Love, Charlestonby Beth Webb Hart
Charleston's past is full of romance. Does Anne's future hold the same?
Charleston's Anne Brumley has long dreamed of love while ringing the bells at St. Michael's, but those dreams are beginning to fade. Her sister Alisha and cousin Della encourage the thirty-six year old to move somewhere new for a fresh start.
Widower Roy Summerall has happily/b>
Charleston's past is full of romance. Does Anne's future hold the same?
Charleston's Anne Brumley has long dreamed of love while ringing the bells at St. Michael's, but those dreams are beginning to fade. Her sister Alisha and cousin Della encourage the thirty-six year old to move somewhere new for a fresh start.
Widower Roy Summerall has happily ministered to the country folks of Church of the Good Shepherd for years. So why would the Lord call him and his daughter away to Charlestonthe city that Roy remembers from his childhood as pretentious and superficial? Surely the refined congregation of St. Michael's won't accept a reverend with a red neck and a simple faith.
Meanwhile, Anne's sister, Alisha, struggles with her husband's ambition, which seems to be taking him further from their dreams of a happy family. And Cousin Della's former fiance has returned to Charleston, making her wonder if she chose the wrong path when she married her gifted but unemployed-artist husband.
Family, friendship, and faith converge in a beautiful story about how God's transforming love works in the Holy City of Charleston.
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By Beth Webb Hart
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2010 Beth Webb Hart
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Chapter OneThe Reverend Roy Jessup Summerall Jr.
April 3, 2008
Roy's right eyelid began to twitch when he sat down in the small antique chair across from Bishop Boatwright. He pulled at his stiff white collar. It was an XXL, but it fit his thick neck snugly, and he often undid the metal tab toward the end of the day to give himself a little relief. He repositioned his broad frame, and the small chair creaked. Then he rubbed his wide, sweaty palms on his khaki pants and looked up to meet the bishop's gaze.
"Church of the Good Shepherd is thriving, isn't it?"
Roy nodded his head. "I can't tell you what a blessing it is to serve in my hometown, Bishop. It couldn't be better for me and Little Rose." Roy had a thick South Carolina sandhills accent, very different from the slow, round tidewater drawl of Charleston. The sandhills accent was clipped and most of Roy's e and a vowels made the short i sound so that the word heck or hack both sounded like hick. It was the kind of accent folks in the metropolitan areas of the state called country or redneck, and he tried to temper it when he met with the bishop, whose office was at The Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in the center of downtown Charleston.
"Why do you think it's going so well?" The bishop's question seemed more directed to the stack of papers on his desk than to Roy. The old man tugged at his white muttonchops before looking up.
The young priest cleared his throat and puffed up his broad chest. "Well, we keep it simple, I guess. I stick to the Gospel in the pulpit every Sunday, and we pour all that we have into our Alpha Course, which folks have attended from as far afoot as Darlington, Hartsville, and even Florence."
The bishop patted the left pocket of his pressed purple shirt. He wore a large and ornate gold cross around his neck that he kept tucked in his pocket when he wasn't decked out in his heavy robe and ruffles.
Roy looked out of the thick glass panes of the third-floor corner office. It was a Holy City view if he ever saw one, with the largest, most historic steeples in the country dominating the skyline-St. Philip's on Church Street, St. Michael's on the corner of Meeting and Broad, St. Matthew's on upper King, St. John's on Archdale, and the Unitarian church right next door which he had forgotten the name of.
He smiled when he thought of his simple red brick sanctuary, circa 1967, back in Ellijay, with the lettered marquee in the front. This month it read, Distressed? Try This Address! (Every Sunday at 10 a.m.)
He turned back to the bishop, who watched him steadily as if he wanted him to say more. "It's my kind of people at Good Shepherd, sir. The kind I grew up with, and we speak the same language, you know?" He tugged at his collar and smiled. "They trust me, and I know just where they're coming from. Then it's not long before one or another brings in a friend or a neighbor or coworkers ..." The chair creaked as he sat back. "And that's why we've grown, I reckon. 'Cause we know and understand each other."
Bishop Boatwright made a steeple with the tips of his fingers, then he raised his white bushy eyebrows, forming two symmetrical arches. "I called you here because I have a new position I'd like to recommend you for, Reverend."
