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A Stop in the Park

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  121 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Michael Stolis, a DC attorney, is frustrated by twelve-hour work days, tightly scheduled weekends, and his family's chaotic habits. He explodes over minor irritations like being stuck in traffic, and his tantrums need to stop. His disillusioned wife, Jamie, is sick of his anger outbursts, and wants him out of her life. Michael longs to reignite the passionate love they onc ...more
Paperback, 366 pages
Published September 20th 2012 by Peggy Panagopoulos Strack (first published September 9th 2012)
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Taylor Fulks
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
We all grow up with a fantasy of how we would like our lives to be...home and hearth, children, a chosen career path, then something happens. Real life kicks in and moves us down a path often so far from the fantasy, that we forget how to dream. Michael and Jamie Stolis did just that. Wrapped up in kids, work, and getting ahead, the couple lose sight of what's really important...of why they are together...of their dreams. They merely coexist, like living with a really bad roommate that you don't ...more
Micki Peluso
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A Stop in the Park
By Peggy Panagopoulos Strack

DC Attorney, Michael Stolis has lost control of his life. He has everything a man could hope for, a good job with a future, expensive home and car, lovely wife and two adorable little girls. Yet he's coming apart and doesn't know why. His wife Jamie doesn't either, nor does she plan to stick around to find out. Michael is a problem solver at work . . . why can't he figure out what's making him and others around him so miserable?

He does make an occasi
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adults
Recommended to Rosemary by: It was a win from a contest
A Stop In The Park
Author, Peggy Panagopoulos Strack

Ms. Peggy Strack open this exiting new novel set in the lustrous area of Washington DC.

If you think you are going to escape into a fairy tale or make believe life, you are mistaken. Ms. Strack takes you on a journey with a family very real as you or anyone else you may know.

Michael and Jamie are the main characters that are portrayed so well you feel as though you are inside their heads and can't wait to read what their next episodes in l
Trish Jackson
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
A Stop in the Park is a poignant and moving tale about love and dreams lost and re-kindled.

Michael and Jamie Stolis know their marriage is in big trouble, when a deviation from their normal habits includes a stop in a nearby park, where Michael meets a man named Rufus.

Rufus is a simple man who has a way of seeing into people's souls and knowing what they need. He takes Michael on an emotional journey that helps him find his true calling, and the pathway to regain the romance he had with Jamie.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book hit some major soul-chords for me. Michael Stolis and his wife Jamie are the main characters in her book, and they're having a hard go of it, to put it lightly. I know what that's like. I was hooked by page two.

Almost immediately I was deeply connected to her characters. They do things in the story that make you go, "No, no! Don't do that!" But then they do, and then they learn and change, and you learn and change with them. You feel the things they feel, because Strack is so good at p
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Michael and Jamie Stolis are in a nightmare of a marriage. He's a big-shot DC Labor Lawyer with a temper and she's his wife, mother of his two daughters and a former journalist. They should be living the dream. Instead they are intent on destroying it. This story will grab you by the shoulders and shake you awake. Ms. Strack brings to life characters that will completely incense you and then she'll have you eating right out of her hand and falling in love with those same characters that you were ...more
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A perfect rating just for the topic, for what this book is all about. The story may be common - a married couple, each with their own issues; a separation, then realization, then the will to change - but it is in the common that we find treasures of lessons to learn. Between the lines, the reader who "seeks" will find these lessons. There were a lot, and though I know that you know most of these, it doesn't hurt to go through them again:
1. We should take time to stop, relax and enjoy the view.
Patty Moore
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Just finished reading an advance copy of A Stop in the Park. It's about an married couple who are living a prescribed life that includes money, mom staying at home with kids, Dad working many hours at a job that pays well, but is all wrong. This kind of living has made both Jamie and Michael (main characters) miserable, but they don't know what to do about it. Can they really escape the life they created and rekindle the strong love they once felt for each other? I especially enjoyed Rufus Willi
Colleen Oakes
A Stop in the Park is a very intimate and detailed look inside of a failing family and failing marriage. Strack takes the time to truly explore the in's and out's of what does and does not make a marriage work. Her characters are richly drawn and explored. Michael, the man with an anger problem who constantly rationalizes away his mistakes, and Jamie, his wife who struggles with weight and an all-encompassing internet addiction, make for a relateable pair of protagonists. Strack's strengths lie ...more
Brian Benson
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
At the risk of sounding cliche, I found this book to be a fantastic feel good story. I will forever remember Ms Strack's symbolic example of finding one's right shoes. Rufus the chess and life guru is truly an amazing character. Although fiction, the characters she has painted are highly believable, we witness them walking through our lives every day. It's a modern love story about a couple that most of us will recognize. It's a story about how societal and familial pressures can all to easily p ...more
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing

