Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Sweethaven Homecoming

Title:  A Sweethaven Homecoming
Author:  Courtney Walsh
Pages:  324
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Guideposts
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988
                What a great book!  Courtney Walsh has done a fantastic job of telling the story of five friends and the summer they spend in the small town of Sweethaven.  The author develops these characters so that the reader feels right along with the characters when something happens.
                Meghan is a country music star, recovering alcoholic, divorced mother.  She heads home to Sweethaven when she thinks her ex-husband is trying to gain full custody of their children.  However, Meghan still has much guilt and shame for events from her past that still haunt her and play a part in how she acts and reacts in various situations.  Sometimes she feels the best way to protect her kids is to stay away from them because she is such a bad mother in her eyes.  Her best friend hasn’t spoken to her in six years, and won’t forgive Meghan for the past.  Can anyone love her just as she is?
                Campbell is a young woman who comes to Sweethaven filled with dreams of the perfect summer of spending time with her boyfriend, Luke, who is also Meghan’s brother, scrapbooking with her mother’s friends, and sunning at the beach.  However, when she arrives in Sweethaven, she finds things don’t turn out the way she had them planned.  Her mother has died, and she only knows her father by name.  She hopes to spend time with him in Sweethaven.  Will she be able to build a relationship with her grandfather, who disowned his daughter when she became pregnant with Campbell out of wedlock?  Why is Luke so preoccupied and not spending any time with her?  Does she have a future in Sweethaven?
                Adele is Meghan’s mother and had been good friends with Campbell’s mother.  She and her daughter have a very strained relationship.  Adele wants to repair that relationship, but seems to always say just the wrong thing to push her daughter further away.  She does begin to build a close relationship with Meghan’s two children, and begins to repair her relationship with Meghan’s ex-husband, who has the kids full-time.  She finally asks God to heal their relationship as she has been unable to do it on her own.
                Lila is also a friend of all these ladies.  She has a cruel mother and philandering father.  She finds out devastating news about something her husband has done in the distant past.  She separates from him and files for divorce.  Her husband doesn’t want a divorce and follows her back to Sweethaven where Lila’s parents of a summer house.  Lila doesn’t think she will ever be able to trust him again and that he doesn’t deserve to be married to her.  Her husband isn’t giving up on their marriage without a fight.  Can they reconcile?
                Jane is married to a pastor.  She was best friends with Meghan, but now that relationship is destroyed because of the past.  Can they ever be friends again?  Jane begins a Bible study with scrapbooking/journaling/prayer books as part of healing or working through emotions.  Will her students see through her façade of having it all together?  Can she ever forgive Meghan or will she hang on to her bitterness?
                Each of these characters, as well as the supporting cast, deal with the issues of guilt, shame, regret, bitterness, mercy, love, forgiveness, and other emotions.  Kudos to Courtney Walsh for writing a very entertaining novel for readers to enjoy.  Get this book to see how all these relationships work out and discover what it means to come home.
My rating is 4.5 stars.

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