Julia DeSmit is finally learning to accept her new life. Optimistic and anxious to begin again after dropping out of college, she is taking fumbling steps down a challenging yet hope-filled road.But the careful existence Julia has begun to build falls hopelessly to pieces when her estranged mother, Janice, appears on the front porch one icy March night. Mother and daughter have not seen or talked to each other in ten years, and a decade of anger, resentment, and bitterness follows in Janice's wake, along with a surprise Julia could never have anticipated. Julia is convinced that which is broken cannot be mended. Yet when she faces the very decision her mother did years before, she begins to realize what it means to truly accept grace. Will it be her undoing or the impetus for a change she'd never dared hope for?
I was so excited for this book, the sequel to Nicole Baarts debut book, After the Leaves Fall. I couldnt wait to find out what was in store for Julia, and this book did not disappoint. Julia is anxious and excited to figure out her new life after dropping out of college and returning to live with her grandmother. Things arent easy, but Julia is putting the pieces back together and things are beginning to look up. Then Julias mother, Janice, who abandoned her when she was nine, shows up on the doorstep one snowy evening. Julias secure, hope-filled life begins to shatter again. Why would her mother come? How could she ever forgive her mother for years of estrangement, bitterness, and pain? And what about the surprise her mother brought with her?Then, Julia ends up in the same position her mother was in years ago. She grows, learns, and discovers what grace is really about.Touching, a good read, and an uplifting hint of a happily-ever-after. I was right there in the novel with Julia; I felt her pain, experienced her coming to terms with things, and felt her growing up. If youve read After the Leaves Fall, this book is a must.
I was afraid that I would be lost because I hadn't read the book that came before this. I didn't have to worry though because Nicole's writing allowed me to enter the characters' lives easily even though I didn't know their past. The writing is so beautiful and eloquent as the reader is taken on a journey within the small town. Family ties are tested throughout the book and mother-child relationships are the mainstay of the novel. This story is so sad and you feel so much for Julie throughout the novel. I really felt like I had entered her life and became a part of her family. However even though with all the drama that is going around, there are still touches of hope sprinkled throughout the story. I liked Julie's coworker very much. Also Simon is a cutie and brought happiness to Julie when she needed it. The ending almost brought me to tears and I'm sure it will affect other readers the same way. This book touched me so much that I had to go back and read After the Leaves Fall and I was not disappointed. The characters from these two books will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. Nicole Baart has written a wonderful gem and it is not to be missed. I am looking forward to her next novel but until then this book is HIGHLY recommended.
Julia wants to life her live not just survive, she finally accepts who she is and what the future holds for her. She's a brave young woman and doing very well living this unexpected life until her mother shows up on her front porch. It was such a shock Julia couldn't believe it was really Janice! Julia was in the middle of a whirlwind; memories were eating her alive. She was stuck and couldn't make sense of these feelings or what she thought of any of this. It's been 10 years since her mother left! Its then that Julia realizes she has spent more than 10 years of her life feeding a bitter root she had towards her mother. She had to cut the root in order to be set free. She couldnt let these feelings keep her stuck in the past any longer. Julia begins to learn about "Freely Given"grace. Undeserved. Extravagant. Easier said than done by Julia. She had some hard choices to make in her life. Many things happen in this story that lead Julia to understand what really happened between her mother and father all those years ago. This gets Julia to look at her mother in a new light - through the Light of the eyes grace not the world - and to give away what has been freely given to her by her grandmother. Its then Julia realizes that she is not alone and it's ok to admit these haunting feelings in order to move on. That's what she really wants - to be the best 'Julia' she can be for the upcoming challenges that she is about to face. It cant be done on her own strength Julia knows that now. This might be the hardest thing shes ever had to do.This novel ended with me wanting more. It also makes me want to read the first book in this series, "After the Leaves Fall", to find out about Julia's life before her mother abandoned her 10 years earlier. It definitely left me wanting to read the third book in this series to see how things turn out.
Oh boy, has Nicole Baart done it again! Summer Snow, the sequel to last year's amazing After the Leaves Fall, is just as fantastic as it's predecessor. The characters in these books are just so real, so relatable, that I couldn't help but form connections with these "people" I've never met. Summer Snow picks up pretty much right where the previous book left off. Julia is pregnant and still living with her beloved grandmother, after dropping out of college. Constantly dealing with worry about the baby coming, finances, and overall life disappoint, Julia is suffering from an insane amount of internal struggle, but has learned to lean on God to help her through. When her estranged mother shows up one afternoon, completely unexpectedly with a little boy she claims is Julia's half-brother in tow, Julia has no idea how to react, except with her signature anger and frustration. She doesn't know what her mother wants, but does know it can't possibly be anything good. As she takes a chance at connecting with Simon, her new-found brother, as well as come to terms with the impending birth of her baby, Julia slowly begins to understand why her mother may have done some of the things she did, and starts to think that maybe through God's grace and forgiveness, a new relationship can be formed.It is impossible to convey the amount of emotion and heart in this novel. The individual relationships between characters, whether it be between Julia and Simon, Julia and her mother, or anyone else, the feelings the characters are described as having are emitted in the most perfect way, truly allowing you to connect. Such an important part of enjoying a plot is to be able to put yourself into the story and with this book, that is definitely an easy task to accomplish. I loved the story, the writing, the characters, and the feelings I got after finishing each page and chapter.
Ever since I read Nicole Baarts lovely debut novel, After the Leaves Fall, Ive been looking forward to the release of its sequel, Summer Snow. Following the story of Julia, who in the first book lost her father and the man she loved, this sequel traces the journey of her pregnancy and her reunion with her long-lost mother.I must admit that when I realized Julias mother was returning, I cringed a little. A dramatic family reunion seemed like such a predictable storyline. But I should have known that the story wouldnt turn out to be predictable or boring. Julia is an authentic and often lovable character. The twists and turns of the plot, the development of the characters, are vibrant and real. I did have a little difficulty getting into the story, but it began to pick up speed and interest for me a couple of chapters in. From that point on, I read with absorption and enjoyment.Nicoles style isnt sparse or simple. She clearly loves the nuances and beauty of language. However, she usually avoids being self-indulgently descriptive, by instead being both specific and evocative. One of my favorite passages reads, It was like finally being opened to the crushing weight of some indescribable significance pressing itself upon my soul, filling in the gaps. Leaving a mark. Leaving an imprint with a hand so heavy, so full and sweet, I almost cried out, but not in pain. In joy. (341)Summer Snow also walks the fine line between melodrama and cynicism, humor and sadness, showing and telling. I found the dramatic, sad parts of the story tempered by the prosaic, funny, and down-to-earth.God is not absent from the story, nor is He relegated to its least important shadows. Instead, some of the most intense and metaphorical passages are spiritual. I really appreciate this about Nicoles writing.Summer Snow is another gem among Christian novels. I highly recommend it, and am again anticipating the release of Nicoles next novel.