When I read Ann Gabhart's Small Town Girl, I wanted to run away to Rosey Corner. I wanted to be a clerk at the store where Kate Merritt worked and to go possum hunting with my hound dog and to eat brown sugar pie with Birdie.
Now Ann Gabhart has given me another place for mental retreat, in Hollyhill. Oh how I wish I could move to Hollyhill, or transplant its good citizens to my town. There is an awesome cast of characters in Summer of Joy.
They are complete with loss, learning, loneliness, tenderness, new beginnings and happiness.
Zella, what a hoot she is! A reader of fantastically imaginative romance novels, with a flair for constructive meddling in her neighbors lives. She keeps the ship sailing and she knows that the town couldn't live without her.
Wes, oh dear Wes. May I adopt him as Grandfather the way Jocie did? I see why she attached herself to this soft-spoken, motorcycle riding, white-haired, zany-story-telling man. This book begins with Wes getting "dunked"- baptized in a nearly frozen Redbone river. He's so glad to be able to profess his faith that he doesn't even care if his ears freeze and fall off. And I loved his Jupiter stories.
And Jocie herself, our thoughtful and inquisitive girl who feels life with all its textures and absorbs it into her soul, then saves it with her words.
And Tabitha, Jocie's sister, who is mothering her precious baby son and helping Jocie understand the things that happen with the adults around them. Both girls are finding their path amidst 60's upheaval and family changes, and Iit is Tabitha who explains why their Father needs to remarry...
Which brings us to their father David and his love, Leigh. A good man with a sad first marriage and a dear woman, and they both feel like God crafted them perfectly to be with the other.
Ann Gabhart's novels are the comfort food of the book world: warm and rich and full and flavorful, and nourishing as well. Whether you pick up Angel Sister, Words Spoken True, or Summer of Joy, you're in for a great experience.
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.