A Stop in the Park is a delightful contemporary allegory that compels the reader to examine our own choices about how we lead our lives. Jamie and Michael are a couple with dreams who lose sight of those dreams along the way. The characters are sympathetic and reflect the kind of frailties that we all share. The story challenges us to think beyond material happiness and consider the inherent joy in "following your bliss" while reaching back and bringing others along the way. A heartfelt sweet st
Diana Stevan
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book succeeds in going into the minds of both a husband and a wife as they struggle to reignite the love they once had. The author shows a marked understanding of human behavior as she weaves her story with skill and compassion for both players. She also seamlessly interjects a sub-plot involving a chess master, whom the husband meets in a stop in the park. This serendipitous stop not only helps the husband look at his marriage in a whole different way, but it also helps him examine the car ...more
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I so enjoyed this book, but felt that the first half was much stronger. Having said that, I did enjoy the characters,and thought that the development was sincere. For me, the "dream" sequences felt like the reader was being led to a pivotal moment, but the reader would have gotten there on their own time anyway. For a debut novel, I thought Peggy Strack did a fine job, and I did walk away with a good feeling about the book.
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
"A Stop in the Park" is a well written novel with a nicely flowing plot that actually makes you think about your own choices in life. Peggy pens her characters well developed and realistic to the point where I could relate to the story. A must read for everyone.

This review is based on a complimentary copy which was provided for an honest review.
Jill Morgan
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This novel was recommended to me by a friend and I'm so glad I listened. I was immediately drawn in by the characters and their situation. It speaks to how many of us are living our lives. It was so well-written and I was disappointed when A Stop in the Park ended. I wish PPeggy Strack would continue with the Stolis's life in a sequel novel. I loved it!
Carol Brill
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it

Bravo on this debut novel about a young couple trying to rekindle their love and their dreams
Nov 02, 2012 marked it as to-read
The synopsis of this books leaves me wanting to know what advise Rufus has to give us all to obtain and maintain our dream. Hope I win this book to find out!
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
I love it when I find opportunities to review really great books and when authors personally reach out to me and ask. Such is the case in the latest book I've been glued to since I started it. I literally can't put it down. What's the pull you ask? I guess for me, because this book feels so real. The situations and characters within the pages under a beautiful cover are as real as the people that I know. There is some safety in watching them deal with a difficult situation, literally a marriage ...more
Angela Mclaurin
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
4.5 Beautiful Stars!!!!

This book took me by surprise being that it is not your typical young, beautiful couple falling in love. Instead, we have a couple that has been married for 10 years, have 2 young children, a beautiful home, and a disastrous relationship. We all know couples out there who are facing separation and divorce, but how much do we really know about what's happening on each side of the fence? This book was a captivating look into a family that, from the outside, seemed to have it
Sandra Nachlinger
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I read the author's synopsis of this book, I was immediately hooked, and Peggy Strack didn't disappoint me.

Michael and Jamie Stolis are living the American dream - big house, luxury car, two kids, stay-at-home mom, and husband with a seven-figure salary. What could be better? But Michael is angry almost all the time. Once a haven, Michael's home has turned into a source of irritation for him--after long hours in a high-stress job, he comes home to constant noise from television and children
Kathryn Laceby
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed at Novel Escapes

I judged this book by the cover and now I’m a tiny bit ashamed of myself because my judgement was way off. To be fair to Strack’s cover though (having now read the novel) I can see how they were probably drawing on the peace being sought throughout the story- the shafts of light and the greenery is inspirational and much of the novel left me with these same feelings. Initially though I just thought I was going to be wading through more description than I like…
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Every now and then a book comes along that is so wholly universal to anyone who has been in, or is in a relationship that the story touches you in unexpected ways. Such is the case with A Walk in the Park, Peggy Strack’s debut offering.

