Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Home to Heather Creek by Kathleen Bauer

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

I recently finished reading the first two books of a series from Guideposts, that became available in stores September 1st. The series is Home to Heather Creek and the first two books are Before the Dawn and Sweet September. Unlike (at least as far as I know) most series that I have read, this one is actually written by multiple authors under the common pseudonym of Kathleen Bauer. There are a total of 24 books in the series. (When I learned that there were 24 books, I became a little bit curious as to how they released 24 books in a series in such short order. As I looked around, it appears that they have been out for a while, so I am assuming that they were recently re-released.)

The Home to Heather Creek series follows Charlotte and Bob Stevenson as they come to grip, not only with the death of their daughter, but the sudden growth in their household when Denise's three children - Sam, Emily and Christopher - come to live with them. The children are faced with a lot of change, losing their mother unexpectedly, moving in with grandparents that they barely know and leaving the suburbs of San Diego to live on Heather Creek Farm in Nebraska. As you can imagine, it is an adjustment on both sides of the equation. The full series covers the first two years following their move.

As the children discover life on the farm, the relationship with their grandparents and their Uncle Pete start to develop. Pete helps to provide a young perspective and helps Sam learn to drive, buys games for the kids and introduces them to several of his favorite movies. They also start to meet people in town and more of their family. Through these relationships, they start to find ways to cope and adapt to the many changes that they are faced with.

The story is very touching and the emotions are real. Charlotte relies on her faith and her good friends to help her through the adjustments that come to raising children again. She is afraid to make the same mistakes that she did with Denise, that caused her to run off at a young age. She tries to learn from what did and didn't work with her own kids, as she raises her grandchildren.

Initially, as I transitioned from the first book to the second book, it was a noticeable different tempo and voice. I think this is a true concern and could make reading the full 24 book series a little awkward. Normally, when you read through a series, hopping into the second or later book is easy, the author provides a little background for the benefit of the reader that hasn't read the other books and to help refresh the reader that has, but from there, it falls right back into the rhythm of the previous books. At first, I was worried about this change in tempo and voice, but as I continued to read, I became accustomed to the new storyteller and it felt right again. That being said, I am not sure how it will flow. The one thing that I think will help is that many of the authors wrote more than one book in the series.

I found these first two books in the series to be enjoyable. I want to continue reading, so that I can continue to watch Sam, Emily and Christopher grow and adapt (or not) to life on the farm. I want to see how Charlotte and Bob address the challenges that they face as they raise their grandchildren. I want to see if and how having the kids on the farm changes Pete. If you enjoy a good story, these might be books that you would enjoy checking out.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.