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.
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This is a sad story, 3 children lose their mom and leave their home in CA to live with their grandparents...grandparents they don't even know.
It's difficult enough to lose your mom, but to move from a big city, to the country, to leave all your friends, to live with your grandparents, and to not have good cell phone or computer reception is definitely the end of the world. Especially when you're a surly teen.
The first book, Before the Dawn, is when the children first arrive, and the second, Sweet September continues the story. At first I just read Sweet September for an earlier review and didn't like the book all that much. BUT...after reading the first book, I like Sweet September much better, so although these are stand alone books, I think they flow much better when you read them both.
This really is a sweet story, the family members all go through quite an adjustment and it's nice to see how the family works together and how they all find ways to work out their problems and become a real family.
*I received a complimentary copy of these books in exchange for review from Litfuse
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- Before the Dawn and Sweet September by Kathleen Bauer