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FaithWords / 2010 / Paperback
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Life should be carefree in Graham Camp, Texas---it's anything but for Sammie Tucker. She wonders about her mother's "nerve" problems and wants answers. Who should she confide in---her best friend, a troubled boy, a gentle neighbor, or an elderly widower? She soon learns that trusting is one thing, but accepting the truth is quite another.
It is the summer of 1958, and life in the small
When her mother commits suicide and a not-so-favorite aunt arrives, Sammie has to choose who to trust with her deepest fears: Her best friend who has an opinion about everything, the mysterious kid from
Trusting is one thing, but accepting the truth may be the hardest thing Sammie has ever done.
Carla Stewart's writing reflects her passion for times gone by, cherished relationships, and the mysteries of God in our skid-marked world. She and her husband have four adult sons and delight in the adventures of their six grandchildren.
Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart follows the trials of a young girl, Sammie Tucker, in her hometown of Graham Camp, Texas. Set in 1958, Sammies summer is turned upside down after she discovers that her mother is mentally ill and needs to spend a few weeks in a sanitarium. All Sammie wants is to write and have a normal mother who loves her, but as tragedy surrounds her and her family, she finds more questions than answers.
Stewart writes in a simple way that takes readers back to the late 50s. Her use of dialect and slang pulls readers into the story and makes the characters even more realistic. Chasing Lilacs is full of characters who both intrigue and disgust us. Some, such as Mrs. Gray, will delight readers, whereas others, such as Aunt Vadine, will anger and appall readers. The whole spectrum of human emotion is wonderfully portrayed in the inhabitants of Graham Camp, and each character has a lesson to offer readers.
As problem after problem buffets young Sammie, she begins to find herself asking questions shed never thought about before: Is she somehow responsible? Does Mama really love her? How could Mama fail her like this? Can she trust anyone? Sammie must struggle to answer these questions herself, since Mama cant help her anymore. The verse Matthew 7:7, which says, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you, haunts her as she attempts to move on with her life. What was Mama trying to tell her with this verse, and is God trustworthy enough to handle all her problems? One thing is for certain: Sammie has a lot of asking and seeking to do.
Chasing Lilacs is a great book for preteen to early teenagers, especially girls. Readers will laugh and cry along with Sammie and her friends and will remain interested until the very last page. Theres enough mystery and intrigue in Graham Camp to satisfy even the most skeptical of readers. Carla Stewart has done a great job of presenting biblical truths from a fun and creative perspective. Sarah Sawicki, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Stewarts fiction debut is a classic coming-of-age story set in tiny Graham Camp, Tex., in 1958. Sammie Tucker, soon to be 13, has a mother with nerve problems, a desire for a typewriter since she wants to be a writer, and a sort-of boyfriend in Cly, an Elvis Presleylike teen just arrived from California with a stuffed bag of family issues. Subplots involving all the minor characters that revolve around the central constellation of Sammie and her family as Sammies life is upended by a tragedy pack a bit too much complexity . Stewart writes about powerful and basic emotions with a restraint that suggests depth and authenticity; the relationship between Sammie and her mother Rita, the engine that drives the plot, is beautifully and delicately rendered. . Coming-of-age stories are a fiction staple, but well-done ones much rarer. This emotionally acute novel is one of the rare ones. (June) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
"Stewart writes about powerful and basic emotions with a restraint that suggests depth and authenticity; the relationship between Sammie and her mother Rita, the engine that drives the plot, is beautifully and delicately rendered. Coming-of-age stories are a fiction staple, but well-done ones much rarer. This emotionally acute novel is one of the rare ones."
"This first-person narrative contains resolute characters and vivid descriptions of a small Texas community in the 1950's. If her debut is any indication, Stewart has a promising future."
"Prepare to laugh, cry, and pray as you inhale each poignant word of this stunning debut novel. Simply unforgettable!"
"CHASING LILACS is the kind of coming of age story that sticks to you beyond the last page. Unforgettable characters, surprising plot twists, and a setting so southern you'll fall in love with Texas. Carla Stewart is a new talent to watch!"
"Carla Stewart writes a tender story with such emotional impact, you will hope, fear, cry, and rejoice with her characters. Readers will find themselves cheering Sammie on through her ordeals as she seeks love and forgiveness."
"Stewart's book CHASING LILACS was a delightful read . . . It'll warm your heart."
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