Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Review: Dandelion Summer

Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill - Book 4) by Lisa Wingate

Publication Date: July 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Christian Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 416pp
ISBN-13: 9780451233271

(Received from Berkley NAL for an honest review)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

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Excerpt from
Dandelion Summer
Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

All her life, Epiphany Jones has been tossed like a dandelion seed on the wind. Now, with the death of Mrs. Lora - the family friend who took Epie into her home - the sixteen-year-old must move to Dallas to live with her indifferent mother and new stepfather. Trapped in the low-rent area of Blue Sky Hill, Epie doesn't fit in - and soon finds herself on the wrong side of the law. To make restitution, she's sent to work in another place she's not wanted: a home on the upscale streets of the Hill.

When J. Norman Alvord learns that his daughter has hired a teenager to stay with him in the afternoons, he's determined to nix the arrangement. Widowed and suffering from heart trouble, Norman wants to be left alone. But in Epie's presence, Norman finds a mystery. Deep in his mind lie memories of another home, another life, and a young black woman, a housekeeper, who saved him...

As summer comes to Blue Sky Hill, two residents from different worlds will journey through a turbulent past and find that with an unexpected road trip through sleepy Southern towns comes a life-changing friendship... and clues to a family secret hidden for a lifetime.


Lisa Wingate is an author that writes from the heart. Readers will become enchanted by Wingates latest book in the Blue Sky Hill series,
Dandelion Summer. This is a book about hope and reconciliation. It's about two unlikely friends who discover what their place in this world is all about. Readers will love Wingate's fresh and appealing style and the fact that she tackles big issues like elder care, dysfunctional families, and at risk teens. A perfect summer read!

Epiphany Jones is a young girl who wonders where she fits into the scheme of things. She has always been tossed to and fro, blowing with the wind. But now she's finally landed with her mother and her new step father in a run down area of Dallas called Blue Sky Hill. Epie doesn't really fit in until she takes an after school job taking care of an elderly man who has lost his wife. Epie and J. Norman Alvord's first meeting didn't go well, since his daughter seems to have hired her behind his back. But the friendship that starts to develop between them will change both of their lives forever. J. Norman feels as if he's lost everything now that his wife is gone and his daughter is too busy to bother with him, but he finds a kindred spirit in Epie and some long buried family secrets.

Lisa Wingate is a wonderful storyteller. Her books have thrilled fans, made them laugh, made them cry and caused them to feel something and
Dandelion Summer is no exception. This is a book that packs an emotional punch. Anyone who ever felt left out or lonely will identify with sixteen-year-old Epiphany immediately. She seems to have the feeling that she lacks value or doesn't deserve for good things to happen to her. She hasn't had the kind of love in her life that a young girls needs to feel good about herself. As a character I thought she was just a pleasure to read about. She's smart, she's funny and above all she is a caring young girl, which is rare in this day and age. Wingate does a fantastic job of allowing the reader to see inside Epie and into her heart.

Wingate's writing style is refreshing and inspirational. Fans of her book will love her latest addition to the Blue Sky Hill series. Wingate has an affinity for writing complex and multi-layered characters and J. Norman Alvord in my opinion is one of her best. Here you have a man who was once on the science team that brought about the first US landing on the moon. He is a man who has made history and now he is living in big house all alone and he wonders was it all worth it? Does he really have anything to show for his life? He feels lost without his wife and somehow set adrift in his life. When he meets Epie he finds someone who understands that feeling. Wingate makes Alvord such an interesting man, with so many memories and wisdom to impart, but she also makes him human. He is in pain, he's grieving and Epie is his solace. I loved both main characters and became very invested in their stories.

I think the author takes on some big issues in this book and pulls them off with style. She writes about elder care, grieving for a spouse, a teenager at risk, and even inter-racial issues. She takes on a big task of pulling it all together and making a cohesive story line out of it and I think she did a great job. I would recommend this one to anyone who loves inspirational fiction. This book is essentially a story of hope and I think readers will love it. It's a fast read that's perfect for a warm summer day or an afternoon at the beach.

Dandelion Summer is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Lisa Wingate lives with her husband and two sons in central Texas, where she is a popular writer and inspirational speaker. She grew up in Oklahoma and studied writing at Oklahoma State University.


Estella said...

Sounds like an inspiring read!

Lisa Wingate said...

Thanks so much for the great review of Dandelion Summer! Watching Norman and Epiphany travel into the world has been a wild ride and such a fun experience. Thanks for your support ;-D

Anonymous said...

LOVED this book, my first taste of your storytelling! Wonderful characters and very fulfilling ending! I'm adding your name to my reading list so that I can search out your other books to read soon!