Flavors [NOOK Book]


Emily Sue Harvey’s first novel, Song of Renewal, was praised by New York Times bestselling author Jill Marie Landis as “an uplifting, heartwarming story,” by bestselling author Kay Allenbaugh as a work that will “linger in the memory long after readers put it aside,” and by Coffee Time Romance as “a must-read book for anyone doing a little soul searching.” New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry said, “It captures your attention, and ...
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Emily Sue Harvey’s first novel, Song of Renewal, was praised by New York Times bestselling author Jill Marie Landis as “an uplifting, heartwarming story,” by bestselling author Kay Allenbaugh as a work that will “linger in the memory long after readers put it aside,” and by Coffee Time Romance as “a must-read book for anyone doing a little soul searching.” New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry said, “It captures your attention, and whets your appetite for more,” while Peeking between the Pages called it “quite simply a beautiful book.”

Now, in Flavors, this master storyteller of the human heart sweeps us along with twelve-year-old Sadie Ann Melton as she enters a life-altering season. The summer of 1950 will change everything for her. For in that summer, she will embark on an odyssey at once heartbreakingly tender and crushingly brutal. At times, she will experience more darkness than she has ever witnessed before. At others, she will thrill to lightness and joy she never imagined. By summer’s end, the Melton women in Sadie’s journey – loving her, coaxing her, and commanding her – will help shape her into the woman she becomes. And they will expose Sadie to all of the flavors of life as she savors the world that she brings into being.

Filled with charm, wisdom, and the smorgasbord of emotions that comes with the first steps into adulthood, Flavors once again proves Emily Sue Harvey’s unique ability to touch our souls with her unforgettable stories.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611880090
  • Publisher: Story Plant, The
  • Publication date: 2/8/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 120
  • Sales rank: 1,182,494
  • File size: 220 KB

Read an Excerpt


Today, lounging here in my easy chair, eyes closed, with television tuned to Sirius 40s and 50s Pop Hits, I listen to a familiar old song by the Nat King Cole Trio. “Paper Moon” lulls me and trips a button deep, deep down inside me, dredging up long dormant images from the past.

Young memories.

Funny thing. Nowadays, I am challenged to remember last week’s happenings. Even yesterday’s. But – there’s something about musings of past youth. They’re perched right there on the periphery of my brain, ready-set-go to dive in. And once one gains entrance, it sends out this telepathic signal to all the others, announcing a grand reunion.

Like today.

I sigh as Jimmy Dorsey’s band accompanies Helen O’Connell’s vocal rendition of “Embraceable You,” and my mind snatches and wraps around that bittersweet, pivotal 1950 summer.

The burst of memories catapults me into contemplation. This meditation stirs up a thick emotional-spectrum that gallops from ecstasy to slushing, visceral melancholy.

It makes me wonder … why has life changed so? Its seasons, in a retrospective, backward glance, do a kaleidoscopic-strobe that leaves me reeling, both physically and emotionally.


I prop my aching bare feet on a leather ottoman and sigh, bombarded by the swirling cerebral-smorgasbord, one flavored with infinite tastes and fragrances.

Truth be known, of all life’s slices, adolescence is the most poignant. The abrupt transition from childhood – a magical time when emotions are sterling, distinct and spontaneous – to puberty (when nothing is defined and everything postured) is both brash and mystical.

One day, I was a snaggletoothed little girl who considered no question too stupid to ask, over and over, if necessary, to find out why, what, who, where and how. Never mind the endless “Shut-ups” along the way, or “you ask too many questions,” they simply did not register in my innocent quest for enlightenment.

Vanity did not yet exist. Hair bows sli-i-id slowly down my fine, stringy hair until snared by split ends. There they dangled until rescued by Mama. Dear, dear Mama – I still wonder if I’d have realized a bath’s significance or put on a stitch beyond underwear had it not been for her, at least until my eighth or ninth year.

Somewhere between years eleven and twelve, she introduced me to Tussy deodorant. Thank God for good mamas.

Then came that summer. Ahhh, that magical season of new horizons. I had occasionally, all through my childhood years, been dropped off at the Melton farm for weekend visits with my Aunt Nellie Jane, who was only a year older than me. Those fun times are rock-chiseled into my recall.

But that summer was a time set apart, filled with epiphanies that divided time.
Then on its heels – seems overnight I was a young woman with squeaky clean, nightly roller-curled hair, who moved demurely amid swirls of Prince Matchabelli or Avon Wild Rose fragrances, wearing freshly pressed coordinated skirts and sweaters, snow white bobbie socks and spit-polished penny loafers.

Adolescence was angst and/or ecstasy, depending upon the moment’s situation. Angst when pimples appeared and ecstasy when that cute guy in homeroom asked me for a date. It was angst when I realized it was chemical, that surging of hormones that agitated my emotions into goulash – and I couldn’t do doodly squat about it, except ride it out.

The ecstasy was when that hormone-surge spit out romance.

Ah, but I digress as I sit here ruminating about all the whens. Focusing on childhood stretches that something inside me that gauges changes from then to now. Startling transformations. Makes me realize just how far I am from then.
Could it be there have actually been two of me? One then and one now?

Now casts me so far from then that I’m convinced a distinct time-warp thing is at play here. Why can’t the two times be more converged? Why does my middle-age atmosphere differ so from my childhood one? Going outside now makes me sneeze, wheeze and freeze, while up until I was twelve, being outdoors was an adventure, when temperature and humidity had no bearing on fun.

