#2: Castles in the Clouds  -     By: Myra Johnson
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#2: Castles in the Clouds

Franciscan Media / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

Castles in the Clouds #2, in the Flowers of Eden series, by Myra Johnson

Larkspur Linwood is teacher in a small town in Arkansas, who yearns for more in life, so she joins a college professor who is starting a school in Kenya. Once there, she is given menial tasks. Now she must decide if life back in Arkansas is better.  Is it where you work or what your attitude is?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Franciscan Media
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1632530023
ISBN-13: 9781632530028
Series: Flowers of Eden

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Publisher's Description

The first book in the Flowers of Eden series introduced readers to Bryony Linwood, an orphan trying desperately to provide for her sisters in the shadow of the Great Depression. In Castles in the Clouds, we meet one of those sisters—Larkspur Linwood, a young woman who has a passion for teaching but yearns for something more than life as a small-town Arkansas schoolmarm.

Young and impressionable, Lark mistakes a college professor’s interest for romantic love. When he offers her the chance to join his efforts to start a school in Kenya, she pictures herself bringing the light of knowledge to hundreds of African children eager to learn. But the menial tasks she’s assigned at the school aren’t so different from life on the farm where she grew up. Miserable and deflated, with her fragile heart broken, she gives up and returns home.

Enter Professor Anson Schafer, whom she met briefly in Kenya. Partially blinded from an eye infection he contracted there, Professor Schafer cannot return to Africa. He has come to Lark’s school to recruit teachers like her for a more modest venture—the founding of schools and relief efforts here in the U.S. for those struggling through the Depression.

Still stinging from her experience in Kenya, Lark is reluctant to risk leaving her familiar surroundings, but she knows how great the need has become, and—although this isn’t the exciting life she’d envisioned—she finally agrees. As they work side by side, Lark begins to realize that the deepest satisfaction comes not so much from what you do, or where you do it, but from the attitude of your heart. 

Author Bio

Myra Johnson’s roots are deep in Texas, but she now enjoys living amid the scenic beauty of North Carolina. Her debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas, was a delight to readers and revealed an intriguing new voice in Christian fiction. The author of more than a dozen novels, she is a two-time finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award, and the winner in the historical fiction category of Christian Retailing. She and her husband, Jack, have two married daughters and seven grandchildren.

Product Reviews

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Meets Expectations:
3.3 out Of 5
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  1. Cleveland, Texas
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Step into the Great Depression
    November 22, 2016
    Its About Time Mamaw
    Cleveland, Texas
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Larkspur Linwood has dreams of becoming a teacher. Even though they are still suffering from the Great Depression she is able to go to college for her teachers degree. Thanks to a wonderful couple she had a job at their store, along with a room to rent to help offset her expenses. She received funds from her sister for pay her college tuition. It looks like all was going well for her.Larkspur catches the attention of her Professor due to her dedication and grades. He is handsome and has a way with words which creates new feelings in Larkspur beyond teacher student admiration.He offers her and a couple of other women a chance of a lifetime adventure which would advance their teaching skills. This adventure will be taking them to Kenya, Africa to a missionary school under the tutelage of a Professor Schafer.Schafer was highly overworked and sadly had a disease which was taking his eyesight. He was very kind and handsome but different than her Professor from the college. After finding her relationship with her college Professor was not reciprocated she felt nave and became depressed then decided to return home to the disappointment of the Kenya Professor.Professor Schafer ends up having to go to the States hoping he was leaving his Kenya school in capable hands. While he is in the States he decides with the help of a colleague to start a missionary school for the farmer's children whom were without schooling. He gets in touch with Larkspur in hopes of recruiting her as a teacher since she had not returned to college. Reluctantly she agrees to help.Schafer and Larkspur slowly but surely to find a attraction and respect for each other. But Larkspur was as resistant as Schafer to feed into any romantic feelings due to her trust issues and his health issues.Will they get past their issues in this Great Depression and the ever growing problem of bigotry among parents of potential students..I loved this story remembering stories my mother and grandparents shared with me about their lives during the Great Depression. The names of the characters were right on for that era. When I was small I remember in the early 50's the attire my grandparents and great grandparents wore was still very similar to that worn during the Great Depression.This author did an amazing job with this novel. I felt the hurt and the joy of the characters as I put myself in their place with in my minds eye as I read the book.Thanks Myra Johnson!I highly recommend this book.I rated this book a 5 out of 5.Disclosure: I received a free digital copy of this book from Franciscan Media via NetGalley for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review it is my own opinion.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Faith, love and dreams - Castle in the Clouds is lofty with a good dose of reality.
    November 11, 2016
    Just Commonly
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    "But if you're too focused on falling, it isn't a leap of faith at all, is it?" (66)

