Title: That Summer
Author: Jo Huddleston
Publisher: Sword of the Spirit Publishing
“You’ve just haven’t decided to go along with God’s plan for you yet. But, son, that’s what you need to think about – turning loose of things and giving into God. He’ll guide you the way that’s best for you.” Gertrude explains to Jim in Jo Huddleston’s Book One of the Caney Creek Series, That Summer.
At two hundred and seventeen pages, this paperback book has a photograph of both a spring brook and an old Ford Model A on the front cover. With no profanity and only one inexplicit sexual scene, the book is targeted toward middle school age children to older individuals as it discusses abuse, premarital sex, pregnancy, alcohol and death. With a strong Biblical undercurrent that includes the plan of eternal salvation, it would be an ideal read for Christian home-schoolers even though there are a few sporadic font changes on some pages.
In this story covering over twenty years from the Great Depression and World War II up through the Korean war, seventeen year old Jim Callaway can no longer take the habitual verbal and physical abuse of his father as he works on their poor farm near Newton, Tennessee. Afraid to leave his pregnant mother alone with his volatile father and his four younger siblings, Jim takes off to the nearby town to become a man and get a real job.
Procuring employment at the local hosiery mill owned by Mr. Jacobs, Jim is quickly captivated by his beautiful, flirtatious daughter, Caroline, but is torn between his pure love for sweet, wholesome and innocent Louisa verses his growing attraction toward the worldly woman. Attentive to both young women and the newness to adulthood, he puts his relationship with God on hold.
Through life-altering events, Jim must recall his mother’s loving words to turn to God for answers and support as right and wrong choices in life are decided. Twenty years later, life comes full circle to Jim and his loved ones that force him and others to come to terms with that one carefree and careless summer spent as a youth.
Although this romantic story has characters which sometime lack in-depth personalities among disjointed transitions, the tome shows life between lovers in the Southern Appalachians who experienced the stock market crashing, illness overtaking family members and the simplicity of small town living. Realizing God is ultimately in control, Jim must face his past to be able to live in the present, leaving much room for a future story in the series.
This book was furnished by the author for review purposes.