The twitch in Roy's right eye turned into a flutter. He reached up and rubbed it, then he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his wide knees. "Bishop, you know it's been a tough few years for me personally."
"Of course I do." The bishop squinted. His pale blue eyes shot a sharp look that Roy recognized as a complicated blend of love, concern, and most striking of all, appraisal.
He kept on. "And now Rose and I are hunkered down in Ellijay. She loves her school, and my mama sold the farm and bought a house just down the road from us. Plus, my brother is only ten miles away over in Robbin's Neck." Roy bit his bottom lip hard. "It's been real good for me to be back in my old stomping grounds after losing Jean Lee." He patted the left side of his chest. "I feel like the Lord's had his hand on my heart, and he's been binding it up."
"Undoubtedly." The bishop balled his right hand into a fist, his large, gold ecclesiastical ring catching the afternoon light. Roy had been a second-string offensive guard for Clemson University before he became an Episcopal priest, and the bishop's gold band always reminded him of a Super Bowl ring. This made him chuckle a little, imagining Bishop Boatwright at the ten-yard line giving some defender the Heisman before running toward the goal.
Bishop Boatwright held out his fist and leaned forward. "You know what happens after you receive healing, son?"
Roy wasn't sure how to answer this. Was it a theological question or a personal one? He wasn't bookish like the bishop; he just knew the Holy Spirit and felt its daily presence like the air his lungs inhaled or the soft light that fell on his face on his morning walk to work.
"Sir?" he said.
"It's been my experience these short seventy-six years"- the bishop pounded his fist twice on the arm of his chair-"that after you receive healing, the Lord calls you out to a new frontier." He pursed his pink lips and leaned forward. "He takes that fresh strength and puts it to a new test."
Roy tilted his square chin. He was a big, handsome fellow with a head full of thick brown hair and dark brown eyes to match. Bishop Boatwright had confirmed him when he was twelve years old. And he'd ordained him the same year his wife died some fifteen years later. Both times he had laid his stubby hands on Roy's head full of hair, his gold ring rubbing against the boy's scalp, blessing the holy ceremony with the presence of the Almighty One he represented. The truth was, this man was in authority over Roy, and like Saul on the road to Damascus, there was no use kicking against the goads. He exhaled and uttered a prayer of mercy. "What did you have in mind, sir?"
"Phil Rainey is retiring this spring."
Phil Rainey, Phil Rainey, Phil Rainey. Roy ran the vaguely familiar name through his mind as he thought about the other churches in the middle part of the state. The only Phil Rainey he knew was the rector of St. Michael's in the center of downtown Charleston. The fancy old church on the corner of Meeting and Broad where his Aunt Elfrieda used to drag him during his miserable summer visits.
Roy reached up to steady his right eyelid again. "I'm ... you don't mean ...?"
Bishop Boatwright nodded. "Yes. St. Michael's here in Charleston. I'd like to recommend you to their search committee." He looked toward his desk as if his mind had already concerned itself with his next appointment. "I think you could be the man for the job, Reverend Summerall."
Roy felt the burn of perspiration beneath his arms. He blinked several times and set his jaw. "With all due respect, Bishop, I'm not the kind of fellow that can lead a Charleston church, especially a South of Broad one." He looked around the room at the shelves and shelves of books as if to find proof. Then he pointed to his mouth. "Just listen to my accent."
The bishop turned back and cocked his head in curiosity.
"Or this." Now that Roy had the bishop's attention, he smiled and pushed a little bit of his tongue through the gap between his two front teeth. "I need braces."
The bishop furrowed his bushy brows and Roy continued, counting off the examples like a verdict.
"I drive an all-terrain vehicle on the weekends, I go to the races for fun, I wear gold jewelry. Heck, I even vacation at Myrtle Beach by my own choice." Then Roy said with a firm whisper, "Bishop, did you know that I have a tattoo of a Clemson tiger paw on my right shoulder?" He rolled his shoulder forward at the mention of it. He had dislocated it his junior year, and his senior year he had torn so many tendons that he had to have an operation. It still gave him a fit. "Sir, I wouldn't know the first thing about ministering to those 'mind your manners' and 'just where do your people come from?' folks."
