Take a break from all the holiday bustle and savor the slow pace of this month’s pick while sipping a warm beverage. You will leave with a glimmer of hope in your heart, reflecting on the way faith can bring light into the darkest of circumstances.
After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart tells the touching inner journey of a young woman’s heart wrenching journey toward hope and a budding faith. Julia’s life starts rough and doesn’t improve as time goes on. Her mother has no interest in being a mother, and indeed “Janice”(as she and her father call her) leaves Julia and her father when Julia is just a little girl. They move out to live on the farmstead with Julia’s grandmother–and when Julia’s father dies a few years later Julia suddenly finds her world reduced to long lonely nights wondering if she is doomed to be alone forever. Julia does strike up a friendship with the “boy next door”, Thomas, but even that ends in disappointment when he goes to college and finds a girlfriend. When it is time for Julia herself to go to college, she finds a glimmer of hope, thinking maybe this is the time when she will be able to reinvent herself and find belonging at last. But life has still more curve balls to throw at her, and in the end she may find that she has no one to turn to except the God that she turned her back on long ago. Readers who enjoy savoring an introspective story about the inner struggles of a thoughtful journeyer will enjoy this novel. It ends rather abruptly, but there is a sequel called Summer Snow so readers that hate to be left hanging can get both books at once