Orchard of Hope: Hollyhill Series, Book 2

Author: Ann H. Gabhart

Publisher: Revell Books

Release Date: March, 2007

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4

Format: PRINT





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Thirteen-year-old Jocie Brooke’s life has been anything but ordinary since the day she was born.  Abandoned by her mother as a baby, she was raised by her father and Aunt Love in Hollyhill, Kentucky.  Now her big sister, Tabitha, has just come back from California not long ago, pregnant and unmarried.  Her pastor father is in love with a much younger woman and her older male mentor insists he’s an alien who hails from Jupiter.  Ever since he was injured during a tornado trying to rescue her, Jocie has been helping Wes to recuperate but he slips deeper and deeper into depression as the days pass.  Add to that her fear of starting high school, it was no surprise that poor Jocie would get herself in the middle of another situation before the summer was over. 

Noah Hearndon was just minding his own business when he was bowled over by a crazy girl on a bicycle.  His family had just moved to Holly County from Chicago so they could start an orchard on a farm they bought on the outskirts of town.  Jocie quickly befriends the new boy, who is then offered a job at the local newspaper owned by Jocie’s dad.  Which wouldn’t have been a problem except Noah’s family was black and it was 1964 in the South.

Noah’s mother, Myra Hearndon, was a civil rights freedom fighter in Chicago and wasn’t about to stand for any racial discrimination against her family in their new home either.  So when many of the residents of Hollyhill were less than friendly to the newest residents of their town, Myra set about to change their wayward way of thinking.  But will they accept her family, or allow the KKK to help drive them away?

ORCHARD OF HOPE ambles along just like the lazy, hazy days of summer that are portrayed within its pages, but will hold the attention of readers nonetheless.  ORCHARD OF HOPE, the sequel to THE SCENT OF LILACS, is a story in which the civil rights movement is a big plotline, but this isn’t merely a ‘civil rights’ novel.  A strong faith element is present, and readers will also enjoy the warmth shared between many of the characters.  Racial prejudice may never be totally eradicated, but can planting an ORCHARD OF HOPE be a good beginning?

The third book in the series, SUMMER OF JOY, is currently in production and hopefully I will be able to read more about these families and their struggle for peace and racial equality soon.    

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Sherri Myers

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