Absolutely LOVED this book!! The setting, the plot, the character development..everything!!! I actually cried about 3 different times and felt that for her first novel, Courtney Walsh was SPOT-ON!!! I felt like I was the fifth girlfriend watching all unfold from the sidelines! Also loved the touch of scrapbooking in the story line! Being a scrapbooker myself made the story more believable, real to me..thus the tears! I especially loved the character of Luke!! He was kind, considerate, apparently handsome but most of all sensitive to Campbell; without having to push himself out there.. I totally fell in love with him (I'm a hopeless romantic at heart). An awesome story of forgiveness and friendships!!.....so why are you still reading my review!?? Go and read this book already!! --and recommend it to all your friends..
Courtney Walsh in her new book "A Sweethaven Summer" Book One in The Sweethaven Series published by Guideposts brings us into the lives of four women in the town of Sweethaven, Michigan.
From the back cover: Campbell Carter has come to Sweethaven in search of answers about her mother's history.
Just before losing a battle with cancer, Suzanne Carter sent letters to childhood friends from her hometown of Sweethaven, Michigan. Suzanne's three friends Ã¢â¬â Lila, Jane, and Meghan Ã¢â¬â haven't spoken in years, yet each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together as girls. Suzanne's letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers.
As the scrapbook reveals secrets from the past, old wounds are mended, lives are changed, and friendships are restored Ã¢â¬â just as Suzanne intended.
The beach town of Sweethaven along the shore of Lake Michigan is the kind of place where everyone would want to live. Campbell has come there at her mother's request to talk but Suzanne died before Campbell could make it. In looking through her things she finds Suzanne's scrapbook and the Sweethaven Circle. Campbell communicates with the remaining three ladies who also return to Sweethaven. Then the mystery and God's healing begins. I like the name of the town it tells us that this place is not only a haven, a resting place, but a place that is also sweet. I was hooked right off the bat. Ms. Walsh has done an extraordinary job with the characters, I liked each and every one of them. This is a book about family and hope and healing and I liked this book a lot. I recommend this book highly and am looking forward to the next two books due out this year.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Wynn-Wynn Media for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I love it when you get the opportunity to review a debut novel because it's either going to introduce you to an great new author or will leave you disappointed. This novel, A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh is the introduction to a fabulous new author I can't wait for you to meet.
In this novel you are introduced immediately to Suzanne who is in the process of sharing a bombshell secret that she has been compiling for the last five years in a scrapbook/journal she created along with her three friends, Jane, Lila and Meghan. In it, each of them added photos, ticket stubs or notes scribbled on scratch paper that they had gathered every summer since the eighth grade. Would her secret taint those memories? Even though she called the three girls their best friends they didn't even know the secret she'd carried with her on the road out of town. The pages in front of her begged her to come clean, to tell the truth, after all this time.
In the pages of this scrapbook we learn that Jane hated her body, Lila painfully recounted her relationship with an indifferent mother and that Meg confided about being the only nondrinker at a high school party last summer. Confessions. They were all nice girls. All except Suzanne. But they weren't kids anymore - and even their darkest secrets didn't compare to the bombshell she was about to drop. - August 1987.
Now we find Campbell Carter who is Suzanne's daughter and is dealing with her mother's funeral. Little over a week ago, her mother called and asked her to come over to talk about somethings she needed to discuss. She could tell by her mother's tone that she was nearing the end of her struggle with cancer and was squaring things away. Only she would never get to know what she wanted to discuss because when she arrived home, she found her mother lying on the floor. She would never wake up and thus Campbell would be orphaned at 24. If only she could know what her mother wanted to tell her before she died. She wouldn't until she came across the scrapbook her mother and her friends made and that is where the story begins.
I received this heartwarming and charming novel compliments of Courtney Walsh for my honest review and have discovered a new treasure in Courtney's writing. You can't help but be swept away into the story and thus the reason for giving this debut novel a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. I can't wait for the next novel by this amazing and talent author.
What a treat this story was! At first I wasn't sure I would like this story because it sounded like it could be a bit of a downer, but wow, was I surprised at how much I loved it in the end. I wanted to read this novel every chance I could. I thought about the story even when I wasn't able to sit down, relax, and enjoy it. That's a good book...one that preoccupies my thoughts.
I loved how romantic it was on so many levels. Though each character had their own grief to deal with, it wasn't only about their pain. It was about how God uses the unexpected things in our lives to bless us. He took someone like Campbell, who felt alone in the world, and gave her a new family through new friendships and people who also tied her to her mother's history. I loved how the book ended. I totally adored Luke. I didn't want his heart broken any more than his momma did. Man, I adored that man. He was a great hero and I could see how even the hardest of hearts could melt under the warmth in his eyes.
The author did a fantastic job at making me care. She made each character seem like a friend, or at least someone I could easily know. Their happiness and their healing became a primary concern for me as the book veered toward a conclusion. Everything about this book was awesome. It even had a bit of mystery to it when it came to figuring out who her father really was. Great story! It's making my top fiction list for 2012.
'A Sweethaven Summer' by Courtney Walsh was a delightfully refreshing story, full of mystery ... and eventually forgiveness. I have to admit that I was drawn to this story initially because one of the main characters is named Suzanne and it mentioned scrapbooking in the promo text. While reading the story I found out the character and I shared a love for art, scrapbooking, and middle names too! But that's about where the direct similarities ended.
However, one of the overarching themes in the book is one I think most adults can relate to - the regret of not staying in touch with someone we were once close to. In the case of this story the main characters mother (Suzanne) has died suddenly and the three other young women pictured with her mother in numerous old scrapbook pages she finds in her mother's house are her only hope to finding out who her father is. What she discovers along the way to discovering her father will change her life for the better - in more ways than one!
This debut novel was an enjoyable discovery. I look forward to seeing what this new author writes next.
*This book was received from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (CFBA) for review.