Saturday, July 2, 2022

Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd

About the Book:

Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.


My Review:

I loved Byrd's touching novel. It's a story about life and choices and relationships and love. It touches the heart as we read about shame and secrets and honesty and acceptance. Perhaps, most of all, it is about leaving a legacy, sharing the wisdom and strength of a life well lived from one generation to another. You'll laugh and you'll cry.

The characters are very well designed. In an era when people of other skin color and cultures were not readily accepted, we see a loving embrace. At a time when children with special needs were not treated well, we see loving nurture. Women supporting each other in times of need. Women inspiring one another to live well and do good and build community.

I love how Byrd has created the atmosphere of Whidbey Island. The Dutch settlers are well represented by Johanna, known for her cinnamon rolls. Helen represents those associated with the naval base. The vibrant Asian community on the north end of the island is characterized by Eunhee, a young Korean brought to Whidbey by her enlisted husband.

Byrd's writing style has produced a treasure. I liked the insightful conversations and memorable lines. I liked the concept of a family cookbook, of taking a heritage recipe and making it my own, the taste of my hands. I like the theme of keeping secrets, doing so out of love, not to harm others. I love the flowers and their meanings. I love the food (especially the cinnamon rolls, not so much the kimchi).

Be sure to have a tissue handy when you near the end. You'll have an emotional journey through the lives of two generations of women on Whidbey Island. You will be touched by family ties and deep friendships. You'll be encouraged to treasure the heirlooms you have been given, leaving a legacy for those coming after you.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

About the Author:

Bestselling author Sandra Byrd continues to earn both industry acclaim and high praise from readers everywhere. The author of more than fifty books, her work has received many awards, nominations, and accolades, including the Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice award, two Christy Award nominations, Two Library Journal Best Book selections, and inclusion on Booklist’s Top Ten Inspirational Books of the Year list. Her traditionally published books include titles by Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, Tyndale House Publishers, WaterBrook Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and Bethany House. She’s also an independent author.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, and devotionals, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a devotionalist with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions and The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional, which was named by Called Magazine, the #1 magazine for Christian Women, as among their favorite, must-read books.

As an editor and an in-demand writing coach, Sandra is passionate about helping writers develop their talents and has mentored hundreds of writers at all stages of their writing careers. For testimonials about her editing and book coaching, please visit

Sandra loves walking, the beach, cooking and baking, photography, watching Escape to the Country, Fake or Fortune, and Chef’s Table, as well as spending time with family and friends – real and fictional!

Tyndale House Publishers, 464 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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