Home should be the place you run to for shelter from the world, but what if the family members who should love and protect you are the ones who have hurt you the most?
Johnnie Alexander — A Stranger Comes to Springlight
Brenda S. Anderson — Hot Cocoa Summers
Eleanor Bertin — Grounded
Sara Davison — Ten Bottles of Sand
Deb Elkink — Blue Genes
Stacy Monson — A Summer of Reckoning
Marion Ueckermann — In an English Vintage Garden
When trust is shattered between brothers and sisters, parents and children, or husbands and wives, will God bless their tentative steps back to each other by healing and restoring the most important relationships in their lives?
I love that this short story collection is about the importance of home and that lives and relationships can be healed by God. It was interesting to see the different moods these excellent authors created with their different writing styles. Reading Before Summer’s End will give you hope for your own family. It did for me!
Grounded by Eleanor Bertin
Nothing good can come of Lissa’s new life plan but she squelches the warnings of her conscience until a worldwide calamity sends her to her room to think about what she’s done.
Lissa finds herself alone during the Covid19 pandemic. She left her husband and two children leaves husband and two children to live on her own. She had hoped to create a new relationship with her boss but that ended when the quarantine began. Her job is locked down and she is stuck in her apartment alone with plenty of time to think about life choices.
This short story is complete with a very unexpected happy ending. I was impressed with the well thought out plot and emotional conclusion.
Ten Bottles of Sand by Sara Davison
Nancy Williamson has always lived her life according to her mother’s Four Keys to Success in the World—education, a career, careful financial planning, and a strict aversion to any kind of romantic entanglement. When she is unexpectedly fired from her job, for the first time in her life Nancy makes a spontaneous and completely frivolous decision. A decision that will change her life forever.
Wow! This novella took me on an emotional rollercoaster. The author’s careful use of details sets the vibe throughout the story. It starts with a melancholy lonesome feel and transforms gradually to a brighter joyful aura.
Both of the main characters had experienced trauma from their fathers’ choices. It was beautiful to see how God could heal them both in different ways. The rest of their family members were still unable to forgive or let go but there was hope that they could grow too.
When Nancy Williamson suddenly loses her job, she is unsure how to use her time. She is not in touch with her inner desires. Then a memory of a photo she saw once in a newspaper of Sunset Beach surfaces with forgotten desire to see the sunset in person. She leaves behind her monotonous life for a few days for a life changing vacation.
Nancy was unable to give up her carefully planned life despite meeting someone handsome and exciting. She returns from the beach to her lonely life and gets another safe but monotonous job. Another opportunity at a more fulfilling life comes when she begins exchanging letters with her new friend.
The Book of Ruth Ann
This reminded me of a time when I was dating my future husband. Clint had emailed me but the university changed all students’ passwords so I didn’t read it until I got a new password several months later. I was excited to see his email. He jokingly wondered if aliens had abducted me. We began dating again after our communications were restored.
There are a lot of great reasons to read this story. I enjoyed reading about the characters overcoming fears, letting go of control and need for internal safety, forgiving, and allowing other people in to their heart. It ended sweetly and then there was the epilogue. It completed the metaphor but was a complete surprise.
A Summer of Reckoning by Stacy Monson
Dawson Dunne has been stuck in the angst of his late teen years—with a long rap sheet that highlights his many bad decisions. A last-chance offer from the judge sends him to Outlook Adventure Camp where he learns there’s far more to life than poor choices and jail cells. But is he brave enough to reach out and grab it?
~ Prequel to When Mountains Sing and Mountaintop Christmas
Dawson doesn’t believe he can change because ‘he is his father’s son’ and doomed to follow his example. This was surprising to me because I don’t believe we are doomed in life to misery. I loved that he had so many people who believed in the goodness they could see in him. Their influence helped him get another chance.
I like hiking in the mountains though we don’t do it often. It was almost like a vacation in the mountains reading about Dawson’s trip. I am very glad that I’ve never experienced some of the things he did.
As a prequel, it interested me in reading the other two books Dawson is in.
Get a copy of Before Summer’s End:
About Eleanor Bertin
In a fit of optimism at age eleven, Eleanor Bertin began her first novel by numbering a stack of 100 pages. Two of them got filled with words. Lifelines, her first completed novel, was published in 2016, followed by Pall of Silence in 2017, a memoir about her late son Paul.
She holds a college diploma in Communications and worked in agriculture journalism until the birth of her first child. The family eventually grew to include one daughter and six sons (the youngest with Down syndrome) whom she home-educated for 25 years.
Eleanor grew up on a Manitoba farm, spent 20 years in cities and towns, and in the past 16 years has come full circle to embrace country life again. She lives with her husband and youngest son, Timothy, amidst the ongoing renovation of a century home in central Alberta where she reads, writes, sweeps up construction rubble and blogs about a sometimes elusive contentment at jewelofcontentment.wordpress.com.
About Sara Davison
Sara Davison is the author of three romantic suspense series, The Seven Trilogy, The Night Guardians, and The Rose Tattoo Trilogy. She has been a finalist for ten national writing awards, including Best New Canadian Christian author, a Carol, a Selah, and two Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery/ Suspense. She is a Word and Cascade Award winner. She currently resides in Ontario, Canada with her husband Michael and their three children, all of whom she (literally) looks up to.
Get to know Sara better at www.saradavison.org and @sarajdavison.
About Stacy Monson
Stacy Monson is the award-winning author of When Mountains Sing, Open Circle, and The Chain of Lakes series including Shattered Image, Dance of Grace, and The Color of Truth. Her stories reveal an extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. A member of The Mosaic Collection, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the MN Christian Writers Guild (MCWG), Stacy is the past president of ACFW MN-NICE, and is the Events Director for MN Christian Writers Guild. Residing in the Twin Cities, she is the wife of a juggling, unicycling retired physical education teacher, mom to two amazing kids and two wonderful in-law kids, and a very proud grandma.
Please visit Stacy’s website for more of her books and to subscribe to her newsletter: www.stacymonson.com