With Beyond These Hills, the third and final book in the Smoky Mountain Dreams series, Sandra Robbins brings a dramatic conclusion to the story of the families of Cades Cove. Spanning the years from the late 1800s to 1935, this series skillfully evokes the beauty and atmosphere of the Cades Cove, Tennessee region, while creating a multi-generational story arc of an endearing family who worked hard and ministered to the people there. This series is one that I will always remember and I recommend it highly.
From early childhood on, I have spent many family vacations and fall foliage trips in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, so this book immediately touched my heart with the way Sandra made Cades Cove come alive, almost like a major character. It's fun to learn something new, and through Sandra's research, I learned that a "bald" is a type of mountain whose peak is covered with a meadow of wild grass instead of trees like other peaks in the range. Beyond These Hills can stand alone, but readers will get so much more out of it if they read the series in order.
This story is both heartwarming and bittersweet at the same time. It was great to be reunited with previous characters - Granny, Simon, Anna, Matthew and Rani - and then to continue on with Laurel, Matthew and Rani's daughter. But at the heart of this story is the controversy and heartbreak over the government's acquisition of Cades Cove property in order to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The attraction between Laurel and Andrew is immediate, and I loved the way Laurel's family offered warm friendship and acceptance even though Andrew's mission was in opposition to everything they were fighting for.
As the son of Congressman Richard Brady, Andrew has a lot of baggage that includes his father's control and political aspirations for him. But rather than improving his political resume, Andrew had other motives for the Cades Cove assignment. "I came because I wanted to be a part of preserving this great wilderness for generations to come. And I thought while I was here I could figure out what I wanted to do with my life."
From now on, I will be even more appreciative of God's creation when I get to enjoy the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, but I will be ever mindful of what the families of the Cades Cove region sacrificed in order for us to have that enjoyment. Families were initially assured that their homes wouldn't be touched, yet that promise was forgotten once the final bill was passed to create the park. Not only did these people give up land that had been in their families for generations, but it was the end of a way of life, a close community that took care of its own.
But in Matthew's words, I sense a double meaning in the title, Beyond These Hills: "I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I do know God will take care of me and my family no matter where we are, and that gives me the peace and strength to face each day that I live." I believe readers will appreciate the spiritual message and uplifting ending of this story.
I highly recommend Beyond These Hills to all who enjoy inspirational fiction. Sandra Robbins did a great job with the Smoky Mountain Dreams series and I hope she will write more stories set in the Great Smoky Mountains.
This book was provided by FIRST Wildcard Tours and Harvest House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
The year is 1935 and we are now on our third visit with these loving people who reside in Cades Cove, TN. We are with Laurel Jackson, the Granddaughter of the first book in this series, Anna Prentiss. There is a visit with beloved Granny.
The Cove is in real danger now, so many families are gone. The CCC is clearing the area and creating the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There is a lot of heartache in what is happening to their beloved, and beautiful home. How do you fight the Government? The feeling of hopelessness, and yet they have such a strong faith in God.
Laurel has a chance meeting with Andrew Brady, and it is life changing. Unknown to Laurel, Andrew is here to finish buying up the few remaining properties for the Government.
Do Laurel and Andrew have a chance? He comes from such a different background than her. She has a strong faith, he doubts God. Will these two young people be able to overcome their differences, or will Laurel end up with her childhood friend, Jimmy?
Enjoy this wonderful look into our Countries past, and how adversity is overcome or accepted and embraced. I am so glad to have read all three of these books. Thank you Sandra Robbins.
I received this book through the First Wild Card Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Not only does this book have a love story, great conflict and obstacles, but is also a heartwarming and touching story of people living their faith under extreme circumstances. This book has it all: great writing, wonderful description of the beautiful and inspiring setting in the mountains, and engaging characters and emotions to draw you in. Don't miss this book!
Beyond These Hills is the third and final book of the Smokey Mountain Dreams Series. I really liked this story. I loved the characters and really felt a connection with them. In this installment, you are introduced to Laurel Jackson and Andrew Brady. Granny, Anna, Simon, Matthew and Rani from the first two books of the series are also a big part of the story.
I loved how the author describes the mountains and surrounding areas. Making me feel like I am really there experiencing the scenery.
It is sad to read how the landowners were forced to sell the property to the government and forced to leave the only home they have ever known. I now find myself looking up the history of Cades Cove to learn more about the area. One day, I hope to visit there and see how these characters lived.
It's hard to say goodbye to these characters and the series. I highly recommend this book, as well as, the rest of the series.
I really enjoyed reading this book. This was the first book by Sandra Robbins that I have read. I would like to read the rest of the series now. I love historical fiction and I did learn a lot of history while reading this book. Sandra made the characters come alive. I visited Cades Cove 10 years ago with my family so I was able to visual myself in the story too with her descriptions. It made me want to go back again. I feel like I have so much more knowledge of the area and I think I would appreciate it so much more now. I also appreciated the Christian message that Sandra has throughout the book. There are some "Christian" authors that I don't like because the message of Christ is barely in the novels. Sandra doesn't skim over the Good News! I appreciate that! I am an avid reader and I stick to either Christian non-fiction or Christian fiction. I would have to say that Beyond These Hills is a great read! I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.