Chasing Lilacs
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FaithWords / 2010 / Paperback

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Chasing Lilacs

FaithWords / 2010 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW556552

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Product Description

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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: FaithWords
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.25 (inches)
ISBN: 0446556556
ISBN-13: 9780446556552

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Publisher's Description

It is the summer of 1958, and life in the small Texas community of Graham Camp should be simple and carefree. But not for twelve-year-old Sammie Tucker. Sammie has plenty of questions about her mother's "nerve" problems. About shock treatments. About whether her mother loves her.
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 California whose own troubles plague him, or her round-faced neighbor with gentle advice and strong shoulders to cry on. Then there's the elderly widower who seems nice but has his own dark past.
Trusting is one thing, but accepting the truth may be the hardest thing Sammie has ever done.

Author Bio

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.

Publisher's Weekly

Stewart’s 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 Presley–like 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 Sammie’s 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.

Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart follows the trials of a young girl, Sammie Tucker, in her hometown of Graham Camp, Texas. Set in 1958, Sammie’s 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 she’d 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 can’t 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. There’s 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,

Editorial Reviews

"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."—Publishers Weekly
"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."—Romantic Times
"Prepare to laugh, cry, and pray as you inhale each poignant word of this stunning debut novel. Simply unforgettable!"—Patti Lacy, author of An Irishwoman's Tale, 2008 Forward Magazine Book of the Year Finalist, and What the Bayou Saw
"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!"—Mary E. DeMuth, author of Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn
"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."—Janelle Mowery, author of Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho
"Stewart's book CHASING LILACS was a delightful read . . . It'll warm your heart."—Jodi Thomas

Product Reviews

4.8 Stars Out Of 5
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Meets Expectations:
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Displaying items 1-5 of 12
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  1. Carrie Turansky
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 18, 2010
    Carrie Turansky
    Carla Stewart's debut novel gives us a delightful look into life in Graham Camp, Texas, in the late 1950's. The main character, Sammie Tucker, is a young teenager who is facing some serious family struggles. Sammie's search to understand what's happening and how to deal with it is a riveting story that will stay in your heart long after you finish the last page. I will look forward to reading Carla Stewart's next book.
  2. Chanda Mercer
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    July 30, 2010
    Chanda Mercer
    I read this book on a vacation to Jamaica and couldn't put it down. I was on an emotional rollercoaster, but I loved this book. I look forward to reading more books by this writer!
  3. Heidi Main
    Cary, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    July 16, 2010
    Heidi Main
    Cary, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    I found this novel very emotional. The main character, Sammie, is a twelve year-old girl who is deep and thoughtful and has adult problems. Problems no kid should have to deal with, yet I think thats why, as a reader, I connected with Sammie.The very first chapter reeled me into the story. Those first few pages made the book and enticed me with the characters and the plot. Carla set the scenes nicely I felt like I was back in my own childhood, the same scents and touches that I remember from growing up. The chapters ended with a solid hook, urging me to continue to read. An awesome debut novel!
  4. Thirza Peevey
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    July 9, 2010
    Thirza Peevey
    I hesitate to review this one, as the author has been a friend for some years. When you review a friend, it is easy to be either too hard on them or too easy on them because of the friendship. But friend or no, this book completely knocked my socks off. I knew Carla could write, but I had no idea she could write like this. She had me in tears in the first ten pages. I was completely humbled by a gift for writing that could get you that completely invested in her characters that quickly, and keep you that invested right up until the last page. The problems Sammie faces make the book relevant for teens, but Carla's immense gift for drawing you into the life of the oil camp of the fifties makes it relevant for older folks as well. I suspect this one is going to be a classic, along the lines of To Kill a Mockingbird or Cold Sassy Tree, but without dipping into the same overused well of the post-reconstruction South. It wraps you in the same warm feeling of coming of age in a small community, well drawn characters and tight plot that delves into something that you possibly don't want to think about. Don't miss it. And if you have the chance to get Carla to sign it, don't miss that either. I suspect that autograph may be worth something in the future.
  5. Kim
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    June 23, 2010
    Its 1958, and in the corner of the Texas panhandle is a tiny town called Graham Camp. Sammie Tucker, not quite thirteen, is about to face some fierce storms in her life, and her entire world will never, ever be the same again. Chasing Lilacs is Carla Stewarts debut novel, and the bittersweet flavor of its story will linger in my heart for quite some time.There is something important about coming-of-age stories that reveal basic truths about the human condition. Sammie Tucker experiences more in the span on one year than any child should ever experience in a lifetime. Yet her resiliency is believable and her character is filled with a hunger for truth and substance that keeps her moving forward with purpose and hope. My heart ached for this child the entire story, and even now, after Ive read the final pages, Sammies character haunts me.Stewart creates a VERY realistic pre-teen, and her struggles are those of every child on the brink of adulthood. She is forced to deal with some very hard and painful situations within her family, and her childhood friends both help and hinder her as she navigates the tumult that surrounds her. There are even some unexpected plot twists that only serve to enhance this beloved story, and the ending is completely satisfying without tying things up too neatly.Chasing Lilacs gives me every reason to hope that we will be reading much more of Carla Stewarts writing. Young adults, and old adults alike will be touched and entertained by this wonderful debut novel!
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