4 out of 5 stars
SUMMER OF JOY by Ann H. Gabhart is a unique book that touches on several genres. From small town life, to divorce, to the feeling of failure, to forgiveness, to romance, even a touch of suspense, SUMMER OF JOY was definitely an interesting read.
Jocie Brooke is a child of optimism. Though she’s already experienced heartbreak at a young age, she refuses to allow the negative circumstances in life to get her down. Since her mother left town when she was younger, Jocie has been fiercely protective of her father. When her sister returns to town unmarried, with an infant on her hip, Jocie again chooses to look at the good not the bad. Knowing her father is on the verge of a proposal, Jocie couldn’t be happier, feeling like her family has turned a corner and only the best is yet to come. Though Leigh is several years younger than her father, she definitely meets with Jocie’s approval. But, trouble is ahead that none of them could’ve imagine.
SUMMER OF JOY has a bevy of secondary characters that are closely intertwined with Jocie, leading to various storylines. There is Wes, Jocie’s grandfather figure that claims to be from Jupiter, Zella, a quirky character that assists at the newspaper Jocie’s father produces when he’s not in the pulpit, to Mr. Hammond, her creepy teacher that uses intimidation tactics on her while having a warped sense of connection with Leigh.
All these and more make SUMMER OF JOY a story that celebrates the fact that all families have a sense of dysfunction. But, from that dysfunction comes the things that bond and unite a family together.
Though this was book three in The Heart of Hollyhill series, I was able to read it as a standalone novel without feeling like I was missing out on something. There are a few references to things that probably took place in book one and two, but it did not detract from or confuse my while reading SUMMER OF JOY.
This book is a re-release from 2008
Book provided for review purposes.