Exploring an old hay baler at Grandpa and Grandma Melton's farm set my senses abuzz. I can close my eyes and still smell the damp earth and sweet hay and see, from three-and-a-half foot stature, the baler's rusty square trunk, whose platform struck me about chest level and instantly became my stage. I clamored aboard and – kazaam! – I was Jo Stafford, belting out “Shrimp Boats are Comin’” or Betty Grable, arms thrust wide, tap-dancing the length of the stage. Nearby cornstalks, rustling in summer's warm breeze, became my adoring, applauding audience.

Other times, I ventured into forest's wonderland, where a tree stump became my table, or stove, or throne. Birdsong, warbled by robin, sparrow or bluebird, harmonized to serenade me.

Ahhh, and the meadowland … I'd sprawl flat of my back on lush, watermelon-scented grass, happily chewing nectary sugarcane and watching a small plane pass slowly overhead, lulled by her drone and with 20/20 perception, sight its passengers' pinpoint heads. I just knew, with a child's 14k trust, that they returned my eager wave.

The cricket's chirrupp, the fly's bzzzz and the wind's every nuance tickled and teased my ears. Honeysuckled and gardenia breezes tantalized my nose. I tingled with discovery and being. Appetite and energy abounded. A five-cent BB Bat gave my tongue a diphthong-range of heavenly tastes. Youth's vibrancy buoyed me.

Life's flavor was sharp and tangy, lemony. Colors jumped and danced and shimmered, while sounds lifted me to soar and spin and fly …

To float …

Today, a half century later, I am at ease sitting here, immersed in the vibrant when, and I think, I’m not so old. It’s all in the mind. Heck, you’re only as old as you feel. I’m psyched out and young again. Until I move. In an instant, the illusion shatters. Like a cement Frankenstein, I shift my bifocals, turn up the television volume to catch a song's lyrics, stiffly arise and painfully shuffle to watch the neighbor's kids through my den window, romping outside on their lawn. I experience yet another piercing, longing, backward glance to when.
And, again, reality jolts.

Even though my body has betrayed me yet again and my short-term memory has gone south, back when zooms in like when I donned those 3D glasses at the movies and screen images leaped out at me.

My husband swears that canned pork and beans – which he once relished – don’t taste the same as when he was a kid. “They don’t make ‘em the same anymore,” he laments.

“They don’t make them different,” I counter. “Your taste buds just changed, is all.”

That revelation leads to yet another eye-opener and it occurs to me that just like pork and beans, the atmosphere hasn't changed. Not at all.

I have.

When exactly did the change begin?

But I know.

It was during that summer.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
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    Posted April 1, 2013



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  • Posted May 27, 2012

    Southern Coming of Age Story in 1950

    The summer of 1950 has arrived, and Sadie's parents are in need of a babysitter for her and younger brother Joe for the summer while they work. Sadie's parents work the second shift at a mill. Sadie and her brother are sent to stay for the summer at their paternal grandparents farm in South Carolina. On weekends their parents would visit the farm, often picking up the kids and taking them to the drive-in movie theater. They were a close family, laughter and affection was prominent. On the other hand Sadie's grandmother was a stern stoic no-nonsense person.
    "She was not into sweet-talk. Her dialogue was as plain and unadorned as her battered washboard. Her vocabulary was the same, plain enough for a moron to understand. When she meant 'flighty,' she said 'flighty.' The upside was you never misunderstood her."
    Sadie's father was the 5th of 12 children, grandma was having children while her children were having children. Sadie had an aunt only 1 year older. Aunt Nellie Jane did not have time to squander. Her duties were as full as any adult. Cooking and cleaning and laundry and caring for the farm animals took up most of her day. Although Sadie was given chores as well, she was not an expert as dear Nellie Jane. There were moments that the 2 girls were able to take a break from chores and just be the young adolescent girls they were. Sadie's teenage uncles were usually busy with their father working in the fields.

    Flavors is a coming of age story nestled deep in southern wording and southern culture. The year being 1950, was before technology took away from a child's imagination and outside creativity and pleasures.
    Sadie is a sensitive, articulate, observant, perceptive girl. Her observations are of her grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and their behavior and choices. She ponders them, and then makes decisions about her own life. The title flavors is alluded to often in the book----as she analyzes her surroundings and feelings and compares them to flavors.
    This is a transparent and honest look at other humans. At what mistakes were made, and what can and should be the observer's response----an education in life. During this process of an education in life, a child grows-up.
    Flavors is more than well-written, it is magical. Sadie's story swept me away and I was there, in the stifling humid heat, of 1950 South Carolina. When Sadie felt something, I could as well.
    Emphatically, this is in my top 5 of BEST stories I've read. I loved it that much!

    I recommend this book for any adult, but also feel it is adequate for age 13 and up.
    Yes, it would be a good story for a book club, would give the members ability to discuss their own similar youth.

    Thank you to Emily Sue Harvey and The Story Plant for my free review copy in exchange for an honest review!

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What flavor of life are you in?

    This short book highlights the summer of Sadie's life that she turns the corner into adulthood. It is a quick enjoyable read and brought back memories of my own teenage years in which I spent a lot of time at my best friend's farm. She highlights the title, Flavors, by associating flavors with different seasons of life. Such as: "To me, life is a huge pie, each slice a different flavor. Childhood is definitely lemon. Yet youth cannot completely contain it because a bit of its tanginess pops up still, a half century later." (p19) And when talking about her cousin Conrad: "How quickly my period of grace had expired. But with Conrad, I was totally okay. That was my first whiff of strawberry-flavored pleasure, a prelude to the age of teens." (p33) This book has the capability of bringing nostalgic memories back to mind. Do you associate flavors with different memories?

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