It’s 1964 in Hollyhill, Kentucky, and the Brooke family’s lives are about to be rocked. They will learn lessons of love, forgiveness, grace and acceptance.
David Brooke, divorced dad of two and grandfather of one, is the editor of the local paper and pastor at Mt. Pleasant Church. He’s dating Leigh Jacobson, and worrying about how to take their relationship to the next step – marriage! Daughter Tabitha is the unwed mother to a biracial baby (which at times can be an issue in 1964 Kentucky), and Jocie is a precocious 14-year-old who is having a difficult time with her “creepy” English teacher, Edwin Hammond.
Jocie and Wes Green, the elderly press man at the paper, have a special relationship. He is her designated “grandpappy,” regaling her with tales of being from Jupiter. Some of his stories are absolutely hilarious. Ann Gabhart does a great job in interjecting these humorous and wacky bits into the novel.
But what secrets does Wes hide? And how does Zella Curtsinger, who also works at the paper, fit into revealing his past?
The return of David’s ex-wife, Adrienne, and the increasingly zany and erratic behavior of Jocie’s English teacher leads to a heart-pumping ending.
“Summer of Joy” is a sweet tale of the love and relationships between family and small town residents. Gabhart spreads a message of community and forgiveness and caring for others and sharing in life’s up and downs throughout her novel. It is reminiscent of the beloved “Mitford” series in both its style of storytelling and its character interaction.
Those who love stories of small town America and how its residents interact with one another will love this third installment in “The Heart of Hollyhill” series.
Four stars out of five.
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
-- “Summer of Joy” (The Heart of Hollyhill series, book 3)
by Ann H. Gabhart