The bishop took his time standing up, then ambled over to his desk where he thumbed through his stack of papers. "You spent your boyhood summers in Charleston, as I recall." He glanced toward Roy, who was peering out of the window at St. Michael's massive white steeple with its clock tower and weather vane and one-ton bells that had called the city to worship since before the Revolutionary War. He remembered reading about how the steeple was painted black during those days so the British ships wouldn't spot it. Only it backfired. The black made the church all the more noticeable from the harbor, and the troops were quick to ransack it.
"They were the worst summers of my life." Roy rotated his right shoulder again. "My brother, Chick, and I were treated pretty harshly by the local kids." Roy could still hear Heyward Rutledge calling him a "Neanderthal" when he asked the fellow's crush to dance at one of the Friday night parties at East Bay Playground. He'd had to go home and look that word up in Aunt Elfrieda's encyclopedia, and then he had to take the scientific definition and translate it into the slang.
The bishop chuckled. He sniffed the air and scratched his muttonchops.
Then he looked down at Roy and whole seconds passed before he nodded once. "You might be just the man for the job, Reverend. I want you to be open and trust me in this. I'm going to recommend you to the search committee and the vestry, and you'll be hearing from them."
Roy sat back in his chair as though he had been hit by a three-hundred-pound nose guard. The chair seemed to waver, and for a moment, he thought it might collapse under his weight. He pictured Rose, his five-year-old daughter, curled up in Mama's lap on the front porch this morning. Charleston was the last place he wanted to raise her. Jean Lee was gone. Why in the world would the bishop, why would the Lord even, want him to entertain this outlandish idea?
The bishop bowed his head and started to pray, but Roy didn't hear the words. When he heard the old man say, "Amen," he stood and firmly shook the bishop's hand. Then he got back in his pickup and drove quickly down Interstate 26 toward Interstate 95 where the live oaks and palmettos gave way to the scrub pines and the flat lands of the only place, this side of heaven, he ever wanted to call home.
* * *
What did high-and-mighty have to say?" His mama was sporting her new rhinestone-encrusted flip-flop heels and white shorts too short for a sixty-five-year-old woman. She was flipping pancakes on his griddle while her new husband, Donny, and Roy's office manager, Skeeter, sipped coffee at the kitchen counter.
"Breakfast for dinner, Daddy!" Little Rose abandoned her piano-playing in the den and ran into his arms. He picked her up and squeezed her tight, overcome as he often was by how her little embrace soothed his very soul like the balm of Gilead.
Mama turned down the eye of the stove and stacked three fluffy pancakes on a plastic Dora the Explorer plate. She coated each one with a thick pat of butter and set them on the little round table in the corner of the room.
"Enjoy 'em while they're warm, Rosebud," she said. "This is a one-plate-at-a-time meal, and I'll do your daddy's next so y'all can overlap."
"What's news around the church house?" Roy massaged his bum shoulder and looked to Skeeter, who blew a bubble with the pink gum she always seemed to be gnawing on. He watched the bubble deflate as she pulled four white slips from her Day-Timer. "Here are the messages, but the most pressing matter is Brother Jackson."
Roy winced, his dark brown eyes narrowing. "He looked real good a couple of days ago."
"Well, hospice told Mrs. Jackson that they figured that was a last burst of energy. They think the end is near."
Roy nodded and looked at his watch. "I'll take him the Eucharist tonight."
"Can I go too?" Rose said. She was dipping a fork-full into a pool of syrup she had poured right on Dora's oversized head.
Rose loved Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, who used to sing in the choir until they found cancer in his pancreas. And she often made sick visits with Roy. She was no stranger to Ellijay Memorial and the Darlington County Hospice Center or the Robbins Neck Funeral Home for that matter, and the nurses and caretakers usually set aside a lollipop or some other little trinket from the dollar store in anticipation of her next pastoral visit.
He nodded yes as Mama handed him a stack of pancakes.
"What did Bishop Boatwright want, son?"
"He wants to recommend me for a job ..." Roy shook his head in disbelief as his kitchen got real still. "In downtown Charleston, of all places."
Mama's eyes widened. "The Holy City!" She clicked her long, silver fingernails together and winked at Rose. "Now wouldn't that be something!"
"Charleston?" Rose's eyes lit up. Her granny had taken her there once and bought her a pair of red, glittery shoes. "Oh, that's my dream city, Daddy!"
