About the books: When the world around you falls apart, could it be that God is giving you a second chance? This is just one of the questions on Charlotte Stevenson’s mind as she brings her three grandchildren to live on the family farm in Guidepost Books’ Home to Heather Creek series.
About Before the Dawn: Before the Dawn begins just one week after the funeral of Charlotte’s daughter, Denise. Denise’s three children barely have time to process the death of their mother before they must move to the Heather Creek Farm they have never visited with grandparents they barely know. At age 16, Sam is fiercely protective of his younger siblings. Emily is 14 and desperately misses her friends. Young Christopher is only 8 and just wants to fit in. While Charlotte tries to help her grandchildren adjust to their new life, she also wrestles with her own grief and the enormous task of bringing her family together. Bob believes the fastest path to adjustment is a firm routine, with structure and chores, the same way they raised their own kids. However, that route led to Denise running away from home as a teenager and an estranged relationship with her family. Charlotte is worried about making the same mistakes she made with Denise. Is this her chance to make things right?
It is spring when the children arrive, and as Charlotte looks around the farm, she hopes the new life around them will signify hope and healing. The miracle of new life, along with God’s healing touch, reminds all of them that it’s always darkest just before the dawn.
About Sweet September: Sweet September picks up at harvest time, as the children are settling into a new school year. While the harvest should be an exciting time, the children don’t seem to be getting into the spirit. Emily is struggling with farm life, Christopher spends most of his time alone, and Sam is failing school. Trying to learn from what did and didn’t work with her own kids, Charlotte is determined to get her grandchildren back on track.
As tenuous family bonds threaten to break apart, a mystery on the farm might be the one thing that can bond the family together. Charlotte sets out to uncover the truth, and as the kids unite to find answers, this cobbled-together family learns more about one another and the love that binds them together.
The lives of the Stevensons and their grandchildren unfold in this captivating story of the remarkable change that comes from the love of family, the kindness of others, sheer persistence and unshakable faith. As readers follow the Stevensons’ inspiring stories, it’s almost impossible not feel a part of this friendly, loving community, where God’s grace can be seen in every circumstance.
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These books were both a delightful read and I’m glad I read them in order and got to know the Stevensons’ grandchildren as they come to live with their grandparents and uncle after the death of their mom. Coming to live on a farm in Nebraska after living in California provides a huge wake up call to the children as they learn what being on a farm involves, there are no handouts and one must pitch in to help with the work around the farm. Of course, grandparents who aren’t used to having children underfoot have a huge eye opener too as they learn from their past mistakes from raising their own children as they raise their grandchildren.
Both books are endearing and charming – since it’s set in small town America – where everyone literally knows everyone and everyone’s business. Even though Charlotte is a grandma I can relate to her struggle in raising her grandchildren – wanting to do it on her own, wanting to set boundaries but yet wanting the children to also love her and the farm – it’s a fine line that this grandparent must walk. At first really the only child I liked was Christopher because he reminds me of my own son but Sam and Emily just rub me the wrong way in wanting to do what they want and pushing the limits, but as they both grow and stretch their boundaries they begin to fall in love with the farm, the life it gives and their Grandparents.
When I was done reading these books I was left with the feeling of leaving behind a good friend. I felt like I could walk in the Stevensons’ house and be welcomed with a hot cup of tea or a mug of hot chocolate and join in their conversation about farm and family life – but most of all their very real faith in the Lord. That showed through both of the books as I read them and one could see that even though they are fictional characters they truly wanted to honor, serve and love the Lord in all that they did, including raising their Grandchildren.
(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws
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