Kathleen Bauer in her new book "Sweet September" Book Two in the Home To Heather Creek series published by Guideposts takes us into the life of Charlotte Stevenson.
From the back cover: As tenuous family bonds threaten to break apart, a mystery on the farm might be the one thing that can restore the Stevensons' hope for the harvest.
Harvest at Heather Creek Farm is an exciting time, the earth bursts with life, providing sustenance for the coming winter. However, the Slater children don't seem to be getting into the spirit: Emily is struggling with farm life, Christopher spends most of his time alone, and Sam is failing school. Charlotte is determined not to make the same mistakes she did with her own kids, but how can she get her grandchildren back on track?
Then the vegetable garden by the house is uprooted one night. Who could have done such a thing? Charlotte is determined to uncover the truth, and as they all pull together to find answers, they learn more about one another and the love that binds them. As this cobbled-together family adjusts to their new life, they find hope for the future in the lessons of their past.
Come Home to Heather Creek: Get to know Charlotte Stevenson, who is raising her grandchildren on the family farm after a tragic accident changes all of their lives forever. With the help of her husband Bob and a close-knit circle of friends, she will do whatever it takes to keep this fragile family together. See how God, who makes the sun rise and the crops grow, watches over our lives too.
There is no yellow "Families For Dummies" book available out there. Each family has to learn how to deal with each member of that family day by day, sometimes minute by minute. This is what happens to Charlotte, her husband Bob, their son Pete who suddenly found themselves grandparents and an uncle to three children. The children, Emily, Christopher and Sam, are trying to deal with life on a farm, grandparents and an uncle. For all of them there is quite a lot to adjust to. "Sweet September" is a lot of fun and filled with great characters that you want to hang out with. Tricia Goyer, writing under the pen name of Kathleen Bauer, has given us a wonderful, sweet story with power and depth that will keep you flipping pages. I am looking forward to more in this series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Here is the sequel to Before the Dawn where readers were first introduced to a unique family and changes happening all the time on the farm. As the characters from book one continue on here, readers will begin to appreciate even more the reality of life as portrayed in the work of fiction. In a time when being grandparents and enjoying their retiring years is looked forward to instead turns into becoming guardians of their daughter's three growing children. The story of Before the Dawn where we see the changes from city life to small town life can be very hard. Add to that moving in with grandparents they hardly knew, beginning at new schools, making new friends all combines in learning to depend on the Lord to make them into a close family in more than name only.
In Sweet September, the grandfather, Bob, is struggling with all the changes coming into the farming profession plus learning what he can't do. Christopher, being the youngest, seems most capable of drawing out of his grandpa the history of the area, farm and family when he happens to dig up a piece of something hidden under the dirt for a long time. Sam, the oldest of the three kids, must decide whether to take school seriously and thrive or face the consequences that failing a class will bring.
Since I don't want to ruin the story by revealing too much of it, let me say that here is another example of great faith-filled fiction. The reason is because faith is not represented as an instant fix to problems, but points the characters to the God who can do above anything we ask or think. As time goes on in the story, we see how prayers for the uniting of hearts come about as each person learns who they are and Who God is.
Whether sitting together at meal times, having reading times or talking with friends over coffee, the love of others permeates the pages. There is also portrayed a character who is challenging to understand as she seems to put on airs around others. Another part of the novel shows how time is an aspect that changes the family from being strangers, then to struggling with grief to the change to loving their family history and how the farm came with a responsibility.
Family history, state history or other types of history have a way of pulling people out from being focused on themselves to being servants of whomever God brings across our path. The grandmother in the story learned too that God has to do the work with hardest part being to not get in His way. I hope you consider reading the series and sharing the novels with others for them to appreciate as well.
Ok, so I'll admit that these books are outside of the norm for what I review, but I thought I would change things up just a bit. See, it seems that although my blog is "Reviews from a Man's Perspective", I don't seem to have any men read my reviews. So here's my attempt to see if this makes my blog any more successful :)
Since this review is basically for both books in the series, I'll add them both together here in my synopsis. This series revolves around a family that has a tragedy strike and the children involved move in with their grandparents. The children are from the city, and the grandparents live in the country on the farm. The first book deals with the adjustment that occurs as these generations attempt to marry their separate and different lives together. The second book is more with the family being settled and then uncovering family secrets. Secrets that can bring a family together again. Can Charlotte overcome some of the mistakes that she made with her own children and not make the same ones with her grand kids? Is Bob able to open himself up to a relationship with his grandson, a relationship that he wasn't able to build with his own son? Will these secrets provide the chance for this family to get through their grief and learn to rely on one another? A great series that will give you plenty of enjoyment when you BUY THE BOOK!
These books are actually written by two different prolific authors, Carolyn Aarsen and Tricia Goyer. This is always a challenge, especially in doing a series as it's hard to keep the same writing style and continuity with various authors. That isn't the case this time, though. These authors have managed to write their respective books seamlessly, as if they were sharing the same brain as they penned the books. The writing is reminiscent of days of past where life was much simpler and less fast paced. The detail of the characters, the insight into their thoughts, made the characters new friends. To me, the success of a book is whether I become attached to the characters, and I definitely did with these.
Is this a guy's book? Bottom line, not really. This book is high on feelings, thoughts and emotions. There's a storyline that takes you from tears of heartache to tears of joy that most men would not even begin to entertain. With that being said, I won't demean this book because it's not a true man's book, because it is written extremely well. Maybe it's the fact that I'm carrying around a 14 week old Chihuahua now that makes me more open to exploring my thoughts and feelings.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
Now that school has picked up again for Sam, Emily and Christopher, some things are changing more than just grade levels and teachers for the Slater children. It's been a rough time not only coming to terms with the death of their mother, but relocating from busy San Diego, to a country farm in Nebraska along Heather Creek to live with their grandparents Charlotte and Bob.
