Scent Of Lilacs

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Title: Scent Of Lilacs
Series: Hollyhill
Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Publisher: Revell
Published: May 1, 2005
Pages: 352

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Jocie Brooke lives in Hollyhill, Kentucky, a small town known for its lack of news. Life changing events very rarely occur and when they do they’re few and far between. However, in the summer 1964, they all happen at once. Everything seems fine but Jocie keeps thinking everyone has a secret they’re hiding from her and themselves. As she starts digging into her family’s past she uncovers a whirlwind of secrets.

Jocie doesn’t know what she’s doing nor does she intend to uncover anything, but a few well placed questions and some accidental stumble-upons change not only her summer but her life forever. Some prayers are answered for this thirteen year old and some she didn’t even think to say are answered in different ways.

The further Jocie’s accidental digging goes the more Jocie finds and some of the secrets she uncovers have been buried for over forty years. Her father has tried to protect her and he’s done so, but he can’t protect her from everything, not when more than in person knows. This is the summer of discovery, lost innocence and answered prayer. This is the summer when life as she knows it ends.

Will Jocie uncover a little too much about the secrets her family holds or will she find just enough to answer questions without changing her life? Will Jocie handle the secrets she finds well or will it change her view of the secret holder forever? Will Jocie’s faith be able to hold her through this summer or will it test it too much to hold on to?
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I’ve read a book last year by this author and enjoyed it, so I wanted to review this one. I didn’t quite know what it was about other than it involved secrets and that interested me. However, though this was a good book this wasn’t really my type of book. It’s no bad it’s just not what I would naturally lean towards. I do plan on finishing the series but this wasn’t what I expected and wasn’t the light-hearted read I was looking for.

The premise of the story is great and I think the execution of it was too but I think after reading two or three books that weren’t your average light-hearted read, this probably wasn’t the best book to read on the tail of those. This book is good though. The secrets unfold in perfect sequence and intervals and though most don’t surprise they do answer questions that are asked at the beginning. The author does leave a few unanswered for the next book though and it makes you want to come back for more.

The characters in this book are each important but I feel like there could’ve been some more depth to some of them. I liked the quirks each one had and their attitudes towards life and faith. You even get to see some of the characters grow towards the end of the book. You also start to see the possibilities for romance for the next book and possibly some more conflict if my suspicions are correct. The characters aren’t perfect but they don’t take away from the story.

Like I said before this book is good but it wasn’t what I expected or really wanted to read right now. I think if I had just gotten off of a romance binge this book would’ve had a better reception with me, but because I hadn’t, it just didn’t hit the mark for me. This book is well written and well developed and, despite my misgivings with, it was an enjoyable read just not a light-hearted one. I do look forward to the next book in the series and maybe it will get a better reception, for many reasons.

This author captured my heart last year with her unique romance. This year her book didn’t thrill but didn’t ruin me to her. She writes amazingly and all of the stories that I’ve read by her (grand total of two) have been well written and amazingly developed. This book should e a hit for those who don’t want a romance or for those who want a break from the romance novels. This book wasn’t for me but I recommend this solely for how it’s written.

Overall, not what I wanted to read but a well written, great development, and good characters. This book is perfect for those who want a change from the normal. This book is from the point of view of a thirteen year old so if you don’t mind some questionable (but well handled and not too graphic) situations then teens of around that age can read, as well as adults and older teens. I give this book a three out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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