Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

This was a hard (yet rewarding) book to read. Oh, it's well written and the characters well developed. It is just that the subject is so current and the characters are so real with their hurt, it is heart wrenching.

Let me explain what I mean. Ginevieve and her daughter, Raine, never stayed in one place too long. After Raine's dad had walked out, Gin had moved frequently. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Raine convinces her mom to stay long enough for Raine to finish her senior year of high school. Gin agrees because she knows Raine has a bright future, until Raine reveals she is pregnant, that is.

Cody Bennett is the father. Cody, who lost his firefighter dad thirteen years ago. Cody, who was mentored by Dan Moretti, his dad's best friend. Cody, whose mom is in a social circle so far from Gin's, one wonders if a future is possible for him and Raine.

It's a small town. Word travels fast. Cody's mom, Evie, is sure it was Raine who lured her son into sin, but Cody assumes all responsibility. Gin's reflex is to grab the suitcase and leave town. But Dan has shown an interest in her and maybe she'll stay a while. The situation gets complicated when Evie becomes jealous of the attention Dan is showing Gin.

This is a heart wrenching novel – on the teen level and the adult level. Following the teens as they try to come to grips with their situation and figure out what to do is bad enough. But add to that the insecurity of both Gin and Dan, and you have two romances with so many difficulties, they both look impossible.

The novel moves at a good pace. As the present action happens, we read snippets of the past, helping us understand how the relationships developed. We see how current feelings spring from past events.

It was hard to read about how some of the girls at school treated Raine. It was hard to read about Gin as she noticed the looks that passed between the women at church. Springer did a great job of creating the scenes with Gin so well that I felt like an outsider right along with her.

We learn a great deal about God's forgiveness. As Cody says, “...there isn't anyone who can stand before God and tell Him they did everything right.” We learn about the importance of family, as well as the love that God has for us.

I loved this novel. It is heart wrenching, yet, heart warming too. So have your tissues ready at the end. Discussion questions are included and this would make an excellent choice for a reading group, especially a church group. Oh, the discussion they could have.

I'm taking part in a blog tour of this novel and you can read other reviews here.

Kathryn Springer grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child she plunked out stories at her mother's typewriter, eventually leading to the desire to write novels. She is winner of the 2009 ACFW Carol Award for Family Treasures. You can find out more at http://www.kathrynspringer.com/.

Zondervan, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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