Saturday, September 21, 2013

Beyond the Dawn / Sweet September


Author: Carolyne Aarsen aka pen name Kathleen Bauer

Publisher: Guideposts Books
2008 reprinted in 2013
Genre: Inspirational/Women’s fiction

Charlotte Stevenson’s world has been torn apart. Her estranged daughter, Denise, has been killed in a car accident, leaving her three children orphans. According to Denise’s will, she has named Charlotte as care-giver. So Denise flies out to California to bury her daughter and take the three children back to rural Nebraska to Heather Creek Farm to live.

But everything is not automatically a bed of roses. Sixteen year old Sam is upset, fourteen year old Emily misses her friends and wants to return to California, and the youngest, Christopher, just wants to fit in. 

As Charlotte and her husband, Bob, struggle to adjust to having teen grandchildren they don’t know, the three kids struggle to adjust to the death of their mom and a new life far from home. What if Charlotte makes the same mistakes as she did the first time?

BEFORE THE DAWN is the first book in the new Guideposts series Home to Heather Creek. It was very well written and the emotions are realistically portrayed. I could feel the hurt of the grandparents and the children, and the confusion they all experienced. I enjoyed getting to know Charlotte and her family and friends as they struggled to settle into a routine, with school, chores, and life.

The faith message is expertly woven in and isn’t preachy. I enjoyed the realistic touches of life on a farm, learning to drive, and struggling against boundaries that are portrayed in this book. Don’t miss BEFORE THE DAWN, an excellent beginning to a new series. 280 pages.


Author: Tricia Goyer aka pen 
name Kathleen Bauer
Publisher: Guideposts Books
2008 reprinted in 2013
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

The Slater children are slowly adjusting to life on the Nebraska farm with their grandparents. Sam has no interest in schooling and wants to spend all his time working with his Uncle Pete and his grandfather. Emily is finally beginning to make friends, and Christopher is spending most of his time alone making interesting discoveries.

Charlotte is still struggling with having teenage children to raise and not only is she struggling with Sam over his grades, now she learns that someone has been robbing them. Will they find the culprit? And will the family pull together to find the answers?

SWEET SEPTEMBER is the second book in the Home to Heather Creek series. Readers will not want to miss the first book in the series, Before the Dawn as SWEET SEPTEMBER is a continuation of that story. The third book in the series, Circle of Grace, will be available soon.

I enjoyed learning more about Charlotte, her family and her circle of friends in this well written book. The faith message is expertly woven in, and I enjoyed the way Ms. Goyer took a bit of history and wove it seamlessly into a contemporary novel. Readers will not want to miss SWEET SEPTEMBER or any of the other books in this series. Visit for this book and any other books published by Guideposts. 246 pages.

Blog Tour Contest: Since Sweet September is all about family, Tricia wants to meet yours. Leave a comment on the Tricia’s blog tour post ( sharing who your favorite family member is and why and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win William-Sonoma’s Pumpkin Harvest Loaf Pan & Quick Bread Set.

About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the author of twelve books including From Dust and Ashes, My Life UnScripted, and the children's book, 10 Minutes to Showtime. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in the mountains of Montana .

Book Info
About the books: When the world around you falls apart, could it be that God is giving you a second chance? This is just one of the questions on Charlotte Stevenson's mind as she brings her three grandchildren to live on the family farm in Guidepost Books' Home to Heather Creek series.

 Before the Dawn begins just one week after the funeral of Charlotte's daughter, Denise. Denise's three children barely have time to process the death of their mother before they must move to the Heather Creek Farm they have never visited with grandparents they barely know. At age 16, Sam is fiercely protective of his younger siblings. Emily is 14 and desperately misses her friends. Young Christopher is only 8 and just wants to fit in. While Charlotte tries to help her grandchildren adjust to their new life, she also wrestles with her own grief and the enormous task of bringing her family together. Bob believes the fastest path to adjustment is a firm routine, with structure and chores, the same way they raised their own kids. However, that route led to Denise running away from home as a teenager and an estranged relationship with her family. Charlotte is worried about making the same mistakes she made with Denise. Is this her chance to make things right?

It is spring when the children arrive, and as Charlotte looks around the farm, she hopes the new life around them will signify hope and healing. The miracle of new life, along with God's healing touch, reminds all of them that it's always darkest just before the dawn.

 Sweet September picks up at harvest time, as the children are settling into a new school year. While the harvest should be an exciting time, the children don't seem to be getting into the spirit. Emily is struggling with farm life, Christopher spends most of his time alone, and Sam is failing school. Trying to learn from what did and didn't work with her own kids, Charlotte is determined to get her grandchildren back on track.

As tenuous family bonds threaten to break apart, a mystery on the farm might be the one thing that can bond the family together. Charlotte sets out to uncover the truth, and as the kids unite to find answers, this cobbled-together family learns more about one another and the love that binds them together.

The lives of the Stevensons and their grandchildren unfold in this captivating story of the remarkable change that comes from the love of family, the kindness of others, sheer persistence and unshakable faith. As readers follow the Stevensons' inspiring stories, it's almost impossible not feel a part of this friendly, loving community, where God's grace can be seen in every circumstance.

Purchase the books here:

About the Author: Kathleen Bauer is the pen name for a team of writers who have come together to create the Home to Heather Creek series.

1 comment:

Mary Jackson said...

I really enjoyed Before the Dawn but I really disliked Sweet September. Thanks for your review!