This is a delightful story about a small southern town in the late 1960's. It features one family, but you get to meet many of the town inhabitants along the way. The family is not your typical family, although anyone can find something in common with them as they stumble through life's lessons. The main character is a teenage girl who has lots of ups and downs as most young teenagers do! She is very lovable and endearing and I just wanted to be able to meet her in person to give her a hug! There is plenty of controversy throughout the story to keep you reading and yet it all seems so "normal" in the day to day living of life. There are lessons to learn along with Jocie as well as lots of laughter and tears. I would recommend this book for many ages - especially young teenagers feeling like life is just too hard at times. I hope we get to revisit this little town in future stories as it captured my heart and devotion.
The lovable Jocie Brooke and her quirky cast of family and friends return for a final time in the heartwarming third book of the Heart of Hollyhill series, "Summer of Joy". The book starts off at a bit of a slow burn, easing readers back into Jocie's world and the ups and downs of her life. But while at first the book seemed set at a slower pace than the first two in the series, I soon became wrapped up again in the drama of the character's lives. I really enjoyed watching Jocie mature over the course of the book and the whole series as she deepens her understanding of who God is and what her place in the world will be. Though her actions are occasionally misguided, her heart is in the right place. So as "Summer of Joy" progressed, I felt quite the righteous indignation when she began being bullied by her teacher no less! Her heart of forgiveness is inspiring to see, both for her teacher and later her mother, and I was reminded how children can so often set the example for those in the older generations! The flourishing romance between Jocie's dad and with Leigh provides for many lighthearted but also tender moments, and I am certain readers will be pleased with the eventual outcome. This third novel throws a bit of mystery and suspense into the mix, and I really liked how Gabhart handled those scenes as well, with a building sense of unease that permeates the pages. All in all, this final book brought everything full circle, yet left me longing for more of Jocie's story. Will there perhaps be another novel? Maybe. Or perhaps we will be left to imagine who Jocie grows up to be and what the future holds for her and her family.
This book and indeed the whole series will remain on my heart long after they have been placed on their permanent place on my shelves. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Summer of Joy continues the story of Jocie and her family. This book covers Jocie's freshman year in high school. I love Jocie even more in every book I read in this series. I really hope this isn't the final book. I was a little disappointed that Noah and his family were a little neglected in this book when they were a big part of Orchards of Hope. Other than that, I loved every bit of this book. It's fun, sweet, nostalgic and even a little suspenseful.
I love love love this book and really enjoy Ann H Gabhart's writing style in this series.
Summer of Joy is an easy read with fairly predictable twists and turns. I enjoyed the book, but didn't find that the characters held much interest for me. I found the storyline to be somewhat predictable, but pleasant overall. I would have liked to have had more closure for the character of DeeDee. Maybe there are plans for a sequel which will provide more detail about DeeDee after Summer of Joy?
This book was the third in a series. Maybe if I had read the first two books I would have enjoyed this book more and it would have held my interest better.
Summer of Joy takes us back to rural Hollyhill, Kentucky in the mid 1960's during a turbulent time in our nation's history. The characters that we have come to know and love in the previous two novels are all back. What seems to be a time of joy for the Brooke family comes to a startling halt with the arrival of a person they all thought was long gone.
Ms. Gabhart has done a beautiful job of showing us that family isn't always blood relation. Sometimes family is comprised of those that are related by heart. I enjoyed seeing how each of the members of this family let love and forgiveness shine the light of Christ to those around them.
I suppose that this could technically be classified as a stand alone novel, but I wouldn't personally recommend it that way. There is so much rich history that goes into the complete story that I think you will miss out if you limit yourself to only reading this novel. In my opinion you really should treat yourself and read the whole series in order. It is a wonderful piece of literature that captures the angst and innocence of the timeframe.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.