Title: Scent of Lilacs (The Heart of Hollyhill Book #1)
Author: Ann H. Gabhart
I don’t remember the first time I read and reviewed this novel, but with the opportunity of being able to read the third book in the series I decided to reread the series. Sometimes when first we read a book certain characters, places or scenes stand out to us. Now, here I am, some time away from the first reading of the novel. Having read it again, I have an appreciation for the myriad of ways the author is communicating God’s never ending love.
David is a divorcé with two daughters, though one daughter is living with his ex somewhere along the West Coast. During the wee hours of the morning, David gets up to an empty house because his wife left him along with taking their first daughter. Now, the youngest, Jocie, is raised by her father and her grandmother with an aunt eventually moving in with them.
Most of what is shown in the novel is the faith in the reality of God, even during our darkest nights or trials. Some of the characters experience personal trials on top of family, church or even employment challenges. Throughout this work of fiction, what seemed to impress me was the devastating affects secrets can have on a family, church or community. Hollyhill is a small town and everyone seems to know things about others, but no one ever speaks of the secrets to see if there is truth in them or not.
I can see why some of the characters keep secrets from others for reasons of “protecting” them, but as I read more of the story what showed up even brighter was that truth sets people free. While truth can be hard and painful at times, God is always there, loving us and drawing us close to Him. Through these hard or painful times, it seems that is when our faith muscles are exercised. The characters don’t always understand the totality of the truth being shared, but simply believe God will see them through.
It was so worth the time to read this novel again before continuing on to the sequel, Orchard of Hope. Please take time to enjoy the beauty of God’s love and redemption as painted using words by the author; it’s excellent!
My rating is 5 stars.
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