For Sam, he doesn't see the sense in trying to memorize geometry facts along with history names and dates. What's worse is that it's beginning to take its toll on his grades and if his teacher can't convince him, perhaps his grandparents are willing to listen.
Emily is still trying to fit in without the lack of technology she had grown accustom to, it is now non exist on the small farm. What's worse is that her friends from San Diego have apparently moved on without her and there isn't a decent place to shop for clothes in town. Her only hope is the one friend she has managed to make with Ashley, a girl who has befriended her at school but also introduced her to youth group at church as well. Sure beats hanging out on the farm. Christopher, the youngest has managed to keep all his deep secrets hidden along with the occasional treasures he finds during his outings with the family dog, Toby. He wonders if finding a way to invent a time machine might just be the answer they all need to go back to before his mom died. Perhaps they would all be a whole lot happier.
Charlotte knew that it would take time for the grandchildren to fit in but last thing she expected to hear while Ashley spent the night was a conversation between Emily and herself.
" I don't know why anyone would want to stay in Nebraska forever. There is no ocean, no mountains, not to mention all the potholes and no place to shop. As soon as I'm old enough, I'm out of here, just like Sam. Nothing here worth keeping me around."
What would it take for all these issues to be resolved and for her family to find peace amongst one another? Will it take the loss of Bob's health to drive them to put others before their own needs? Will more sacrifices need to be made in order for the family to come together or will another tragedy drive them all apart once and for all?
In the novel Sweet September written under the pen name of Kathleen Bauer, by a team of writers who have come together to create the series Home to Heather Creek. Tricia Goyer takes the helm as she takes us back to the lives of the Slater children whom we read about in Before the Dawn. In this novel however, the children have had some time to adapt to life on the farm, and even though Charlotte had hoped things would work out, it appears that there is more going on than meets the eye. Even her vegetable crop is mysteriously vanishing which means that there will be even less of a harvest to meet the needs of her growing family. Will the family find a way to work together to see that despite tough times, love really does conquer all? You'll have to pick this one up to find out, but well worth the time.
I received Sweet September by Kathleen Bauer (Tricia Goyer) compliments of Guidepost Publishing and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review and I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable one. I absolutely LOVE this series. There is so much to admire and appreciate about the family that is struggling to overcome the odds brought about by the death of the children's mother and their daughter, but also in resolving the differences between the generations that were brought up so differently. In the end, it is truly satisfying to see how it all works out. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and look forward to many, many more in this series. It's almost like the Little House on the Prairie Books for adults that grew up loving that series. Now for a more contemporary version with a unique and unforgettable twist.
Bob hunkered down and scooped up a handful of soil, allowing it to filter through his fingers. He stared intently at the dirt as if reading a story in each speck.
"One day, my grandma, your great-great-grandma, heard a knock at the door," he began. "It was a man whose car had broken down. The man had a woman and a baby with himâ€”all were painfully thin. The man didn't ask for much. In fact, he only asked for one thing."
"What was that?" Christopher asked. "A job. A place to live?"
"No, son. He only asked if they could spare food for his sick baby."
"Land's sakes. I couldn't imagine." Charlotte clutched her arms to her. An aching filled her gut as she tried to imagine being in such a spot.
"My familyâ€”our familyâ€”took in this hungry couple. We fed them. Our family didn't have much, but they had enough to share."
"Did the baby get better?" Christopher cradled the carburetor as if clinging to the infant himself.
Bob sighed. "Unfortunately not. He never gained his strength back and died on the farm. Eventually Grandpa William and Great-Grandma Betty helped the couple get a new part for their car. They threw the old one on the farm's dump and the sad family went on their way. They never heard from them again. But that sick baby, and that desperate family, so touched my great-grandparents, they vowed from that day on to make Heather Creek Farm a place of refuge for all that needed help."
"Refuge?" Christopher scratched his head near the blonde cowlick that always stuck up no matter how many times he combed it.
"A place of safety. Where you go to be cared for and looked after," Charlotte answered.
It's finally harvest time on the farm. A time for hard work to reap the benefits of this year's planting. Harvest time at Heather Creek Farm this year has it's obstacles. Worn equipment and the challenges the children are facing after their mother's death make things more difficult. Emily finds living on the farm a challenge. She misses her friends and wants to go back to California, Sam is failing in school and doesn't seem to care, and Christopher is always keeping to himself. It seems the barn cats are his best friends. Charlotte isn't sure how to get through to the three of them and feels her stress mounting daily. Add to that the fact that someone is stealing food from her garden and that means less food for the table. But God uses a total stranger to open their eyes and make them realize they are truly blessed.
I fall in love with this family a little more with each book. Their continuing story draws me in and I just want to keep reading. Charlotte is at her wits end and her stress level is high. She doesn't want to make the same mistakes with her grandkids as she did with her own kids so she is always second guessing herself with each decision. But I loved the way God helped her release her stress by allowing her to help someone in dire need. One man changed the entire family's outlook on their own lives and that in itself is a true miracle. Grace flowing like a river. Sam, Emily and Christopher, with God's help, pick themselves up and begin their lives anew. You will adore the Stevenson family and want to read more. Their family is a family of strong faith and Charlotte and Bob are doing their best to pass this faith on to their grandkids. And, since I am a romance junkie, I am excited to say that I sense a little spark of romance in future books. If you love sweet, wholesome stories you'll enjoy Sweet September.
**This book was provided for free from the publisher for my truthful and honest review**