Before Summer’s End is a collection of novellas and short stories by authors of The Mosaic Collection. A part of each story occurs in the summer and sees something life-changing happening in the lives of the characters.
There is a strong theme in Before Summer’s End that God is always present in our struggle and is using the events of our lives to draw our attention to Him.
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About Before Summer’s End
Home should be the place you run to for shelter from the world, but what if the family members who should love and protect you are the ones who have hurt you the most?
Johnnie Alexander — A Stranger Comes to Springlight
Brenda S. Anderson — Hot Cocoa Summers
Eleanor Bertin — Grounded
Sara Davison — Ten Bottles of Sand
Deb Elkink — Blue Genes
Stacy Monson — A Summer of Reckoning
Marion Ueckermann — In an English Vintage Garden
When trust is shattered between brothers and sisters, parents and children, or husbands and wives, will God bless their tentative steps back to each other by healing and restoring the most important relationships in their lives?
A Stranger Comes to Springlight Review
The Before Summer’s End anthology begins with A Stranger Comes to Springlight by Johnnie Alexander. This perfectly whimsy tale is the story of what two eccentric sisters experience when a stranger comes to town. A Stranger Comes to Springlight was written as a serial in a newspaper and the author presented the story in the same manner as it was published.
I admit, at first, it was a little tricky to read but after a while, I got used to it and imagined myself living in the times of Jane Austen and reading a weekly (but with much faster turnaround).
A Stranger Comes to Springlight is filled with alluring alliteration, quirky characters, and a whimsical voice. This story was an interesting beginning to the Before Summer’s End anthology.
About A Stranger Comes to Springlight
When Elmira McElhaney-Smythe, who dresses all in pink, awakens one summer morning with a tingly, tinny ringing in her earbone, she knows to expect something spectacular. But Elmira fears her twin sister, Lemora McElhaney-Smythe, who dresses all in purple, will experience the spectacular event first. Will the eccentric sisters set aside their petty pettishness to discover why a stranger has come to the charming town of Springlight?
About Johnnie Alexander
Johnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won’t forget. Her award-winning debut novel, Where Treasure Hides (Tyndale), is a CBA bestseller.
She writes contemporaries, historicals, and cozy mysteries, serves on the executive board of Serious Writer, Inc., co-hosts an online show called Writers Chat, and interviews inspirational authors for Novelists Unwind. She also teaches at writers conferences and for Serious Writer Academy.
Johnnie lives in Oklahoma with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Please visit Johnnie’s website for more of her books and to subscribe to her newsletter: www.johnnie-alexander.com
Hot Cocoa Summers Review
Okay, I loved this story of Jennifer and Chad’s romance. It took place over the course of three years but only during the summers.
About Hot Cocoa Summers
To barista Chad Taylor, life is always better with a cup of coffee, so when spunky Jennifer Miller walks in and orders hot cocoa—in the middle of summer!—he’s challenged to win her over to the dark roast side! His heart tells him that’s not the only challenge Jennifer brings.
About Brenda S. Anderson
Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is Past-President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE, the 2016 ACFW Chapter of the Year. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball (Go Twins!), and she loves watching movies with her family.
She resides in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 30-plus years and one sassy cat. Please visit Brenda’s website for more of her books and to subscribe to her newsletter: www.brendaandersonbooks.com
This story had a lot of potential; I wanted to see the main character wrestling with her issues and with God. The main character, Lissa, spent a lot of time alone during the coronavirus while separated from her family but the introspection wasn’t as profound as you would expect.
The blurb gives the impression that the character did a lot of soul-searching but it wasn’t evident during the story. It does have a happy ending but it could have been stronger if the introspection had been played up.
Still, it was interesting to read a story set during the pandemic that we’re experiencing and persons will be able to relate to some of the things Lissa goes through.
Nothing good can come of Lissa’s new life plan but she squelches the warnings of her conscience until a worldwide calamity sends her to her room to think about what she’s done.
About Eleanor Bertin
In a fit of optimism at age eleven, Eleanor Bertin began her first novel by numbering a stack of 100 pages. Two of them got filled with words. Lifelines, her first completed novel, was published in 2016, followed by Pall of Silence in 2017, a memoir about her late son Paul.
Eleanor lives with her husband and youngest son, Timothy, amidst the ongoing renovation of a century home in central Alberta where she reads, writes, sweeps up construction rubble and blogs about a sometimes elusive contentment at jewelofcontentment.wordpress.com.
Please visit Eleanor’s website for more of her books and to subscribe to her newsletter: www.eleanorbertinauthor.com
Ten Bottles of Sand Review
This story took place over a number of summers. Nancy loses her job and comes to the realization that first the first time in her life she doesn’t know what to do next. She decides to go to the beach and everything starts to change.
She meets Patrick and the way he lives his life causes her to start thinking that maybe some of the things she has believed all along were incorrect. They start corresponding through letters when she is not at the beach house and he introduces her to new ways of thinking.
She becomes open to the possibility of God and the love He has for humanity and her in particular. I loved learning through the author’s note that this is the same woman who eventually becomes the substitute mother for Summer in Lost Deep Down. Somehow, backstory knowing her endears her character even more to me.
About Ten Bottles of Sand
Nancy Williamson has always lived her life according to her mother’s Four Keys to Success in the World—education, a career, careful financial planning, and a strict aversion to any kind of romantic entanglement. When she is unexpectedly fired from her job, for the first time in her life Nancy makes a spontaneous and completely frivolous decision. A decision that will change her life forever.
