Book Review: Mile Marker 139 by Cynthia Hilston

Now, I love a dark book and that’s what attracted me to this next review. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how uplifting the story actually was. Let me tell you why.

Goodreads Blurb

Mile Marker 139 by Cynthia Hilston

At mile marker 139 along the Ohio Turnpike, a mysterious woman named Shelley Parkinson arrives at 3:14 at the rest area every night. She sits outside at one of the picnic tables, her fragile hands clutching one cigarette after another. Troubled people swirl around her, battling their own sorrows.

Gruff old janitor Mike Popkins works third shift at the facility and has been lost since his wife died, cutting himself off from his only son and going through the motions of his job. Idealistic young Sarah Wilcox whips up drinks at the happening new coffee shop at the rest stop, but her mind whips of dreams of traveling the world and living the life her late grandpa did as he drank a coffee on all corners of the globe. Heartbroken middle-aged trucker Russ Jacobs would rather spend long hours on the road than fall in love again. They all befriend Shelley. Each one desires something different, but none of them know why she haunts the rest area.

Unexpected death, disease, and accidents force Mike, Sarah, and Russ to make hard decisions to move forward, ripping them from their pasts. Can these three motley friends find healing in their own lives and help a woman who says she doesn’t need anyone, even as her brokenness spills onto them?

Mile Marker 139 Book Cover


The blurb above already tells you a lot about Mile Marker 139. I personally got the impression that this would be a dark book, and it was, but it was also so much more than that.

I started the book with one goal in mind: to find out what had happened Shelley. This goal never left me but it shared my mind space with wondering how the friendship between Shelley, Mike, Sarah, and Russ would develop. For me, these friendships confirmed a number of things: that friendship is important, human beings are not meant to be alone, and that there can be hope even in the most desperate of times.

I also really enjoyed how each of the characters developed. Collectively, I found that the characters, especially Shelley, were a catalyst for one important theme: letting go of past mistakes. When you reflect back on Mile Marker 139, it is easy to see how the characters acted when they were burdened by something from their past and when the chose to move on with their future. I dare say it was beautiful and was certainly what brought the light to this book.

Mile Marker 139 is my surprise book of 2020 so far. I knew I would enjoy it, but not for the reasons that made the book an excellent read for me.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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