The Dream

( 8 )

Overview

Lanie Freeman had to grow up fast. Her mother died when she was just fourteen and now her father is in prison. The oldest of five children, seventeen-year-old Lanie has transformed into a surrogate mother … and a beautiful young woman. Not only must she keep her family together, but lately she has drawn the attention of Roger Langley, son of the richest man in town. Tensions run deep between the Freemans and the Langleys. And on top of it all, Louise Langley accuses Lanie of trying to snatch away her handsome ...
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The Dream

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Overview

Lanie Freeman had to grow up fast. Her mother died when she was just fourteen and now her father is in prison. The oldest of five children, seventeen-year-old Lanie has transformed into a surrogate mother … and a beautiful young woman. Not only must she keep her family together, but lately she has drawn the attention of Roger Langley, son of the richest man in town. Tensions run deep between the Freemans and the Langleys. And on top of it all, Louise Langley accuses Lanie of trying to snatch away her handsome fiancé, Dr. Owen Merrit. Dr. Merrit has long helped out the Freeman children, but Lanie isn’t sure he even notices that she’s no longer a child. Then Fairhope is thrown into chaos when the new preacher arrives---wearing blue jeans and riding a motorcycle. In only a month, dashing Brother Colin Ryan shakes the entire town to the core of their beliefs. With the town embattled over the preacher, her family struggling to survive, and her own heart in turmoil, Lanie seeks solace in her writing. She pours out her heart to God, trusting his promises. But when things fall apart at every turn, will Lanie continue to trust? The Dream continues the inspiring saga of one woman’s struggle to hold together her family and follow her dreams in the midst of America’s darkest hour.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310252337
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 8/24/2006
  • Series: Singing River SeriesSeries Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 829,091
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Gilbert Morris is one of today’s best-known Christian novelists, specializing in historical fiction. His best-selling works include Edge of Honor (winner of a Christy Award in 2001), Jacob’s Way, The Spider Catcher, the House of Winslow series, the Appomattox series, and The Wakefield Saga. He lives in Gulf Shores, Alabama with his wife, Johnnie.
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Read an Excerpt

The Dream


By Gilbert Morris

Zondervan

Copyright © 2006 Gilbert Morris
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-25233-4


Chapter One

The dream came to Lanie Belle Freeman softly, so gently that the scene enveloped her like a warm, soft blanket. She lay still, caught in that zone somewhere between deep sleep and awareness. As always when the dream came, Lanie was vaguely aware that she was in a world that did not exist, yet at the same time the dream was so wonderfully real that she always resisted the pull of the world. The world was filled with cold practicality and hard decisions and heartaches. But the dream - ah, the dream! It was warm and lovely and filled with a joy that the real world could never give!

The dream always began the same, never even the slightest variation. Lanie had endured so many painful changes in the past few years that the most comforting thing about the recurring dream was its reliable sameness.

It began with the sound of Lanie's mother singing "The Old Rugged Cross." Elizabeth's voice was clear as a bell, sweet and pure and true. The words seemed to Lanie to flow like the clear waters of Singing River:

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross, The emblem of suffering and shame And I love that old cross where the dearest and best For a world of lost sinners was slain ...

And then in the dream Lanie felt herselfheld securely by strong arms, and when she looked up the face of her mother would appear. The firm but gentle mouth, the clear gray-green eyes filled with love!

Then the scene would change, and Lanie would be clinging to her father's hand, and Forrest Freeman would scoop her up, smiling and saying, "Well, now, Muff, how about a song, eh? Just you and me?"

Then Lanie would join her father singing the old hymn "Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad." The voices of the two would blend, then Elizabeth would join in, and finally Lanie's brothers and sisters would add their voices to the song.

The dream went on, sometimes for what seemed like hours, sometimes only briefly, but always the joyous sound of the Freeman family would fill Lanie's world.

When the dream lasted a long time, Lanie would run with her father through the woods while the trees blazed with fall colors, and then she would be digging in the loamy garden soil with her mother, putting seed in the warm earth of spring. At times the dream would take Lanie and her family to the Singing River, where Cody and Davis shouted as they pulled thumping sunfish out of the sparkling waters, and Lanie and Maeva splashed in the shallows while their mother smiled on.

But then dark shadows would begin to gather, clouding the dream with somber darkness. Lanie always tried to fight the shadows, but they covered her with relentless power, pulling her out of the wonders of the dream into the world of pain and disappointment ...

"No!" Lanie cried aloud, as the dream ended abruptly and she found herself sitting upright in her feather bed. For one moment she tried desperately to ignore the world of reality, to return to the warmth and color and joy of her dream - but she knew it was useless. Once the dream was over, there was no going back.

With a quick, angry gesture, Lanie rolled out of the bed and stood on the cool pine floor, disoriented. She blinked a couple times and finally got her bearings. "I can't believe I fell asleep!" she muttered. "I still have more pies to make!" Then she shrugged and turned to face the world of Lanie Belle Freeman of Fairhope, Arkansas, July 1931.

Moving to a small mirror, she paused, thinking with anguish of her life as it had once been. The dream was a longing for her mother, now in her grave, and for her father, who was serving a term at Cummings Prison Farm for manslaughter. The loss of her parents was a grief so poignant that whenever Lanie Belle thought of them, a lump formed in her throat and tears burned her eyes.

