love story turns into an endearing family saga anchored to Colin's relationships. Through the deft use of flashbacks, the reader grows up with Colin just before the digital age in a time and place when your neighborhood could still be your whole world. As the hour of his wedding draws near, the witty dialogue keeps the plot moving at a crisp pace, while slyly preserving the identity of the bride until the final chapter. Whether you enjoy mysteries, happy endings or both, the MacLann family will work their way into your heart for a long time to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781463783235
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 04/02/2014
Pages: 586
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.19(d)

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To Have and To Hold 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Colin MacLann is getting married, today is the day and in just a few hours he will begin to “write” another addition to the “books” of his life’s journey. Reflecting back on the story of his life through his thoughts, we are invited to witness a young boy, his best friends and joy of their youthful imaginations. Always called the Lucky One, Colin was a gifted athlete, a talented singer and seemed to get whatever he wanted, the girls, the attention, that hidden niggling of self-doubt was always there. As his childhood friends grew, their bonds remained strong and lives changed, some for the better, some hit major roadblocks along the way only to hurdle past them in directions they only dreamed about. But these young men are not the only ones reflecting on events of their pasts; his parents have their own secrets,flaws and mistakes hidden deep within. What of the girls in Colin’s life, how did they impact the man he has become as they walked into and out of his life? His bride awaits him, the one he needed most, and how did she know she was to co-author his next story? Masterful storytelling, riveting and, well, simply breathtaking! This could have been written about any family, anywhere and that is part of the charm of this tale. Trae Stratton has created a story of introspection, revelations, truths, pain and joy in a way that welcomes his readers into the fold of the MacLann family. They're far from perfect, have overstepped boundaries, have loved and lost, been wounded and have healed, but always they are a family of the heart, mind and soul, a solid unit that often defies explanation. The undertones are decidedly masculine as the memories and flashbacks are told from a mostly male perspective. An emotional rollercoaster, you will soar with the characters, feel their self-doubt and crash and burn alongside them, but throughout, you will feel hope for the future based on events and actions from the past, and love, a lot of love. Trae Stratton writes from his heart, it’s in every word on each page as they come to life in your mind’s eye. I suggest keeping tissues nearby, because Mr. Stratton not only gives you a couple of laughs, but he will scrape your heart raw just when you least want it. If that isn't magical storytelling, nothing is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh wow...where to start? This book is definitely one of those stories that you can just "sink" into. At first, I thought this was going to be a story told entirely by the groom with flashbacks. I was pleasantly surprised to find that you also learn Colin and his bride-to-be's story through the eyes and flashbacks of his family and discover a few of their secrets as well. Through them, you'll learn about each of Colin's five girlfriends, and each one will leave you wondering who the bride will turn out to be. Every time I thought I had it figured out, I'd read the next chapter and change my mind. I didn't figure it out to the very last chapter. I definitely recommend this wonderful story to anyone who enjoys happily ever afters with a twist of mystery. I highly commend Mr. Stratton on his wonderful debut novel. It is a beautifully written, rich story. I very much enjoyed my time with the MacLanns!
Katsanity13 More than 1 year ago
To Have and To Hold was awesome. It's not some cheesy romance novel. Usually you find books that are all about the woman. This is mainly from the point of view of the guy. Stratton keeps you engaged through out the whole book. If you pay real close attention, his clues as to who Collin will marry will blow your mind! I totally recommend this. And just an FYI, you'll probably shed some tears. I also think this would make an awesome movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nostalgic, Uplifting Read “To Have and to Hold” is a heart-warming story of a large family growing up in Queens. Although there are five children in the MacLann household, the story is based around Colin, the second child in the family. Its Colin’s wedding day. As he sits in his favorite chair in his family home, he reflects on his childhood. His mind is instantly flooded with memories. He ponders on all the trials and tribulations he has gone through in his life that has lead him to be the man he is today.  Colin has had five major girlfriends. The intriguing part is that he marries one of them, but you don’t know which one until the end of the book. That in itself was an added thrill. Being the mother of a thirty five year old son, this book spoke to me on a personal level. After finishing the story, I sat thinking of the similarities between Colin and my own son. The references of plastic army men, Star Wars, cars, girlfriends, football and the music of the 80’s and 90’s brought tears to my eyes. I immediately picked up my phone and called my son, just to hear his voice and to tell him how much I love him. Author Trae Stratton has been able to capture the essence of happiness in the pages of this book. I felt comforted, satisfied and truly touched after reading this novel.  5 Stars easy!  
