Set in 1960s Kentucky, Summer of Joy is a feel-good novel that explores the dynamics of small-town life — with a twist that will stun readers. Young Jocie’s perspective is naïve but fitting for a girl her age, and while her father and his fiancé exhibit more experienced POVs, they’re still somewhat immature. The relationships between the characters are sweet, which makes the exciting climax a bit out of place. As the third book in the Hollyhill series, Gabhart has kept the overarching story flowing nicely so this one can be read as a stand-alone.

Newspaper editor and pastor David Brooke is recently engaged to his fiancé, Leigh, and they are planning a June wedding. The couple encounters multiple obstacles, and they have to hold tight to their love to ensure the wedding takes place. As the day approaches, a looming threat grows and there is more danger in town than anyone realizes. When David’s daughter, Jocie, doesn’t show up as planned, they must put everything on hold to confront the evil in town. (REVELL, Feb. 2008, 352 pp., 9780800731700)

*Web Exclusive Review

Reviewed by: 
Sarah Frobisher