Summer of Joy by Ann H. Gabhart {book review}


Summer of Joy is the third in The Heart of Hollyhill series by Ann H. Gabhart, following Scent of Lilacs and Orchard of Hope.

Summer Joy

Summary: 

The summer of 1964 certainly was eventful, but it’s nothing compared to what’s coming to the Brooke family and to Hollyhill, Kentucky. David finally gets up the nerve to pop the question to Leigh and wedding plans are in the making.

But the past is coming to call on many in Hollyhill, threatening to destroy the relationships that everyone thought were so strong. Two people–one David thought was gone for good and the other no one’s ever heard of–are making their way to the small town and promise trouble.


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.

AGabhartAbout the Author:

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing.

Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009.

Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl.

This is my Goodreads review.

Summer of Joy: A NovelSummer of Joy: A Novel by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Public library copy. I read a paperback edition with this cover. This is the third in the Hollyhill series, the first two being Scent of Lilacs and Orchard of Hope, both of which I have read and loved. The books do stand alone, but are wonderful read together in order as a series. I read Summer of Joy immediately after Orchard of Hope, which flows seamlessly from one to the next.

Definitely a 5-star book! Until the ending, but I generously gave it the full 5-star rating. I do love this form of storytelling which Ann H. Gabhart does effortlessly. This story carries the reader along at such a rate, and puts the reader right there in Hollyhill, Kentucky with Jocie, David, Leigh, Wes and baby Stephen Lee. I wish the series would continue on with the various threads of these characters’ lives. Perhaps that is why the ending was difficult (not the very end, but the drama right before the end).

What I love most, beside the characterization which is fabulous, is the thread of faith in Almighty God in the personal walk through everyday trials of life. The presentation of Scripture is so natural and teaches the reader how it may be applied in their own life, without preaching. Yes, David is a preacher, but this book/series does not preach to the reader. Its characters teach their talk by their walk. That is good writing!

This book has some not-so-likable characters and some twists and turns in the plot which the reader may disagree with. But that is the author’s privilege, and makes the book all the more interactive for the reader, making them think. I highly recommend this book and the Hollyhill series. If you’ve never been to Kentucky this is your free ticket! Enjoy. Thanks Ann, for taking me to Hollyhill and introducing me to Jocie’s family!

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Orchard of Hope by Ann H. Gabhart {book review}


Orchard of Hope by Ann H. Gabhart {book review}

Orchard of Hope is the second in The Heart of Hollyhill series by Ann H. Gabhart, between  Scent of Lilacs and Summer of Joy.

Orchard of HopeSummary:

Nothing will be the same after the summer of 1964. Drought has gripped the quiet Kentucky town of Hollyhill, and the town seems as if it is holding its breath–waiting.

Jocie Brooke is nervous about starting high school. Her sister Tabitha is experiencing the weariness of waiting for a new baby. Her father David is feeling the timidity of those first steps toward true love. All of these pivotal steps in life are awaiting the Brooke family.

Into this cloud of tense anticipation, the Hearndons move their family from Chicago to plant an orchard outside of town. Fresh off the Freedom Train, Myra Hearndon is sensitive to what the color of her skin may mean in a Southern town. Her family will have to contend with more than the dry ground and blazing sun as they try to create their orchard of hope.

In this close-knit community, everything is about to change. Let this riveting novel take you along to experience unexpected love, new life, and renewed faith amid life’s trials.

About the Author:

AGabhart

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing.

Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009.

Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl.

My Goodreads Review:

Orchard of Hope: A NovelOrchard of Hope: A Novel by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Public library copy. I read a paperback edition with this cover. This is the second in the Hollyhill series. I read the first, Scent of Lilacs, last year. I plan to read the third, Summer of Joy, immediately after Orchard of Hope.

I just love the author’s style of writing in this series. I love the character of Jocie, who is central to the series, along with her father, David, the preacher. There are plenty of other characters to keep the story moving along, and enough action to keep the reader from nodding off. This second book is long, not a quick read, but compelling reading.

If you are looking for a book where faith is demonstrated in daily living, this is it. There are characters who believe strongly in the sovereignty of God, characters who do not, and characters who struggle to accept it. It is wonderful to read such in-depth insight into the hearts of these characters.

Ann H. Gabhart’s writing consistently puts the reader right on the page, in Hollyhill, by her descriptive writing. Historically this book is set in Kentucky during the Civil Rights movement. While Civil Rights is not central to the story, it does play a strong part, and parallels the theme of forgiveness. There are many relationships in the book with which the reader may identify. I was particularly drawn to Miss Sally and Leigh.

I highly recommend this book and the Hollyhill series without reservation. Excellent writing, clean, and glorifying to God.

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Scent of Lilacs by Ann H. Gabhart {book review}


Scent of Lilacs by Ann H. Gabhart {book review}

Scent of Lilacs is the first in The Heart of Hollyhill series, followed by Orchard of Hope and Summer of Joy.

Scent of Lilacs

Summary:

Life-changing events rarely happen here, and when they do, they are few and far between. But for Jocie Brooke and her family, they happen all at once. Jocie has questions that need answers.

As she digs into her family’s past, she finds a whirlwind of discoveries, and everything begins to change. In the end, will Jocie find the answers everyone so desperately needs, or will her questions lead to truths that were better left uncovered?

Combining unforgettable characters, true-to-life struggles, and the perfect dose of humor and nostalgia, this riveting story takes readers through the universal experiences of true love, new life, and renewed faith. With a beautiful new cover, “Scent of Lilacs” is poised to capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

About the Author:

AGabhart

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing.

Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009.

Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl.

My Goodreads Review:

The Scent of Lilacs (The Heart of Hollyhill #1)

 

The Scent of Lilacs by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Library copy.

There were two things of which I am unsure. One is the title. I know where it came from, but I’m not sure I like it. Not a big deal. The other, which also is inconsequential, is that the story took place in the summer of 1964. Maybe because I remember that year it seemed timeless to me, which is fine.

I loved this book, all the way through. There are multiple points of view, but it is so well written that I didn’t mind. Mostly it was the girl, Jocie, and her father. It’s about relationships with people and with God, about telling the truth, and prayer. It is laced with humor, mostly from the young girl. It is loaded with emotion, skimps on the romantic, and centered on those things which really matter, in my heart at any rate. There is almost an element of coming-of-age to it as well, but not quite.

Get your tissues out and enjoy this great read! It’s a hard one to put down.

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