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Talk about a breath of fresh air to all the readers out there. Instead of zombies, gore, grim fairytales, or murder and mayhem, this author has put together a truly inspiring, emotional, humorous, and perfect story that people can relate to. A middle-class family living in the suburbs of New York City, the MacLann’s, are all about living life and loving each other. The crew includes Mom and Dad and their brood of five children, who are living the good, bad, and sometimes difficult life, along with their dog, Storm; a Husky with two different colored eyes. As the story begins, Colin MacLann is about to take the big step into matrimony. Colin is a smart boy who has enjoyed a good upbringing and was very close to his brother, Matthew. He was one of those charmers who had numerous girlfriends over the years and the five girls he wooed over time liked him in all different ways. Some of them even broke his heart for a while...but not for long. Colin has made his choice to settle down, and a narrative begins that goes back in time, remembering each and every niche of the MacLann’s early days, delving into both the great times and the sad that transformed the family dynamic in different ways over the decades. Centering the narrative on the soon-to-be groom, the love story between Colin and his bride-to-be comes to life. Now, they are suffering from pre-wedding jitters, yet remembering the family, and the fun had in the MacLann home, brings relaxation to the scary moment. Flashbacks galore, as Colin strives to keep his nerves in check. From the days leading up to the wedding to the family members adding in their own thoughts, like Mom and Dad viewing the years of their children’s lives as they grew into adults and began lives of their own. There are trials and tribulations that must be taken on, learning how to succeed and how to brush yourself off and stand back up again, when circumstances weigh you down. And remembering Mom’s ‘look’ that could come from nowhere, and was like a laser shot directed at the member of the family who had just made a bit of a mistake by angering her. Even the smallest family tidbit is told. As the wedding day unfolds, readers will finally realize who the bride actually is, chosen from the bevy of beauties that made up Colin’s past loves, and as the time ticks off to the moment where aisle-walking is imminent, the MacLann family makes everyone realize and remember how wonderful and necessary a strong, loving family unit can be. Quill says: Funny, enlightened, kind, nurturing and real, this is a thoughtful book about a family anyone would want to be a part of.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Tina Gibbons for Readers' Favorite In To Have and To Hold, Trae Stratton introduces readers to the MacLann family. It is ultimately a love story, centered on Colin MacLann's wedding day, but it is also about growing up in a New York City suburb before the digital era. Colin, considered the lucky one, appears to have everything going for him, but he has a lot of growing up to do and some serious self discoveries to make before the fateful event the story is working its way towards. Flashbacks and memories are contributed from most of the participants of the big day, building a foundation, letting you get to know all the characters, and leading up to the happy moment when the bride walks down the aisle. Colin has several girlfriends along the way, moving in and out of his life at different times for different reasons. Who will be under the veil?  I was engrossed with To Have and To Hold. Trae Stratton did a wonderful job with this family saga. The author brilliantly used small sections from different characters' viewpoints which helped me connect with all of the MacLanns. I loved the entire family. Significant moments of their pasts were brought to life in such a raw and compelling way that it caused me to respect, sympathize, admire, and just plain adore so many of them. The story flowed effortlessly, consistently leading me where I needed to be. There were so many well developed, real characters and I was so involved with their tales that I didn't want to put the book down. Profound emotions moved me to tears as I approached its conclusion. By the time I finished it, I felt as though I could have been part of their story, right there in that church to finally witness the wedding.