Jasmine (Jaz) and Quinton (Qwayz) Chandler were in love. Unequivocally in love. They
were young and had a lifetime of love ahead of them.
"It was a familiar sight. A red Karman Ghia speeding up the coastal highway from
Watts to San Francisco. A guy, a girl and a dog. The guy and girl had been inseparable
since high school, since she was sixteen, now he was graduating from Stanford, law school
bound, a she was finishing up her junior year at Berkeley. You seldom saw one without the
Everlastin' Love begins in January of 1968. The Vietnam War has touched the lives
of the young lovers and their families. T.C., Jaz' brother and Qwayz' best friend, has been
killed in Vietnam. T.C.'s death is the first in a dizzying chain of events that year. Dr. Martin
Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy were assassinated. President Lyndon Johnson's
refused to seek reelection. Richard Nixon was elected president. The Paris peace talks began.
And Qwayz, Stanford's star basketball player, graduated with honors and a scholarship to law
But Qwayz postpones law school to join the Air Force. Jaz is devastated, quoting a line
from Dr. Zhivago – "Only an unhappy man volunteers to go to war." He tries to
comfort her by tell her he'll be going to Vietnam as an officer in a "secure" desk job in Saigon.
Jaz is not convinced.
Days before he is to come home, Qwayz is listed as missing in action. His status is changed
from MIA to KIA – killed in action and Jaz is suddenly a young widow. She refuses to
accept that he is gone and remains in denial for more than a decade.
Although Jaz is in denial about Qwayz, most other areas of her life function like a
well-oiled machine. She has made a career change from medicine to architecture and
joins her father's business. Jaz is part of a close-knit group of family, "in-laws and out-laws"
who support her in good times and bad. They give her space to heal at her own pace. But
there is still an emptiness in her life where Qwayz used to be.
Kyle Jagger, her father's second-in-command, wants to fill that spot. He is loving, patient and
aware that he cannot compete with Qwayz's memory and must peacefully co-exist with it.
Kyle sets out on a campaign to chase Jaz – until she catches him.
Gay G. Gunn has written a powerful story about love that lasts "until death do you part" and
beyond. Everlastin' Love is also a story about hope, trust and second chances. Family
and friends are important elements in her work. The Culhane, Chandler and Jagger families
have strong values to sustain them and they nurture those values to give to the next generation.
Music is another important element in Gunn's work. Qwayz and Jaz' marriage even has a theme
song, "Too Young" by Nat King Cole, a comment on their elopement. The novel
chronicles the years between 1968 and 1985. Gunn skillfully uses the music and popular
culture of the era as a backdrop and as commentary on the social and political climate
and on relationships between the main characters.
"Music, as much a part of them as breathing, was yanked from their lives, and the silence
screamed between them."
Everlastin' Love is a gift. One World/Ballantine has reissued the 1996 novel, first published by the smaller Genesis Press. The novel is now available in the standard
paperback size at half the original price.
In Everlastin' Love, Gay G. Gunn has given us a wonderfully well-written story of
love and its sacrifices. If you are a hopeless romantic like me, I must give you fair warning:
Get out your handkerchiefs!