"Some scars are written on the heart. You might not be able to see them but they're there."
After the death of her mother, Dusty Fairchild has always dreamed of going to college to study Geology, but her father, Flint Fairchild, self made owner of Fairchild Oil has other plans. He wants her to spend a year attending Miss Fontaine's Finishing School for Girls in East Texas. Dusty can't seem to understand how that will benefit her but she is willing to go as long as her childhood best friend and cousin, Paisley Finch is allowed to attend with her. Just how will young girls born and raised on a ranch fit in among the wealthy young women who will be their roommates for the year. Seems like things are about to get real interesting!
Amid learning about manners, etiquette, setting up social functions and parties, and learning French, Dusty and Paisley attempt to fit in as best as they can. But Paisley has spent her life living on a tour bus while her mother Edie has been searching for fame and fortune in the many nightclubs and bars they frequent. However, Paisley has been receiving far more attention from her mother's boyfriends than she could ever ask for and finds spending the year at Miss Fontaine's will be the break she is looking for. It provides stability and security she never had traveling on the road, never knowing where they would wake up next. She considers her life like that of a traveling gypsy.
As the year progresses and the girls begin making holiday plans, Dusty is anxious to get back to her father and the young banker, Jack she met before leaving. It is what every girl dreams of, falling in love with a handsome young man, who can provide stability for a future wife and family. She only hopes Jack feels the same way as she does after being away at school. Paisley on the other hand, has been invited by her roommate Alexandria to head to Houston in preparation for her engagement party and visiting the wealthy elite. It is a chance to see a side of life she has never seen before, if only she can find a way to fit in and not embarrass herself in the process. What she doesn't plan on is falling quite literally for Jack before she heads out for the winter break. How will she be able to manage her feelings for her cousin and her feelings for Jack?
I received Sweet Dreams by Carla Stewart compliments of Faith Words, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. This is a coming of age story of two young girls set in the 1960's in Texas. One from a life of influence and the other from a life of living on the road. While they can often times compliment one another, those very different qualities often create tension as Paisley attempts to fit in with the majority of the girls who come from affluent families. Paisley resists trying to be someone she isn't and it is something Dusty looks up to, her strength and determination to achieve what she wants in life. But for Paisley she isn't sure just what the future hold for her, where as Dusty struggles to gain the approval of her father to allow her the freedom to make her own choices regarding her future. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and it does contain a Reader's Discussion Guide for Book Clubs at the end of the novel.
"Sweet Dreams" by Carla Stewart is a novel set in 1962 in TX about two cousins who are best friends although their lifestyles are as different as night and day. You know when reading some books the characters are difficult to keep straight as to who they are and what they do? Not the case with "Sweet Dreams". Love the characters, the setting, and the story lines.Great character and plot development make this a hard-to-put-down book!! I have read and thoroughly enjoyed each of Ms. Stewart's 4 novels and recommend with great praise!
Carla Stewart's latest offering is a tender story crafted with splendid prose. Dusty Fairchild and her cousin, Paisley, are wonderfully unique characters who sparkle with life, making me laugh, smile, and experience heart-ache as they leave childhood behind and enter the sometimes murky waters of adulthood. I greatly enjoyed the time period that this novel is set in, the early 1960's, providing a great backdrop not only for the main story, but also for the other characters that grace the pages. Carla Stewart's novel explores themes of racism and classism, of young girls learning to embrace their God-given gifts and talents rather than letting society dictate what they can and cannot do. The faith elements of the story were a bit lighter than I expected; instead the author offers a more subtle message about grace and forgiveness that points to the giver of grace Himself. All in all, I found the story to be enjoyable from start to finish despite a couple of slower moments to the story. I leave the story reminded that the way things appear on the surface are often so very different than reality, and that we should never judge someone without knowing all that they have experienced in their life. This is a valuable lesson indeed.
I am certainly looking forward to what Stewart has next up her sleeve! I strongly recommend this fiction novel and award it 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Faithwords, a division of Hachette Book Group, for the purposes of this unbiased review.