4 Stars Out Of 5
Nice start to a new series for mature audiences
October 22, 2013
Before the Dawn is the first book in Guideposts' new Home to Heather Creek Series. We're introduced to a family and a difficult situation: Charlotte and Bob are nearing their retirement years on their Midwestern farm, when their lives are suddenly turned upside down by the death of their daughter Denise, the rebel who left home as a teenager. In the succeeding years, Denise moved to San Diego, married, had three children, now 16, 14 and 10, and divorced, but hadn't let her parents into her life beyond stilted phone conversations. Now her three city-reared children are thrust into a totally foreign lifestyle on a farm with grandparents they don't know, away from their friends and cell phone towers.
Charlotte struggles to reach these kids from a generation she doesn't understand, while trying to teach them how to fit into the "everyone helps" lifestyle of a farm. She hides her grief over losing her daughter, while wondering what she did wrong with Denise and what she must do differently now. Bob, as could be typical with men of his generation, closes down, and thinks that demanding obedience will be enough to get the kids in line. The kids struggle with the loss of their mother, their electronics, their friends, and the loss of life as they knew it, and make secret plans that one day they will return to San Diego. Everything is made more difficult by the lack of communication between the generations, as each person hides their grief and no one talks about Denise.
The various people in this story are very believable, and the situations are often rather humorous (in a Green Acres kind of way!) I found myself relating to Charlotte's struggles, as she was caught between keeping everything status quo for her husband and adapting the routine to better fit her grandchildren's needs. She learns to depend on her friends and her Savior and to rejoice in the small victories along the way.
In Sweet September, the second book of the series, the family continues to grow into a unit, but challenges still abound. A plundered vegetable garden creates a mystery that helps a family to pull together. The Slater children are beginning to be a part of the whole community and finding that country living isn't so bad after all. Better connections in the family result, and even Bob starts to bond with his grandchildren and relate better to his grown son.
I enjoyed these books. In a time when many grandparents suddenly find themselves in a parenting role, the writing team that is Kathleen Bauer tackled the difficulties and triumphs in a very realistic way. Although the stories are not filled with deep suspense or complicated plotlines, they are entertaining and thought-provoking. Good for when you want a cozy read!