About the book (from Litfuse): 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.
My take: Before the Dawn is a sweet family story about new beginnings, forgiveness, and learning to love. The characters are realistic, especially Charlotte's husband Bob, a man who thinks they should raise their grandkids just like they raised their kids. I know plenty of men in my small farming community who could have served as the template for Bob!
The book is set in a small Nebraska town, and as a Nebraskan, I couldn't help but notice areas that didn't quite ring true. For example, the comment is made that in southern Nebraska, sweaters could be worn practically year round. Obviously, the author hasn't experienced a Nebraska summer! It's just a little thing—something that wouldn't matter one whit to the average reader—but it jumped out at me.
The book does tend to drag at times, and really, not much happens for 7/8 of the book. I definitely struggled to give it my full attention. It does serve as a good beginning to the series, though, and fans of gentle fiction (à la the Mitford books) will probably really enjoy this series.
My rating: 3 stars
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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.
Before the Dawn was written by Carolyne Aarsen. Originally a city girl, Aarsen moved to the countryside near Neerlandia, Alberta, when she married her husband, Richard. While raising four children, foster children and various animals, she learned how to drive tractors, front-end loaders and ATVs. She grew a garden and learned to can and preserve its produce. Somewhere in all this Aarsen learned to write. Since 1997 she has written more than 40 books. Learn more at www.carolyneaarsen.com.
About the giveaway:Guideposts Books is thrilled to announce their brand new series, Home to Heather Creek, by Kathleen Bauer. The first two books, Before the Dawn and Sweet September, launch this month, and Guideposts Books is celebrating with a Paperwhite Kindle Giveaway!
One winner will receive:
- A Paperwhite Kindle
- Before the Dawn and Sweet September by Kathleen Bauer
Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 7th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to their blog [enter your email in the blog sidebar] and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."