Review of Summer of Joy by Ann Gabhart

Summer of Joy is the third book in the Hollyhill Series trilogy by Ann Gabhart. The principal character of the series is Jocie Brooke, a young teen in 1964 small-town Kentucky. Her single dad is bi-vocational, working as a newspaper editor and a minister. But Jocie’s world includes lots of characters, as you would come to know in most small towns: a busy-body gossip, Jocie’s adopted grandfather who tells fanciful stories of being from Jupiter, a jealous and mentally unbalanced teacher, Jocie’s mother who abandoned her, Jocie’s sister who is the mother of a bi-racial child, a caring woman who could become Jocie’s stepmother, and the other people who become the mortar to the bricks of our existence.

Will Jocie’s dad get up the courage to propose to a younger woman? Will the busy-body’s interference drive away Jocie’s adopted grandfather? Will Jocie make peace with not being loved by her mother? Will the town accept her unwed sister’s half-black child? Will Jocie’s teacher fail her out of spite? Will God make a way of escape when Jocie’s life is endangered?

There’s plenty going on in Hollyhill, and Gabhart spins a story with comfortable familiarity told from a Christian perspective. The audiobook is a treat, with Gabhart as the narrator.

If you enjoy clean romance and drama, Summer of Joy will meet your expectations. I enjoyed it so much that I’m now looking forward to the first two books in the series, Scent of Lilacs and Orchard of Hope.

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