Roy pushed his pancakes aside. He turned to Donny. "Why do all females go ga-ga at the mere mention of Charleston?"
Donny shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
Jean Lee used to love Charleston, too, Roy now recalled. She'd begged him to take her to some historic bed-and-breakfast on their first anniversary, and he had complied, though he didn't care much at all for the squeaky old bed or the ridiculously high rate or the bathroom down the hall that they had to share with four other guests.
"Don't get too excited, gals," he said. "I don't think the bishop has really thought this thing through. And if it was up to me, we'd never leave Ellijay." He gently laid his paper napkin over his plate. "I'm going to run over to the church to get what we need for Brother Jackson's Communion."
"Well, who is it up to?" Rose said. Skeeter popped her bubble gum and Mama cocked her head, her big, amply-sprayed hair shifting in one cohesive clump.
Roy shook his head like an exasperated teacher and pointed upward with his index finger. "Now who do y'all think?"
* * *
Late that evening after administering the Eucharist to Mr. Jackson, who the hospice folks predicted would meet his Maker within the next forty-eight hours, Roy lifted Rose out of the pickup and tucked her into bed.
Then he went to the hall closet where he kept Jean Lee's stuff. He often came in here late at night and took comfort in the touch of her shimmery blouses, her cowboy boots, and the sweaters folded neatly on the shelf above that still contained just the faintest hint of her sweet and powdery scent.
He thought about Bishop Boatwright and his surprising request to submit his name to the search committee of what was arguably one of the oldest, stuffiest, most affluent churches in the whole diocese. He didn't want to minister in some historic monument where the parishioners might shudder with disdain at his country accent or shoo him out with the business end of the broom the way Aunt Elfrieda did when he forgot to put the napkin in his lap during one of her Sunday afternoon dinners. Truth was, he couldn't even imagine relating to those folks. It was a ridiculous idea. Maybe Bishop Boatwright was slipping as he tilted toward retirement. Maybe he was downright delusional.
Roy tucked his hands into the satin-lined pockets of the pink leather jacket Jean Lee bought on a vacation they took to Six Flags in Atlanta. She had stood in front of the three-sided mirror at one of those strip malls on the outskirts of the city and said, "Tell the truth now, Roy. Is this too much for a future priest's wife?"
"Nah," he said. "It's you, baby." And it was. It fit her in all the right spots, and he knew in his heart that God wanted her to be herself-lipstick, teased bangs, and all-like the first day he laid eyes on her in the parking lot of Ellijay High just days after his sixteenth birthday.
It had taken years to get used to life without her. And he was just beginning to feel (after much urging from his mama and daughter) that he could maybe meet someone one of these days. He had even thought about asking Skeeter out but the bubble gum bothered him, and he just never seemed to get around to it. Maybe now was the time. Or maybe now he was ready to meet some of those daughters and nieces the ladies at church kept trying to introduce him to.
Roy's unspoken hopes were becoming clearer in his heart and mind. And they were these: that he might love again and expand his family right here in Ellijay with his mama down the street and his brother, Chick, and their lively brood just a few miles away.
"My life is here, Lord," Roy said as he buried his face in the pink leather jacket. "Don't allow this to be taken away too."
Excerpted from Love, Charleston by Beth Webb Hart Copyright © 2010 by Beth Webb Hart. 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.
Meet the Author
Beth Webb Hart, a South Carolina native, is the best-selling author of Grace at Low Tide and The Wedding Machine.She serves as a speaker and creative writing instructor at schools, libraries, and churches throughout the region, and she has received two national teaching awards from Scholastic, Inc.Hart lives with her husband and their family in Charleston.
