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Summer of Joy

Title:  Summer of Joy (Hollyhill Series #3)
Author:  Ann H. Gabhart
Pages:  352
Year:  2008
Publisher:  Revell
Don’t let the cover to the book deceive you into thinking that this book has a boring, uninteresting story because that is not true!  In fact, I loved it as it takes all the elements from the first two novels in the series and brings them to some surprising conclusions.  We are introduced to Hollyhill and David Brooke first with The Scent of Lilacs, followed by Orchard of Hope, which adds depth to the plot and prepares readers for the suspense-filled ending!
I was not expecting all the action the last novel came with, the twist and turns of the plot along with a mystery male character.  Jocie is starting high school, and she is writing her eye witness accounts in a journal.  She not only writes about events and people that have come into her life, but also thanks the Lord and adds prayers.  Jocie is a prayer warrior.  She believes God and asks things with childlike faith, knowing that the answer may not always be a “yes” from God.
There is a female character that shows joy in the face of adversity along with letting readers see how afraid she is to believe she can be loved.  Leigh tries to live her faith out each day even when she is being badgered into false guilt by her mother.  David feels like a teenager when he realizes he is in love with Leigh, but is not sure what to do about it because he believes the age difference may be a hindrance.
Throughout the whole series characters show us how unique we are and how we try to walk the walk of faith as well as failing to do so sometimes.  There are times when the characters remind us we have choices to make even when our emotions or circumstances seem to be other than dandy.  One of the main female leads is a woman named Aunt Love who quotes Scripture lots of times and knows that knowledge is not enough, but living it out is a must.
Themes of hope beyond tragedy, forgiveness even when it is the last act we want to do or mercy with compassion are presented.  There are situations that arise in the series that show the audience that believing God is at times very hard and sometimes living it out is even harder.  I guess that is why I enjoyed the series so much because as humans we wrestle with our fleshly nature, especially when the Lord calls us to love someone or forgive someone when we would like to do otherwise.  I think the books remind us that we have to lean on the Lord every day if we are to mirror His image before a hurting and broken world.  Please read the whole series and see what you think.
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457
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