About Sara Davison
SARA DAVISON is the author of three romantic suspense series, The Seven Trilogy, The Night Guardians, and The Rose Tattoo Trilogy. She has been a finalist for ten national writing awards, including Best New Canadian Christian author, a Carol, a Selah, and two Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a Word and Cascade Award winner.
She currently resides in Ontario, Canada with her husband Michael and their three children, all of whom she (literally) looks up to. Get to know Sara better at www.saradavison.org and @sarajdavison. Please visit Sara’s website for more of her books and to subscribe to her newsletter: www.saradavison.org
Blue Jeans Review
It’s a fascinating story–the same tale told from twin perspectives. As Jenny and Gwynne strive to find their own identities outside of their twin identities. The reader gets to see the offending incident from both sides. I wish the story had been longer and had given the characters a chance to really work out their issues. Instead, we’re given a glimmer of future reconciliation. Still, it’s a reminder that sometimes when we are offended there may be something we did to cause the other person to behave the way they did.
About Blue Genes
Home for spring break during calving season on the ranch, twins Jenny and Gwynne—in pain over an unsisterly offence that’s broken their unity—bring forth new life in the messy process of birth as they labor with their own forgiveness and reconciliation.
About Deb Elkink
Deb Elkink lives in a cottage beside a babbling creek in rural Alberta, Canada, a stone’s throw from the Montana border. She grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and studied in Minneapolis–Saint Paul (B.A. Communications), publishing a dozen or so short stories and articles as a young adult.
Today she writes and edits, travels like mad, drinks lots of creamy decaf with friends, and speaks to women’s groups about the Christian faith. Please visit Deb’s website for more of her books and to subscribe to her newsletter: www.debelkink.com.
A Summer of Reckoning Review
A Summer of Reckoning tells the story of Dawson Dunne a young man who is convinced that he is worthless and that life is outside of his control. He’s given the chance to learn that he is more than he thought he was. It was interesting to see how having someone believe in you can have the power to change someone who’s on the wrong path.
Reading Dawson’s story in A Summer of Reckoning made me want to read the other books in which he was featured–he was a distinctive character.
About A Summer of Reckoning
Dawson Dunne has been stuck in the angst of his late teen years—with a long rap sheet that highlights his many bad decisions. A last-chance offer from the judge sends him to Outlook Adventure Camp where he learns there’s far more to life than poor choices and jail cells. But is he brave enough to reach out and grab it? ~ Prequel to When Mountains Sing and Mountaintop Christmas
About Stacy Monson
Stacy Monson is the award-winning author of When Mountains Sing, Open Circle, and The Chain of Lakes series including Shattered Image, Dance of Grace, and The Color of Truth. Her stories reveal an extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. A member of The Mosaic Collection, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and the MN Christian Writers Guild (MCWG), Stacy is the past president of ACFW MN-NICE, and is the Events Director for MN Christian Writers Guild.
Residing in the Twin Cities, she is the wife of a juggling, unicycling retired physical education teacher, mom to two amazing kids and two wonderful in-law kids, and a very proud grandma. Please visit Stacy’s website for more of her books and to subscribe to her newsletter: www.stacymonson.com.
In An English Vintage Garden Review
In An English Vintage Garden is a story of how choices can affect lives far into the future. It’s the story of having the courage to face the past and of forgiving others and oneself. I would have liked if the revelation of the “mystery” had occurred earlier in the story to give the main characters more time to wrestle with the ramifications and to contemplate forgiveness but overall the story was enjoyable and easy to read.
About In an English Vintage Garden
An unexpected inheritance unlocks secrets from the past. Jack Lancaster. A name Ellen Oakley has never heard before, and yet the old man has left Ellen an English seaside cottage in his will. With a catastrophic year behind her—a broken engagement, the sudden death of her father, and more recently, lay-offs at work, she being one of the casualties—the only thing standing in Ellen’s way of flying to England to claim her inheritance and make a fresh start, is Lillian Oakley, her mother.
It takes some convincing, but Ellen manages to get her mom to agree to accompany her to England for a time. As the quaint English cottage on the Norfolk shores offers up its ghosts and skeletons in the closet, one woman finds closure, the other a new beginning.
About Marion Ueckermann
USA Today bestselling author, Marion Ueckermann’s passion for writing was sparked when she moved to Ireland with her family. Her love of travel has influenced her contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places.
Marion and her husband again live in South Africa and are setting their sights on retirement when they can join their family in the beautiful Cape. Please visit Marion’s website for more of her books and to subscribe to her newsletter: www.marionueckermann.net.
I enjoyed reading these stories–some more than others–as I looked forward to seeing how the theme would be played out.
Before Summer’s End was a reminder that time passes whether we use it wisely or not and we should make an effort to live out our purpose.
This applies if you own a pawn shop, work in an office, live on a farm, attend university, or are out of work.
Every moment we live is one that we won’t be able to reclaim. As I read some of the stories in Before Summer’s End, I was amazed at how God loves us. He uses the complex and the mundane events of our lives to teach us about His love and to draw us into a saving relationship with Him.
I received an advanced readers’ copy through the Mosaic Collection launch team and Just Read Tours; a positive review was not required.
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