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It's kind of hard to write a review of this book without giving anything away, so forgive me if I'm vague. Just know this was an awesome book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good story that's build on solid morals. There is so much that I love about the book, starting with the writing. Some Christian writing is, well, just plain bad. It's either preachy or cheesy, and sometimes both. But Love, Charleston is neither -- it's quality writing with good dialogue (yes, I'm a stickler for dialogue!) that keeps you reading. Because the writing is good, you see the message of love and friendship and most of all, of listening and waiting on God come through. Another reason to love this book? The characters. Not only does bad writing drive me batty, but so do characters who are flat and/or fake. Neither of those things will happen with Love, Charleston. Be warned: there's one character you probably won't like. This person raised my hackles from the get-go. While I didn't like his or her actions, I will say this: sometimes, good writing makes you dislike a character. Bravo to Beth Webb Hart for making me both love and dislike the characters as they came alive on the page for me. I think this is a great novel for someone who is a new Christian primarily because of the writing and it's lack of in-your-face-hellfire-and-brimstone. It's gentle, it's loving, it's good, and it all leads back to a God who loves us and has magnificent plans for every one of us. The last line on the back of the book says it best: "Family, friendship, and faith converge in a beautiful story about how God's transforming love works in the Holy City of Charleston." God's transforming love indeed.
Being a romantic I couldn't wait to receive my copy of Love, Charleston. However opening the pages I grew greatly disappointed as I found myself rereading pages due to the detailed work of the author. Hart finds herself overkilling the development of each character and the activity of the scene. I do not need to know the color, make and model, and the year of the truck a neighbor is driving as well as what he or she is wearing as they wave hello to the main character. I had to put this book down several times to take a breather from the details. Although the story line is good, where this book should have been an easy read, it ended up being tiring.
This is a book about real life happy endings. This book went from a story about your divine destiny to the greatest story of how with the support of loved ones and faith you can overcome anything. It starts with the story of Roy, a widower and small town pastor asked to offer his guidance at a large well to do church that he fears he can't connect with. His strong belief in a greater plan leads him to accept the challenge of going where he was not comfortable, but led him to find love again. The story of one sister, Anne, who as a bell-ringer for St. Michael's church in Charleston believed God spoke to her one day, telling her to "stay and wait" for her true love. So, wait she does even when those around her try to make her doubt her unquestioning faith. Then there is Anne's cousin Della, a wife and mother struggling with the stress that lack of money can put on your relationship and happiness. The lingering doubts that she chose the right man. The distance that can separate spouses when they don't clasp to their connection with each other when times are tough. Though as this story shows the grass isn't always greener on the other side. It also portrays Anne's sister life that from the outside looks like a picture perfect life. After an emergency c-section with her 3rd pregnancy Lish falls into a deep depression. Her battle with postpartum depression and the heart breaking way it takes over her life pulls at the reader. The strength of love, faith and unflinching support illustrated in this book left me hopeful about humanity. I feel that no matter how many times I read this book I will come away with a different insight into faith and love, all depending on what I am facing in life. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review BookSneeze.com, but I am under no obligation to give a positive review, just an honest one.
Love, Charleston by Beth Webb Hart is a story of love, friendship, hardship, and the importance of listening to God's leading voice. This book takes you on a journey through the four main characters' eyes, and shows you that no matter how different their lives may be they truly need each other to make their lives complete. Although this book was basically a narrative of four different people's lives, it was riveting. There was just enough suspense and entertainment to make this book hard to put down! The book really displayed a few key facts - 1. no matter how perfect some body's life may appear on the outside, it may not truly be perfect, and they need love just like anyone else. 2. that sometimes what we take for granted, and wish away, is actually the glue that holds us together. 3. that love and friendship sustain us in good and bad times. 4. that if we listen to God's voice and let him lead us, we will never go wrong. Disclaimer: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not asked to write a positive review, but simply, an honest one.
Love, Charleston by Beth Webb Hart is a romantic novel that follows the lives of several people. Sisters Anne and Lish and cousin Della live in Charleston. Lish has a seemingly perfect life as far as Della can see. She is married to a doctor and pregnant with their third child. But after a preterm birth, Lish falls into a deep depression made worse by her husbands leaving her and filing for separation. Della who is married to an artist struggles just to pay the bills and secretly toys with the idea of leaving her husband for a financially stable ex. Anne is still single but believes God has told her to "stay and wait" for her future husband in Charleston. Della and Anne pull together to take care of Lish during the dark time of her depression. Della and her family move in with Lish to help with her children. Mean while a new widowed minister, Roy Summerall, has received a job offer to move from his small country church to a prestigious church in Charleston. He moves his daughter and himself there for what could be a fresh start. That's when he meets Anne and a love starts to develop between the two. I really enjoyed this book. It was able to grasp the desperation and pain felt with mental illness and with being unhappy in your life and wanting more. It showed that you can find happiness but it's not always easy to come by. The book was sweet, sentimental and at time heart wrenching but I really enjoyed it.