This is a story of a relationship in crisis: not a big dramatic crisis, but those everyday struggles that appear in relationships after the shine is off the penny, the kids need new shoes and everything is far more expensive and time consuming than you expected.
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the story of a man who had been told by his father what he should want in his life. It had been drilled into him so often that he took for granted, that he must be successful in business, and with that would come financial rewards. Such is the meaning of life. But what about what he, Michael Stolis, wanted to do? These are the questions Michael is forced to confront throughout this thought-provoking novel. It is a subject that interests a lot of people. How to have a fulfilling life, and ...more
J.E. Rogers
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
It is so evident how much love and devotion Peggy Strack put into this book.

This well written story can only be described as a love story in which the main players are desperately attempting to find lost love. I felt their internal conflicts, and I became quickly immersed in their problems, wishing them success with every issue and conflict that arose.

Jamie and Michael, like so many couples, have lost themselves along marriage's road. This is a story of their journey; together and separately.
Renee Alarid
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What would you do if you could live out your dreams instead of someone others? What if you could give up everything that you are doing now with no regrets to live the life you wanted for yourself? Have you ever thought of a different life and didn't have the guts or understanding to do it?

We meet Michael Stolis who is married to Jaime. They have two beautiful daughters, live in Georgetown (Washington DC) and are at wits end because their marriage is falling apart. From outside looking in you do
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Don't die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul.". - Wayne Dyer

As a reader to A Stop in the Park, this is the quotation that meets you at the front door. My feet leapt, my heart burst, my body ran, through the open door. I was immediately swept in, hook, line, and sinker.

This read was perfect to me on so many levels: It's a provocative look at a real marriage and subsequent family life, which some could spout as depressing.
Y.I. Lee
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Stop in the Park would not normally be my chosen genre to read. But sometimes it's good to expand ones literary horizons, and in this instance, I'm so glad I did.
Seeing the amount of reviews this book has received, I wondered whether I should bother to write one. But then on reflection if we all thought that way, no one would bother to do reviews, and that would be a shame as authors need them, and are encouraged and sometimes challenged by them.
I'm not going to outline the story, because othe
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a powerful message this book has to offer. First things first.... I was intrigued with the premise of this book. As with any book you start reading, you never know the full direction a book will go. Well this book has it all.... The family being torn apart because of work commitments.... Wife not happy... Kids spoiled.... Husband full of anger issues .... And small secrets of desire for both.

Then enters Rufus... Amazing character. Makes me want to move to an urban area and take a stroll thr
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story of "them" it was about the trials a tribulations of life, family, kids, work demands and how the love they had for each other and the family they wanted to have stay together, lead them to the self awareness they needed to see they had to make changes I order to live there true authentic lived. But for me this book resonated with me as so true to life. All the way to outside forces could also temp you away from a loved one when your going through a lonely period life separatio ...more
Karen K. Miller
The author gifted this book to me a couple of years ago. I forgot that I had it until I was cleaning messages out of my Goodreads account. I had promised I would review it so I read it. I'm so glad that I did! This book was amazing! The book really delved into the stresses of a marriage and how the problems you have outside of your marriage can effect your every day life. I felt a lot of empathy for both Michael and Jamie. They made some bad choices that adversely effected their marriage. But th ...more
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Peggy Morehouse Strack writes popular fiction about challenges people face in the fast-paced and often daunting contemporary world. Her debut novel, "A Stop in the Park," is the story of Michael and Jaime Stolis, a disillusioned married couple who yearn to escape the trap of the modern American dream. It has received three out of three, five star reviews from Readers Favorites and Kirkus Reviews s ...more
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“Maybe dream chasing is like climbing a mountain. You know, finding the trail, stepping onto it. At first you're energetic and it's easy. Then you trip over a root, face a huge boulder, or a steep incline. So you stand up after the fall, find your way around the boulder, and trudge up the vertical. Eventually, you're on top of the mountain with an expansive view of the world." ~ Michael Stlis in "A Stop in the Park” 8 likes
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