January 2016 Indie Next List
“Tarkington's debut novel feels positively Shakespearean in its sense of family dynamics and the sometimes destructive power of love, but it speaks with the deceptively plain, poignant language of a Neil Young song. Set in the 1980s in a small Virginia town, the book tells the coming-of-age story of Rocky Askew as he copes with fraternal abandonment, dangerous liaisons, caregiving, and one town scandal after another with little help other than his brother Paul's old vinyl collection. Only Love Can Break Your Heart speaks to anybody working to function, however imperfectly, in any type of family.”
— Andrew Hedglin (W), Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS
It's 1977, and eight-year-old Rocky worships his older brother, Paul, who is happy to have his younger brother as his sidekick, until one day, Paul disappears. When, seven years later, a mysterious double murder brings terror and suspicion to Rocky's small town, Rocky and his family must reckon with the past and find out how much forgiveness their hearts can hold.