Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Summer in Oakville by Lisa Lickel & Shellie Neumeier

What a novel approach to fiction. This book is divided into four sections, each telling the character's story from their own viewpoint. The four stories intersect and fill in the missing details.
The novel begins with Tessa's story. Her parents are still on the family farm but are in trouble. They are behind in their taxes and the septic system needs to be redone. And there is a mean fellow in town who would just to see them lose their farm so it can be developed and annexed into the town. The potential developer is an old flame of Tessa's and that spells trouble. Tessa's husband has moved to California, a promotion at work. Tessa refused to go with him.
Tessa's daughter Lindsay is the next part of the story. She has just finished her degree and not finding a job, comes to live with her grandparents in Oakville. She is determined to put her business training to work and find a way to pay off the delinquent taxes. Selling shares in future salsa is the answer. Her cousin Andy helps and all looks well until a hail storm ruins the crop.
Next is Andy's story. We met Tessa's nephew in the first section. He's a troubled teen, sent to spend a few weeks at his grandparents. The first full day in Oakville Andy wrecks his grampa's truck. But Andy meets the pastor's daughter and begins to get his life straightened out. His mom died a little over a year ago and his dad has not gotten over it yet.
So the last section is about Art, Andy's dad and Tessa's brother. Death plagues him. His brother died in a farm tractor accident when they were teens. He still runs away on that day. And then his wife died. He hasn't been back to his parent's farm since high school. But he has to go back to Oakville when Andy acts up.

Lickel and Neumeier have created a great novel of forgiveness and restoration. I was a little concerned as I got into the novel. Tessa was determined to separate and then divorce her husband. After all, he had left her. But she had refused to go with him. So I was concerned about the “Christian” nature of this novel. I was amazed (and relieved) to read on. It all works out – true restoration – in the end.
Each of the characters is confronted with the love and forgiveness of the gospel. They each find healing and new life during their summer in Oakville.

What a unique idea. As each section develops, we go through some of the same events but from a different character's viewpoint. It was fascinating to see how their actions affected the others, especially events we had already seen from another's viewpoint.
This was a rewarding read.

Lisa Lickel has a BS in history and RECES and edits for local historical societies, freelances for local newspapers and the occasional magazine. She is a graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild's Apprentice Course and was a top ten finisher in the First Operation: First Novel contest. She lives with her biology teaching husband in Wisconsin.
Shellie Neumeier has a degree in Secondary Education, has worked on staff with Northbrook Church, is an active member of SCBWI and ACFW and contributes to various blogs.
See more about these authors at: and

Buy this book from Black Lion Publishing

I received an egalley of this book from the authors for the purpose of this review.


Shellie said...

Thank you for hosting us and I'm so glad you enjoyed the novel!

Lisa Lickel said...

Thanks, Joan. Love your analysis.