    Where does one begin with a story as compelling, yet soft and cuddly as Castles in the Clouds by Myra Johnson. This being the second book of Flowers of Eden series, I'm more than mesmerized by the cover - for this one, and book 1 , The Sweetest Rain. I have yet the chance to pick it up, but I will. I will and I must, because after reading Castles, I need to read Bryony and Michael's story. Castles in the Clouds is about having a leap of faith in love and in life, in the injustices, as well as the things that are beyond our control. Having set in the 1930s, during the Great Depression era, there are plenty of obstacles that come their way as they try to bring education to the masses. Not only financial, but also the burdens of discrimination that have yet to resolve by then. The author have done a marvelously convincing job in weaving in the historical facts of the times as well as her experience with missionary work, overseas and at home in the US. She writes with such grace in capturing your heart piece by piece, progressively until the end, where your heart can't help but care for these characters, their stories, as well as the sorrow of reality. As the last page turns, I wish I had the next book in the series right in my lap. I would just jump right in and continue onto Rosie's story. Not only Rosie's story, but I want to see how the author continues on with Eden as it faces what we know of the backdrop of history.

    In the romance department, I liked how Lark and Anson's story was gradual, and the part where we read each of their hesitations and denial. A great counter of realism to the idealism of both characters for continued education, the Schaefer School and society. Yes, Lark and Anson's story was great, but I'm already particularly fond of what I read between Rosie and Caleb. They add in a slight humor that I can't wait to explore further in the next book.

    The Linwood girls, Bryony, Lark and Rosie are females of "strength, courage and stubbornness" just as Caleb said about Rosie. I can tell you that that speaks of Myra Johnson as a writer, and Castles in the Clouds as a book. I'm sure you understand where the strength and the courage are from. As to stubbornness, it is the innate ability of the book to fully seize your heart and mind as you read it. As to the author, her stubbornness resides in the fact that I personally think every author have that quality to present the best of each specific story to readers, and she's done just that with Castle in the Clouds.

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Emotionally gripping read
    September 13, 2016
    Kav
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Book Two of the Flowers of Eden series is just as scrumptious as Book One! Johnson creates such memorable characters that I easily slipped back into life with the Linwood family even though it's been a year since we last met up (The Sweetest Rain, c2015.) I was quickly immersed in rural Arkansas, circa 1932, eager to catch up with Bryony, Lark and Rose. However, I think Castles in the Clouds would read fine as a standalone novel so do not despair if you missed the first book. There is some carry over with setting and characters but each book focuses on one of the sisters, so you do get a complete story.

    It's hard to be the girl building castles in the clouds during the Great Depression. Lark's an interesting mix of naivete and determination. She doesn't always understand the full consequences of her actions but she works her way through every obstacle -- even the self-made ones. Talk about resilient! And while her family doesn't always understand her, they do support her. The Linwoods are a scrappy little family with big hearts and deep faith. There's something a wee bit Waltonish about them. I keep picturing Grandpa Walton in the role of Grandpa Linwood. :-)

    Anson and Lark's love story is fraught with complications that seem insurmountable at times. Both ignore instant attraction in favour of professional courtesy. At least, that's what they tell themselves -- mostly they are both just running scared. But as their lives intertwine emotions become charged and a happily ever after seems inevitable...until it doesn't. Gotta love an author who keeps a reader on her toes.

    I love the challenges and contrasts this time period brings to the story. The historically accurate portrayal doesn't always make it palatable and the realism blindsided me in places. There are big issues that don't get wrapped up in a neat little bow like racism and poverty and the drought. But all that makes for an emotionally gripping read...the exact kind I like to savor.
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