Friday, October 28, 2011

Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart

Mary Lynn and Jackson Scoville were finally being accepted in Charleston. After ten years, Mary Lynn had finally been invited to be in the Charlestowne Garden Club and Jackson in the Carolina Yacht Club. There three daughters would get the education and cultivation the city offered. If Jackson handled their investments right, they'd be set for life. Recently Mary Lynn has been going to church...alone.
Catherine, the oldest of the Scoville girls, hadn't scored high enough on the SAT to suit her father so she was on leave from the cross country and track team. Jackson quizzes her with impromptu SAT questions.  He is determined to have their daughters in the best of colleges.
The family goes to England for their traditional after Christmas vacation. On the intercontinental flight, Jackson realizes he has left his reading material on the first airplane. He fidgets so much that Mary Lynn gives him her copy of The Message New Testament to read. He devours it and in England buys a compete Bible. Upon their return he immediately meets with the rector.
Jackson gets saved and before long Mary Lynn's social life falls into ruin. Jackson commits social suicide, bringing a smelly homeless person into the house during Mary Lynn's luncheon she's been planning for all year. He uses the microphone at an informational school meeting to share the gospel. The invitation to the debutante club, gone. The reputation she had worked so hard to secure, ruined.
When Mark, an old flame, asks her to leave Jackson, take the girls and marry him, Mary Lynn is tempted. Will Mary Lynn's deep need for social acceptance destroy their family? Is Jackson crazy or is he just in love with God? Mary Lynn has many questions to face.

Having been born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, the social circle Mary Lynn aspired to enter just seemed crazy to me. But, the author is a South Carolina native and I have to assume she has portrayed life as it is in the south.
I found the first half of the book rather tedious. But when Jackson started reading the Bible and talking to their pastor, the book got exciting. So make it through the first part and you will be rewarded. (Unless you're from the south – then you might find the first part exciting too.)

Beth Webb Hart is a South Carolina native. She has written several books and is a speaker and creative writing instructor at schools, libraries and churches throughout the region. She and her family live in Charleston. See more about her at

Thomas Nelson Publishers, 320 pages.

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

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