Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Castles in the Clouds

GIVEAWAY

JOHNSON, MYRA
CASTLES IN THE CLOUDS

Meet Larkspur Linwood, a young woman who has a passion for teaching, but yearning for more than life as a small-town Arkansas schoolmarm. Young and impressionable, Lark joins a college professor who is staring a school in Kenya. White picturing herself bring the light of knowledge to hundreds of African children eager to learn, the menial tasks she is assigned at the school aren't so different from life on the farm where she grew up. Worse, her fragile heart is broken. When Lark's fantasies come crashing down, she returns to the US, recruited by Professor Anson Schafer and put to work in the founding of schools and relief efforts for those struggling through the Depression. As they work side by side, Lark begins to realize that the deepest satisfaction comes not so much from what you do, or where you do it, but from the attitude of your heart.

My Review:

Book Two of the Flowers of Eden series is just as scrumptious as Book One! Johnson creates such memorable characters that I easily slipped back into life with the Linwood family even though it's been a year since we last met up (The Sweetest Rain, c2015.) I was quickly immersed in rural Arkansas, circa 1932, eager to catch up with Bryony, Lark and Rose. However, I think Castles in the Clouds would read fine as a standalone novel so do not despair if you missed the first book. There is some carry over with setting and characters but each book focuses on one of the sisters, so you do get a complete story.

It's hard to be the girl building castles in the clouds during the Great Depression. Lark's an interesting mix of naivete and determination. She doesn't always understand the full consequences of her actions but she works her way through every obstacle -- even the self-made ones. Talk about resilient! And while her family doesn't always understand her, they do support her. The Linwoods are a scrappy little family with big hearts and deep faith. There's something a wee bit Waltonish about them. I keep picturing Grandpa Walton in the role of Grandpa Linwood. :-)

Anson and Lark's love story is fraught with complications that seem insurmountable at times. Both ignore instant attraction in favour of professional courtesy. At least, that's what they tell themselves -- mostly they are both just running scared. But as their lives intertwine emotions become charged and a happily ever after seems inevitable...until it doesn't. Gotta love an author who keeps a reader on her toes.

I love the challenges and contrasts this time period brings to the story. The historically accurate portrayal doesn't always make it palatable and the realism blindsided me in places. There are big issues that don't get wrapped up in a neat little bow like racism and poverty and the drought. But all that makes for an emotionally gripping read...the exact kind I like to savor.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

 If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  Castles in the Clouds please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday September 18  2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

54 comments:

  1. What a compelling review, with the starkness of the Great Depression to add more drama to the story! I have not read the first of the series and need to look for that one, too. Thanks for the opportunity to participate. Cathy. dixiedobie at yahoo dot com

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    1. Yes -- I love stories set in the Depression era -- it really exposes the human spirit -- for good and bad. Good luck, Cathy.

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  2. I've been wanting to read this series. Now your review makes want to read it even more!

    samanthabis23 at gmail dot com

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    1. It's a wonderful series, Samantha. Good luck.

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  3. I LOVE the cover! This book is on my TBR list. Thanks so much for the giveaway!!!

    kathrynlvossATgmailDOTcom

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    1. I know -- isn't it beautiful? Good luck, Kate.

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  4. It had to be a difficult time in the Great Depression and it is always interesting to read about. I love the cover too!
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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    1. Yes -- and yet I think in some ways I crave the simplicity in both life and faith they had back then. Good luck, rubynreba.

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  5. This sounds really good. I've always liked stories set in the Depression era (but then, I think I feel that way about almost ANY era.) I'm eager to get ahold of this series and get reading!
    Elly -Indiana-

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    1. It's fascinating to read about times gone by, isn't it? Good luck, Elly.

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  6. Great review, great cover, sounds like a book not to be missed! Thank you, Kav!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. You're welcome, Melanie. Good luck.

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  7. Haven't read any of her books yet. On my to read list. cheetahthecat1986(at)gmail(dot)com

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  8. I was just admiring this one over at Seekerville! :D Small world ;)
    betherin02 at gmail dot com

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    1. Seekerville is a great way to find out about good books! And a great place to hang out too. Good luck, Beth Erin.

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  9. FABULOUS review, Kav! I love the cover!
    psalm103and138 a gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks, Caryl. It's such a gorgeous cover. Good luck.

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  10. I definitely have to add this book to my TBR stack that keeps on growing faster than I can read. Thanks for the review and giveaway! d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

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    1. At least you'll never run out of books to read, Donna. LOL Good luck.

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  11. Your review makes me want to read. TY for the chance.
    leliamae54(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Glad I could entice you, Lucy. Good luck!

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  12. Stories set during the move west or during the depression are some of my favorite. I have already read the first book in this series, and highly recommend it.

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    1. Isn't it a great series? You'll definitely want to read this one too. Good luck, Martha.

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  14. Myra is a new-to-me author and her book sounds like it would be eye opening. I don't recall reading a book about the great depression before. Thanks Kav.

    Dblaser(at)windstream(dot)net

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    1. It's a fascinating era and there's so much scope for an author's imagination. Good luck, Diane.

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  15. I finally purchased the first book in this series based on so many great reviews, but yours being the first, Kav. In fact, your review is what compelled me to check out other works my Myra Johnson. Now I have an even greater incentive to get the first book read. tlhcoupon(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. It deserves all those great reviews and I'm glad I could introduce you to Myra Johnson's books. Good luck, Terrill.

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  16. I love the cover and title. Thanks for introducing me to a new author.
    Dianna

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    1. You're welcome, Dianna. Good luck.

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  17. I have this book coming to me (this week I hope!) and the first one on my shelf. Loved your review as always, Kav! From it, I can't wait to read the series :-)
    Obviously I'm not entering.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by anyway, Trixi. Glad to share my enthusiasm with you.

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  18. I lve your review, Kav! Has anyone told you lately that YOU ROCK? I would love to win Myra's novel. Thank you for the chance!

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  19. With the word "castle" in the title I know this will be a good read.
    karenskrayonsATgmailDOTcom

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  20. This is definitely one I will read. sounds really good.
    jwisley(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. It's sooooooooo worth the read. Good luck, Joye.

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  21. A very difficult time period to have lived in, one I haven't read much about.

    pattymh20009at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I know -- there isn't a lot out there set in the depression era. Good luck, Patty.

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  22. O, this one sounds like one that I can truly appreciate. I'm also partial to the cover. Thanks Kav!
    justcommonlyATgmailDOTcom

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    1. I love when a cover and story match and they do in this case. Good luck, Just Commonly.

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  23. An intriguing title! Please enter me at dguz55 AT gmail DOT com

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  24. Kav, I am always so blessed by your wonderful reviews! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments about Castles in the Clouds. Thanks also to each and every commenter for your enthusiastic response! It was a sweet surprise to come across this post today!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Myra. Your book has created quite a stir today.

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  25. Sounds like a very interesting book! I haven't read by Myra Johnson before, but want to give Castles in the Clouds a try! :)

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! :)
    swordmaidenofthelight(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. This would be a great place to start, Shantelle. Good luck.

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  26. I've wanted to try this series for a while! I don't read much that takes place in this era.
    pocoauthorATgmailDOTcom

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    1. There aren't a lot of books set during the Depression -- at least in Christian Fiction. This is a gem. Good luck, Nicole.

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  27. I didn't know about this series, but from the synopsis and your review, I'm hooked! Books 1 and 2 on now on my TBR list. :)
    Thank you for the chance to win.

    melodybissonnette AT gmail DOT com

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    1. You'll love them both, Melody. Good luck.

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