Mile Marker 139 by Cynthia Hilston

Published January 18th 2020

Genre: Literary fiction, Standalone Story

Book Synopsis: 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?

4.5 Stars: 

I have come to expect books by Cynthia Hilston to be a bit different from the run of the mill stories and this one was no exception. This was the story of four people; four sad, lonely people who meet each other at the rest stop at Mile Marker 139 on the Ohio Turnpike. Can they save each other and help each other find what is missing in their lives?

This is a human drama, there are no huge twists, it is not fast moving, but I couldn’t stop reading it. I wanted to know about Shelly, Russ, Mike and Sarah. I wanted them to share their secrets with one another, take the steps they needed to take to heal and become a supportive group of friends. They all had baggage, things in life that had beaten them down, some more than others, but they were all handling it with isolation and some self-pity and anger. The story is told from all four points of view. We slowly learn about their present lives, then what happened in their pasts to bring them to the point they are at now. I don’t think I am doing justice to this book. It is full of heartbreak, forgiveness (self and others), friendship, acceptance and second chances. The writing is not flowery, it is honest and simple, just the way the characters are with one another. If you enjoy a poignant human drama, a story where humans need one another to heal and characters that are realistic and will evoke your own emotions, then you will enjoy this book. I do recommend this one. I received a copy of this book from Rachel’s Random Resources upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

Purchase: Amazon US   Amazon UK

About the Author: Cynthia Hilston is a thirty-something-year-old stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she finally stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction. Visit her website at for more information.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

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