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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
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.