Sunrise on the Battery (by Beth Webb Hart) … when your need for society’s acceptance meets God’s will

What do you cherish…your social status, your family, your belief in Christ and desire to serve him? This story is a look into the lives of two adults who grew up with very little and how the need to achieve a certain level of social status has become the be-all for their lives. They even have a family plan and Jackson, the husband and father, is determined that his daughters will have the best…and must BE the best.

Be careful what you pray for. And if God does answer that prayer, but it changes your acceptance by the society you’ve worked so hard to become a part of, how will you respond. And what happens when one family member has a Damascus experience and God’s love and grace shatters the life they’ve built for themselves. Do you blame God because it’s His fault for answering your prayer in such a big way?

Beth Webb Hart will bring you into the lives of the Jackson and Mary Lynn Scoville and their three daughters. You’ll realize that having reached the level of acceptance by the upper echelon of society does not mean your family is happy and your lives well balanced.

Definitely one to put on your “to-be-read” list!


Ladies of Letters: Go Crackers (by Lou Wakefield and Carole Hayman) … how older ladies can demonstrate such a strong passive aggressive nature

Odd little English conversation through letters. The two ladies are so quirky and passive aggressive in their complaints and criticisms of each other. It was, however, right entertaining at how they constantly jabbed at each other.

The Education of Dixie Dupree (by Donna Everhart) … coming of age in the steamy South

This coming of age book was a difficult “read.” It was beautifully written, but the issues, which are presented, are hard to handle. Dixie Dupree is a liar…and she will learn the hard way how the lies have created an environment in which she needs to share a very disturbing situation, but no one will believe her. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. She’s lied so many times that no one believes she can actually tell the truth.

Dixie and her family (mother, father, and brother) suffer through various issues. Dixie’s parents fight, her mother has moments of extreme anger (emotions that are taken out on Dixie), and some of the family members may not be who they present themself to be. What Dixie endures is traumatic and your heart will just ache for her. But in a moment, you are sitting there cheering her on as she shows a strength that few 11-year-old children demonstrate. Her courage and spirit may flicker and threaten to die completely, but she finds the strength to persevere and to speak up for herself.

This is not a feel-good story. But it is one that you should take the time to absorb. It will reach into your depths and wrench your heart out. The author has written a book that will touch you deeply and make you want to take Dixie out of her family situation and help her learn that love does exist and she can be adored and appreciated.

Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter (by Lisa Patton) … Southern charm in a less than charming Vermont B&B

This was a good audio book. I loved the characters and how much you find out about each one of them. You have strong feelings about them…you love them or you despise them! The author does a great job of bringing into the Satterfield family and their new adventure to Vermont. I could appreciate Leelee’s less than enthusiastic response to her husband’s decision to purchase a B&B in Vermont. But, she is a southern lady and she was raised to support her husband. She adores Baker and against her best friends’ advice, she sells their home in Memphis, TN and loads up the family to begin this new adventure in their lives.

But you will soon realize that things are not quite as they were presented by the real estate agent. But Leelee is a delight and she manages to do her best to make the situation as wonderful as possible for her sweet daughters.

You will become invested in their lives and cheer Leelee on as she realizes she’s much stronger than she ever thought possible. When her Memphis BFFs show up, you will be laughing and appreciating their sassy behavior.

This was just a fun audio book and keeps you invested in the story. Definitely worth the time to discover Vermont…through the horrendous winters, mud season, and the gossipy neighbors.

The Myth of Perpetual Summer (by Susan Crandall) … coming of age and family secrets

This was a wonderful story of the coming of age, family secrets, trauma, relationships, racial prejudices, and corruption. While lots of heavy topics are covered, you are drawn into Tallulah James’s life. She is surrounded by a very dysfunctional family but between her brother, Griff, and her grandmother she finds the emotional support she needs. At least until these fall away. (But you have to read the book in order to learn how this happens!)

Set in a time of unrest…Vietnam War with its protest demonstrations and racial discrimination…life is unsettled. Then you realize how the bullying, ostracism, and child neglect affect Tallulah and her family. It is amazing how she has managed to become a functioning adult.

The author does a great job of going back and forth from Tallulah’s childhood and adulthood…especially since the book is written from her viewpoint. It is well written with the voice of Tallulah as a 10-year-old and that of her as a young adult. This young lady’s life will haunt you even after you’ve finished the last page of this amazing story.

I have read quite a few of Susan Crandall’s books in the past (you absolutely MUST read Whistling Past the Graveyard) and this one did not disappoint. I love her style of writing and how she makes the characters like real people who are actually living the story she is telling. You care about them and ache for the unfairness of how life has treated them.

I received a free copy of this book from Gallery Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This is definitely one for you put on your to-be-read list!

The Last Original Wife (by Dorothea Benton Frank) … Southern charm and strength is alive and well!

I was so proud of Les! Becoming aware of how much better she deserved, was enjoyable. And I really loved the southern charm of the Carolina Lowcountry.

The characters were delightful and I fell in love with Leslie and her brother, Harlan, and her old high school boyfriend. I enjoyed the setting, the strength in the characters, the interactions between them. And when you add in Jo, Harlan’s spoiled pooch, you are chuckling! Her behavior and her change of clothes are a hoot.

Because the book is told from the two perspectives, that of Les and her husband, Wesley, you don’t have to assume how Wesley feels. His opinions and self-absorbed observations were irritating. But his obliviousness at how his attitude is affecting his wife, explains why Leslie has had enough!

Once again, Frank has delivered a witty and down-to-earth tale. I’m looking forward to reading/listening to additional books by this author.

Water for Elephants (by Sara Gruen) … life is a circus…literally!

This was a good story. But it leaned toward being x-rated. That part disturbed me because I didn’t get that impression from reading the synopsis of the book.

However, the story was interesting and educating. After reading this book, I know I would never be tempted to run away to the circus! The life is very difficult and the level of workers was set up in a real hierarchy.

The characters were well developed and you found yourself being drawn into their lives. There were bullies and heroes, delightful animals, and a trip through history. I enjoyed the experience of going back and forth in time…it was easy enough to tell when you were in the present time by Jacob’s voice as an older man.

I am interested in reading additional books by Sara Gruen after experiencing the audio book version of Water for Elephants.