Love, Charleston by Beth Webb Hart is a book of dreams and hope, family and friendship. Widowed Preacher, Roy Summerall is the minister of a small church, raising his daughter and living with his mom, all is peaceful and settled until he receives a phone call from a church in Charleston. A very large, historical church in Charleston wants to interview Roy for a position in their church, while this is a great honor, Roy does not exactly jump for joy at the thought of ministering to the refined folks of Charleston. Imagine his dismay when he is told he has the job....his lack of excitement is made up for by his daughter as well as his mother who both come to live with him in Charleston. Not to be outdone, there are some formidable characters in this story, Anne, Alisha and Della all have problems of their own and become a part of Roy's new life when he begins writing to Anne, who has gone to England to learn bell ringing. Alisha's husband has a serious lack of ambition which drives Alisha crazy and towards other interests and Della...well she has some mighty big problems of her own. This is a story about several people who will work their ways into your heart, they all have a love of God which becomes very important in their daily struggles. I really enjoyed this book, it had a bit of a different 'flavor' than some of the other books I have been reading. A very enjoyable light read. *Thomas Nelson publishing provided a complimentary copy of this book for me to review, my opinion is solely my own.
Love, Charleston is a book about finding love, finding yourself, and finding God. Each chapter is from the perspective of the various characters showing how they have questioned much of what is going on in their lives and how they have overcome their struggles with the help of each other and of course with a little help from the big man upstairs. The book centers around the relationship between Lish, Anne and Della who are not only family but best friends. Each woman has their own life, yet they are all still intertwined and part of one bigger picture that includes all of them no matter where their life journeys take them. I had a really hard time starting to read this book and it wasn't until I was about 75 or so pages in that I decided that I actually did like the book. I don't know if I had trouble with it because this is not a book that I would typically read or if it was just slow to start off. What I do know is that I'm glad I stuck with reading it, because in the end I really enjoyed it. While reading it at times I would find myself in shock and disbelief, and other times I was overcome with joy for the characters. The more into it I got the more I felt for the characters and the more I felt like I knew them. Overall this ended up being a really good book and I think anyone who has ever questioned their faith should check it out because well it makes you see how God has a plan for all of us and how everything will somehow work itself out in the end. Note: I received a free copy of this book from www.booksneeze.com to review, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.
I was amazed at how much I enjoyed Love, Charleston by Beth Webb Hart. At first, it was frustrating, mostly due to my own ridiculousness and silly assumptions...I just assumed that this book was historical fiction, and let's be honest, a lot of Charleston fiction is historical. Plus the cover just made me assume! (A reading strategy I discourage my students against but fell prey to, oops.) Anyway, I reread the first chapter after seeing mention of the Super Bowl and thinking, "wait, when was the first Super Bowl?" Oops, my bad. I ended up having to reread most of the first three or four chapters and memorizing the back cover so I could figure out who everyone was in relation to each other. Besides my struggles at the beginning, I came to really appreciate this book for its slow action and relatable characters. I empathized with Della, a character who feels trapped by financial worries, but found peace in her resolution. I was angry with the characters who seemed to be throwing their lives away, and not altogether pleased with the story's ending as it seemed somewhat rushed; some characters seemed to be left with loose ends. Overall, it was a pleasant read and I enjoyed the story. Thanks to booksneeze.com for the review copy. My review was honest and true to my own opinion. I appreciate the good books you publish!
Thomas Nelson gave me a copy of LOVE, CHARLESTON by Beth Webb Hart. The story takes place in - yup, you guessed it - Charlestown. The first family you meet is Roy and his daughter Rose. Rose's mother passed away and since then, Roy has been having a hard time with life. He is a small town Reverend who is recommended for a position at Saint Michael's, an ancient and prestigious church in Charlestown. He doesn't want to take the job, but eventually gives in because he feels like it is his calling. Those at Saint Michael's are wary, yet accepting, and he soon feels right at home, along with his daughter, who is excited to live in a Big City. The second family belongs to Lish, her sister Anne, and their cousin Della. Lish's baby comes early and results in post-partum depression. It becomes so severe that Lish considers suffocating the baby and begins to fall apart. Lish's husband leaves her for a new job, and as she declines deeper into depression, he files for separation. Della is having trouble finding money. Her artist husband is unreliable for income and she wants what is best for their daughter. She considers leaving her husband for an old, and successful, flame, but eventually decides to stay together as a family. Anne is seeking love, and finds it for Roy. They all find happiness staying with Lish, helping her find mental peace while taking care of her children. The story is touching and hard to put down.