Lanie forced the dream from her mind, yawned, and raised her arms over her head in a broad stretch. As she threw her head back, she heard a loud ripping sound, felt the seams give way, and immediately knew what had happened.

"Oh, fuzz!" she uttered with disgust. Reaching to her side, she felt the open seam and shook her head. "I'm going to have to make another dress. I'm getting fat as Jezebel." The comparison was not exactly accurate since Jezebel was the Freemans' four-hundred-pound sow. Lanie, at the age of seventeen, had emerged from adolescence into blossoming young womanhood. Her figure had swelled, and as she looked down at herself, she calculated what she could do to make a new dress.

Turning quickly, she walked across the room, opened a red cedar chest, and rummaged through it until she came up with a group of flour sacks carefully washed and folded. They were white with a delicate green flower that perfectly complemented the shade of Lanie's eyes. Quickly she counted the sacks and then nodded with satisfaction. "I've got enough here to make me a dress. I'll start on it after the celebration tomorrow."

For a moment Lanie Freeman held the material against her cheek and imagined how it would be to go into a store and buy material off a roll. She'd had this experience on a few occasions before her mother died. Since then times had been hard, especially with the Depression that had come two years earlier. But she never liked to spend a great deal of time in regret, so she began to think of the McCall's pattern that she had bought at the general store. She had the kind of imagination that could take the picture of a pattern, along with the color and shape and feel of the material, and envision the finished product.

Suddenly the giggle of a girl's voice came floating in from the outside window. At once Lanie straightened up and glanced over at the clock. "Eleven o'clock!" she exclaimed. "Everyone's supposed to be in bed." She knew the giggle belonged to her sixteen-year-old sister, Maeva. Putting the flour sacks back in the chest, she went out the back door. The silvery moonlight illuminated the yard, and as she walked alongside the house, the voices became louder. Rounding the corner she saw Maeva being kissed by a tall young man. Darrell Watkins had a bad reputation with young girls, and the anger that swelled in Lanie suddenly reached the boiling point. "Maeva, what in the world are you doing out here?"

Maeva Freeman reacted exactly as Lanie expected. As she turned, the moonlight reflected on her red hair and her blue eyes were snapping. "What does it look like I'm doing, Lanie? I'm kissing Darrell Watkins."

If Maeva Freeman was ever afraid of anything - or ashamed of anything - no one ever found out about it. She had the same curves of young womanhood as her older sister and stood there with an impudent grin on her face. "You'll have to wait if you want to get your turn with Darrell, Lanie."

"How did you get out of the house?"

Maeva laughed and pointed upward. "I climbed out that window. Climbed down the walnut tree. If you want to keep me in, you're gonna have to chop down that tree."

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself."

"Well, I ain't," Maeva said defiantly. "Are you ashamed, Darrell?"

Lanie stood there oppressed by a sense of helplessness. Her father would have been able to handle this, but he was in prison, and at the age of seventeen she was now, for all practical purposes, the head of the Freeman family. She had no trouble with her brothers Davis and Cody, and, of course, Corliss Jeanne, at the age of three, was a treasure.

But Maeva Elizabeth Freeman was a rebel to the bone. She had often heard her father say, "I think Maeva gets her contrariness from her mama's side. Couldn't have got it from the Freemans."

Unable to think up a reply that would bring any sort of remorse to Maeva, Lanie turned and snapped, "Darrell Watkins, you get out of here!"

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Dream by Gilbert Morris Copyright © 2006 by Gilbert Morris. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is definately a Gilbert Morris book!

    Since I'm an avid Gilbert Morris reader, I picked up this book. I guess because I'm such a fan I feel like I have to read every book written by him. That said, I did enjoy this book over the past few I've read of his. The characters in this story are very colorful and bring life to the story. I find the background characters to be more interesting especially the restaurant group scenes. There is lots of historical fact and research done for the book and I enjoy all mention of the food that is eaten. I do like how Colin is a non typical pastor and he does grab the reader's attention from his first appearance. However once again what I find most annoying (but new readers won't notice) is recycled plot use. Why are there always characters that insist on sitting in the front row at church? There will be plenty of rows throughout the church but these characters always march right up in front under the nose of the preacher. The girl being disguised as a guy gets really old too because she doesn't really try hard to disguise herself (cut your hair instead of hiding it under a hat). I really didn't like Lanie's brother after he became a Christian. While I was happy to hear that he became saved, I really think he went overboard with trying to convert others. Why would someone tear up a Bible and give people random pages expecting them to become saved without telling them about it? This character seemed very judgmental and stereotypical of a Christian trying to convert everyone. One more thing that really bugged me was when Colin and Louise finally kiss, they both back away immediately and the first thing Colin says is 'Well I guess I shouldn't have done that.' That phrase has been used too many times in Morris's books and just doesn't sound realistic at all. I also won't lie, i skipped over Lanie's poetry. I feel bad but it didn't really interest me. I did enjoy the book but mostly out of loyalty for being a Morris fan. If you like historical fiction, then I think you'd enjoy it. Otherwise I think some of his older works are much better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2006

    Most Enjoyable Series Since Mitford

    The best Christian novel I've read since the Mitford series. You'll laugh and you'll cry. Anyone who grew up in a small town during the 30s and 40s will recognize some of the people. I can't wait until the 3rd book in the series is available.

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