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Number of Pages: 352
Publication Date: 2008
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
This complex and beautifully written story is the perfect conclusion to The Heart of Hollyhill series. With true-to-life family drama, refreshing humor, and characters readers have come to love like dear friends, Summer of Joy will delight Gabhart's fans.
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
memakfEphrata,PAAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Coming of Age in the late 60'sJuly 21, 2014memakfEphrata,PAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is a delightful story about a small southern town in the late 1960's. It features one family, but you get to meet many of the town inhabitants along the way. The family is not your typical family, although anyone can find something in common with them as they stumble through life's lessons. The main character is a teenage girl who has lots of ups and downs as most young teenagers do! She is very lovable and endearing and I just wanted to be able to meet her in person to give her a hug! There is plenty of controversy throughout the story to keep you reading and yet it all seems so "normal" in the day to day living of life. There are lessons to learn along with Jocie as well as lots of laughter and tears. I would recommend this book for many ages - especially young teenagers feeling like life is just too hard at times. I hope we get to revisit this little town in future stories as it captured my heart and devotion.
Christianfictionaddiction5 Stars Out Of 5The characters will steal your heart away!June 27, 2014ChristianfictionaddictionQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The lovable Jocie Brooke and her quirky cast of family and friends return for a final time in the heartwarming third book of the Heart of Hollyhill series, "Summer of Joy". The book starts off at a bit of a slow burn, easing readers back into Jocie's world and the ups and downs of her life. But while at first the book seemed set at a slower pace than the first two in the series, I soon became wrapped up again in the drama of the character's lives. I really enjoyed watching Jocie mature over the course of the book and the whole series as she deepens her understanding of who God is and what her place in the world will be. Though her actions are occasionally misguided, her heart is in the right place. So as "Summer of Joy" progressed, I felt quite the righteous indignation when she began being bullied by her teacher no less! Her heart of forgiveness is inspiring to see, both for her teacher and later her mother, and I was reminded how children can so often set the example for those in the older generations! The flourishing romance between Jocie's dad and with Leigh provides for many lighthearted but also tender moments, and I am certain readers will be pleased with the eventual outcome. This third novel throws a bit of mystery and suspense into the mix, and I really liked how Gabhart handled those scenes as well, with a building sense of unease that permeates the pages. All in all, this final book brought everything full circle, yet left me longing for more of Jocie's story. Will there perhaps be another novel? Maybe. Or perhaps we will be left to imagine who Jocie grows up to be and what the future holds for her and her family.
This book and indeed the whole series will remain on my heart long after they have been placed on their permanent place on my shelves. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Amy CVAAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Fun and NostalgicApril 15, 2014Amy CVAAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Summer of Joy continues the story of Jocie and her family. This book covers Jocie's freshman year in high school. I love Jocie even more in every book I read in this series. I really hope this isn't the final book. I was a little disappointed that Noah and his family were a little neglected in this book when they were a big part of Orchards of Hope. Other than that, I loved every bit of this book. It's fun, sweet, nostalgic and even a little suspenseful.
I love love love this book and really enjoy Ann H Gabhart's writing style in this series.
mom2boys3 Stars Out Of 5Summer of JoyApril 5, 2014mom2boysQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3Summer of Joy is an easy read with fairly predictable twists and turns. I enjoyed the book, but didn't find that the characters held much interest for me. I found the storyline to be somewhat predictable, but pleasant overall. I would have liked to have had more closure for the character of DeeDee. Maybe there are plans for a sequel which will provide more detail about DeeDee after Summer of Joy?
This book was the third in a series. Maybe if I had read the first two books I would have enjoyed this book more and it would have held my interest better.
Fitzysmom4 Stars Out Of 5March 31, 2014FitzysmomSummer of Joy takes us back to rural Hollyhill, Kentucky in the mid 1960's during a turbulent time in our nation's history. The characters that we have come to know and love in the previous two novels are all back. What seems to be a time of joy for the Brooke family comes to a startling halt with the arrival of a person they all thought was long gone.
Ms. Gabhart has done a beautiful job of showing us that family isn't always blood relation. Sometimes family is comprised of those that are related by heart. I enjoyed seeing how each of the members of this family let love and forgiveness shine the light of Christ to those around them.
I suppose that this could technically be classified as a stand alone novel, but I wouldn't personally recommend it that way. There is so much rich history that goes into the complete story that I think you will miss out if you limit yourself to only reading this novel. In my opinion you really should treat yourself and read the whole series in order. It is a wonderful piece of literature that captures the angst and innocence of the timeframe.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Located in: Lawrenceburg, KY
Submitted: December 05, 2008
Tell us a little about yourself. I've been writing ever since I realized some person was responsible for the words in the books I loved. I'm a country girl who still lives on a farm in Kentucky. I'm a wife and mom and grandmom. And I always want to have a dog to go on walks with me.
What was your motivation behind this project? Summer of Joy is the third book about Jocie and her family and friends in Hollyhill, Kentucky. In this book, I wanted to show the joy of life and how a family isn't always limited to the people with the same last name.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? I want them to recognize the joy in their lives and to feel blessed to have people to love and who love them back.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? I really enjoyed writing about Jocie and her family. I based a lot of the setting background on the small town where I grew up as it was in the sixties, the time period of my Hollyhill books. So it was fun sifting through my memories so I could get a Small Town Main Street just right.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? I love to read. I come from a reading family, so books have certainly been an inspiration to me. I had a wonderful high school librarian, Nancy Smith who helped introduce me to the classics. Then another great librarian, Ann McWilliams was a great cheerleader and help with my researching when I began writing years ago.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: My goal when I'm writing is to tell the stories of characters who will come to life in my readers' minds. It takes more than a writer to make a story work. It takes a reader to imagine what the writer has written.