Sisters Anne and Lish with their cousin Della all live in Charleston. They've been close all their lives and Lish lives in their childhood home with her husband and two kids. Married to a doctor and pregnant with their third child, Lish has the life Della secretly longs for. With a daughter of her own, she's married to a handsome sculptor but most days they make enough money to barely get by. Anne is still single but believes God spoke to her, telling her to "stay and wait" for her future husband in Charleston. Lish suffers complications from her pregnancy and gives birth to her baby when she's seven and a half months pregnant. Both mother and daughter are fine but it's when she's sent home that things began to slowly creep downhill. Lish falls into a state of depression, having to be admitted to the psychiatric ward at the hospital. Her husband tells her she needs to pull through this because he's been offered a job in Atlanta and he feels he can't pass the opportunity up. It takes Della and Anne taking care of Lish for her to finally start to pull through the fog she's been living in. Her husband files for divorce and Della and her family move in with Lish to help with her children. All during this time of family upheaval, a new minister moves into Charleston with his daughter. He's a widower and is hoping that this might be a fresh start for him. It's when he meets Anne that he wants to give dating another try after so long. The last page of the book has everyone together, Della deciding if whether the way their lives have taken a turn can be deemed as a happy ending. "Is this is a happy ending? Della asked herself as she watched her daughter suck the meat of the loquat and reach for another. And then she turned to see Lish, who took Cecilia in her arms and kissed her cheek and neck before rocking her back and forth. Della watched her cousin's hands. They seemed sturdy and capable as they took hold of the toddler, as if to confirm through the sense of touch what every child longed to hear from their parent: "Yes, my little one. I am here for you." Della took a deep breath as Lish lifted Cecelia up into the sky, the sun filtering through her plump little toes. Yes, Della thought as Anne nudged her elbow and handed her a loquat. This is. I liked the way the book didn't end with a conventional "happy ending." I didn't like how Hart seemed to barely touch on everyone's story without really fleshing out the characters. You know what Della's going through but it seems as though she and Lish are the dominant characters. I like how real Della and Lish are but I wanted to know more about Roy (the minister) and Anne. At times it seemed the solutions the women were going through could be found in each other instead of God but overall, a good read. Note: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers and was not required to write a positive review.
Love, Charleston, written by Beth Hart, is a love story set in Charleston, SC. The story is told from the perspective of several different characters. Anne, Lish, Della, and Roy are characters whose lives prove that God works in mysterious and sometimes, mischievous ways. The setting just adds to the romance of this story. As stated before, I am not generally a fan of Christian fiction just because I feel that sometimes the stories are unrealistic. This romance had side stories of family dynamics that mimic real life situations. Sometimes, trusting God to be in control your life will take you to places you'd rather not go. However, even though in real life there is not always a happy ending, God's plan is the best plan. I enjoyed getting to know the characters in Love, Charleston. I also enjoyed visiting their houses and knowing their children. This is written in a style that I enjoy reading. I would like to know more about these friends that I have made over the past few days. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a quick, easy read - perfect for that day at the beach or maybe beside the fireplace on a cool autumn evening.
Love, Charleston chronicles the lives of Anna Brumley, her cousin Della Limehouse and her sister Dr. Alisha Sutton, as they all deal with different life changes. Rev. Roy Summerall, a widow, is called upon by the Lord to movie to a Charleston with his daughter. Roy recalls the Charleston being superficial. Why would he move there? Anna is getting closer to 40 and has just moved to Charleston to find a fresh start and hopefully a husband. Her sister Alisha struggles with her husband's problems, and tries to raise her children. And her cousin Della has lots of problems of her own. Della's husband is unemployed. She has to go back to teaching to pay the bills and give up on her dream of being of writer. This was a delightful read for me. All of the characters seem real. They had day-to-day problems like everyone else. Anna, Della and Alisha stay close to each other, and support one another in time of crises. My favorite character would have to be Della. No matter what setbacks she had, she continued her dream of writing a novel. I recommend this book to all readers.
