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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2008
This complex and well-written story is the perfect conclusion to the Hollyhill story. With true-to-life family drama, refreshing humor, and lovable characters, Summer of Joy will delight readers.
Set in a small Kentucky town in the 1960s, Summer of Joy uses the perspectives of different characters to tell the story. However, it stays in third person, so the reader-character connection has a mediator and is not completely personal. The relationships between characters are very strong. Jocie is very close to her father and to Wes, whom she claims as her adopted grandfather. Leigh becomes more closely attached to the Brooke family throughout the novel, as her relationship with David becomes more serious. Old connections with different characters cause several of the conflicts within the story. Leighs parents, Davids ex-wife, and Wesleys grandson cause worry and tension that may or may not be necessary. The novel is mostly slow-paced until the very end, and much of it is spent recalling the events and effects of the past.
David Brooke is a preacher and newspaper editor in the small town of Hollyhill. His family is loved by his congregation and the rest of the town, but they are not without their problems. Once David finally works up the courage to ask Leigh to marry him, an obsessed secret admirer causes trouble for Leigh, David, and Jocie. Leighs parents are not too thrilled about their daughter getting married. Across the country, Adrienne, Davids ex-wife, is dying of breast cancer and must decide what to do with her last days. Zella, who works at the newspaper with David, reaps the consequences of nosily digging into Wesleys past when his grandson shows up at her door. Davids other daughter, Tabitha, is an unwed mother who is likely to face discrimination because of the ethnicity of her baby.
David Brooke is a wise, much-loved man with a wonderful family and many friends. He is greatly respected in the community, and he gives great advice and encouragement. He tries to live as God wants him to. However, David is insecure about himself and is afraid that he is too old for Leigh and that there is no way she could love someone like him. Ironically, Leigh is insecure about her appearance and is afraid that there is no way David could love someone like her. Jocie is a confident, joyful freshman in high school, who has a knack for writing and prayer. Being abandoned by her mother when she was young left her with emotional scars and insecurities of her own. Wes is a new believer and an important part of the extended Brooke family. He is quirky and secretive about his past, but loving and caring.
Summer of Joy is an easy-to-read, light novel, full of Gods love being demonstrated through believers in their everyday lives. The title is misleading, because only the very last part of the book actually takes place in the summer. The plot is interesting, but not very surprising. Summer of Joy might be a good pick for older Christian adults, especially women. Laura Coulter, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com