Friday, June 7, 2013

Sunflower Summer - Postcards From Misty Harbor Inn

Sunflower Summer  by Evangeline Kelly is a new book of the newly created fiction series, Postcards From Misty Harbor Inn. Finally an entertaining, yet wholesome work of fiction in the Christian genre that is NOT Amish and NOT a  romance novel.  Evangeline Kelly is actually a pen name for a team of women that authored the new series: Patti Berg, Pam Andrews, Barbara Hanson and Camy Tang.  The writing is enjoyable and professional-  offensive slang writing and individual eccentricities or opinions do not interfere or detract from the writing as is often case in books authored by a single writer.  This is a book that a reader can truly enjoy. While this is considered  a book in the Christian genre, all readers will enjoy this book.  In this case the label "Christian" refers to the fact you won't find foul language and explicit adult scenes, and secondly that the characters act with respect to their morals.

It is refreshing to read a book that breaks free from the stereotypical young, beautiful heroine whose life's mission is to snag a husband.  Social norms are challenged and reworked.  Based on the book market one might conclude that all readers are in their young twenties looking for their first love!  Yet this book series, and its main characters, three middle aged sisters,  will have a wider appeal to include an often overlooked group of readers that is often alienated. Rather than the too often used naïve 19 year old young Amish girl looking to marry for the first time, or the young widowed 24 year old woman in the old West, pursuing a weathered cowboy on a horse, pondering remarriage, this book is not focused on marriage or romance or young beautiful heroines.  In fact the author portrays the three middle aged sisters with respect and dignity, capable of being fashionable, independent and adventurous whereas society all too often confines such demographic groups to the limited the role of a spinster. 

Sunflower Summer centers around three sisters who start a new life in renovating an old piece of property and transforming it into an Inn in a popular vacation spot.  Each sister has her own personal battles  and challenges to face while at the same time contributing to making the grand opening of the Inn a success.  The guests at the Inn are just as varied as life itself- from the young newlyweds to the mysterious, dignified- yet aged, reclusive former English actress.  The complex characters are well developed for an omnipotent view of each of the sisters' thoughts and emotions.  To add additional element of mystery a sub plot focuses on a mysterious hidden room in the aged Inn and its mysterious history.  Another subplot centers around one of the sisters' strained relationships with a man that she had known for years.  Yet this "romantic" relationship does not overtake the entire novel.  There is just enough mention of her relationship in order to communicate to the reader that the eldest sister Caroline is stressing and distracted about facing a future of uncertainty and loneliness. In fact I am sure that  many readers may be facing similar fears of loneliness and uncertainty as well and can relate. As far as the serene setting-  the readers will find themselves caught up in the day to day workings of the Inn, the parade and the excitement of preparing the Inn for guests.  Sunflower Summer is the second book in the series.  This book can be read independently of the first, but as a reader I find that reading the first book would have shed some light into some of the background behind the three sisters and the story behind the decision to start an Inn.  I happened to win this copy of the book through Litfuse publicity,  published by Guideposts publishers.

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