When I first started reading "Love, Charleston" I did not expect to be impressed. On the surface, it looked like a love/family drama story with a little Christianity mixed in. Once I began reading, I could not put it down. While the story does follow the basic pattern I expected, widower pastor finds love at the church he wasn't sure he wanted to preach at, the story also brings in some real world, and unexpected, concerns. As a mom who has struggled with post-partum depression, I was brought to tears by one of the character's harrowing experience. The story also finds several characters dealing with the repercussions of adultery. While the characters are good citizens and fine Christians, they become "real" to the reader, because they are not perfect. Their struggles ring true and there is something we can relate to. In the story, Pastor Roy Summerall leaves his small town church to be the pastor of a major Charleston congregation. He is a widower who has been raising his daughter alone for five years. He is not sure he will "fit in" in Charleston because of his "good ole' boy" country ways. In Charleston, he reconnects with sisters Anne and Lish, and their cousin Della, whom he knew as a child. Anne is a never married bell ringer at his church in Charleston, Lish is a doctor turned stay at home mommy blogger, and Della is a struggling writer who makes ends meet by teaching English at a posh all girl's school. The characters become real through their struggles. Roy must learn to love the congregation he had resented as a youth. Anne must question her faith and the promise she received from God that she would find a husband if she would just "stay and wait." Lish, who my all accounts, is a perfect super-mom finds herself in a battle with severe post-partum depression bordering psychosis, and a philandering husband. Della, who thinks she can provide a better life for herself and her daughter by leaving her husband for her former fiance finds that love and faith can truly conquer all. Roy and Anne find themselves falling in love through a series of letters and emails, while they both help Lish with her mental problems. I enjoyed seeing the characters evolve and grow, however the story feels unfinished. The end leaves us still wondering about Roy and Anne's future, about Lish's recovery, about Della's new book. The story is strong until the last chapter, which feels as though it was rushed for resolution. Overall though, I enjoyed "Love, Charleston." Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Love, Charlston by Beth Hart is a story set in Charleston, South Carolina."Stay and wait." Anne Brumley heard these words years ago in the bell tower at Saint Michael's Church in Charleston. She's certain they were from God and has been waiting for true love ever since. But her sister, Della, and their cousin, Alicia, have their doubts. Could Anne have misunderstood His calling? Saint Michael's new rector may be the answer to Anne's prayers. Good-old-boy and widower Roy Summerall can't believe he's been called to pastor such an historical and a decidedly rich congregation. He can't possibly measure up to their expectations. It will take a miracle of extraordinary love to provide a happy ending for each of these four Charleston friends.
What if you heard voices somewhere, telling you that you should wait for your true love? Love, Charleston is a book about faith, and believing in God's words. This story is about Anne, set in the romantic surrounding of small town called Charleston, South Carolina. "Stay and wait" That is the word that has been haunting Anne when she was in the bell tower at Saint Michael's Church in Charleston. Certain that the message is from God, she stayed and wait for her true love in Charleston, South Carolina. However, sister, Della, and their cousin, Alicia, have their doubts, and was certain that Anne was just hearing things and was being silly by following what her heart tells her to do. Is it true? could Anne have misunderstood His calling? Should she leave the small town and pursue her life like the rest of the people in Charleston? Or should she wait for her true love there, no matter what it takes? This is a story about having faith in not only God, but also in yourself. Anne was determined to wait, no matter at what cost, and so she waited, despite of the words of others. Would Anne's wait come to an end? Will she find true love in Charleston after all? I won't give the story away. This is quite a good read. good for a lazy Sunday afternoon where you want to do nothing but just read something light and inspiring. Love, Charleston by Beth Hart certainly will whisk you away into the land of hope, and teaches you to believe in what your heart says, and not the others. Would I recommend this book to others? Yes, I would, but only to those who likes a leisure pace in a story. I rate this book, 3 star out of 5. I received this advance copy book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Booksneeze bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and therefore, the book review is 100% my own opinion.