Summer of Joy - Ann H. Gabhart (Christian)
Released February 2008
At heart, I did enjoy Summer of Joy. Big snowstorm that I didn't want to hit arrived in full force yesterday and knocked out power periodically, so I was the mood for some summer and figured, given the title, that it might make me thing of warm sunny days.
This is the third book in the Hollyhill series. This time Reverend David Brooke is trying to muster the courage to ask his younger girlfriend to marry him. While he struggles with their age difference, Leigh dreams that he'll finally ask but isn't sure she's ready to tackle her parents who disapprove of his age.
There are also a few sub-plots. A new stranger in town is about to change the lives of a number of townspeople. A long lost resident returns at the wrong time. And, finally, a new teacher proves to be more than David's daughter and Leigh can bear.
All in all, this wasn't a bad book. My issue with it was that the arrival of the stranger fit well into the story. The return of a former town resident felt rushed. Then the conflict with the new teacher, I'm not sure that really was necessary to the story line. While it did create some tension, I think the book would have been perfectly fine without even introducing him.
Maybe I felt out of place because I hadn't read both of the previous stories causing me to lose out on some background. Others have said Summer of Joy works well as a stand-alone, but I guess I found myself wondering about things that appear to have happened in the other two books making me question if the series would be better read in order.