Sunrise on the Battery

( 21 )

Overview

She wanted her husband to attend the town’s society-driven church. God answered her prayer in a radical way.

An emptiness dogs Mary Lynn Scoville. But it shouldn’t.

After all, she’s achieved what few believed possible. Born in the rural south, she has reached the pinnacle of worldly success in Charleston, South Carolina. Married to a handsome real estate developer and mother to three accomplished daughters, ...

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Overview

She wanted her husband to attend the town’s society-driven church. God answered her prayer in a radical way.

An emptiness dogs Mary Lynn Scoville. But it shouldn’t.

After all, she’s achieved what few believed possible. Born in the rural south, she has reached the pinnacle of worldly success in Charleston, South Carolina. Married to a handsome real estate developer and mother to three accomplished daughters, Mary Lynn is one Debutante Society invitation away from truly having it all.

And yet, it remains—an emptiness that no shopping trip, European vacation, or social calendar can fill.

When a surprise encounter leads her to newfound faith, Mary Lynn longs to share it with her husband. But Jackson wrote God off long ago.

Mary Lynn prays for him on Christmas Eve . . . and her husband undergoes a life-altering Damascus Road experience. As Jackson begins to take the implications of the Gospel literally, Mary Lynn feels increasingly isolated from her husband . . . and betrayed by God. She only wanted Jackson beside her at church on Sunday mornings, not some Jesus freak who evangelizes prostitutes and invites the homeless to tea.

While her husband commits social suicide and the life they worked so hard for crumbles around them, Mary Lynn wonders if their marriage can survive. Or if perhaps there really is a more abundant life that Jackson has discovered, richer than any she’s ever dreamed of.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hart (Love, Charleston) writes inspirational fiction that leaves readers pondering the subtly expressed life lessons well after the final chapter. In her newest novel, she develops a very likable married couple with three daughters who have finally “arrived.” Mary Lynn and Jackson Scoville have happily worked their way from financial and social obscurity into the socioeconomic elite of Charleston, S.C. When Mary Lynn realizes an unexpected answer to a prayer offered on her behalf, she starts praying for Jackson to find God, too. As is often the case, answered prayers look different from what has been asked. Jackson does indeed find God, and when he does, life is turned upside down, leaving Mary Lynn disconcerted and angry. It takes yet another miracle to repair the hurt in the Scoville family’s lives, but Hart manages to make even the unlikely a real possibility in this richly written tale of discovering faith. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595542007
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 447,853
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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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Read an Excerpt

Sunrise ON THE Battery


By BETH WEBB HART

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Beth Webb Hart
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59554-200-7


Chapter One

Mary Lynn ScoviLLe

December 24, 2009

It was the morning before Christmas, and Mary Lynn was preparing for her sunrise jog around the tip of the Charleston Peninsula. She stretched her thighs and calves in the gray light of her piazza, then bounded out of her South Battery home, traveling west toward the coast guard station like she did every morning as part of her effort to "finally get back in shape" since her fortieth birthday, six short months ago.

By the time she reached Tradd Street, the gray had turned to a soft, creamy light, and she hung a left and rounded the corner onto Murray Boulevard where she traced the west tip of the peninsula as buoys bobbed in the churning water of the harbor and pelicans—beak first, wings pulled tight against their large prehistoric bodies—dove for breakfast in a thrilling kind of free fall.

At her husband Jackson's strong suggestion, she stayed clear of the darkened cars parked along the edge of the waterway leading up to White Point Gardens. Unseemly characters gathered along the water's edge at night and often fell asleep there, not to mention the handful of homeless folks who made their berths on park benches. There had been a murder in one of the cars last year as well as a rape, but the light was too high in the sky for any of that now. As her friend from her bluegrass days, Scottie Truluck, boldly proclaimed the day after someone broke into her house and took off with her laptop and her sterling silver tea set, you couldn't let fear get in the way of your city life.

Mary Lynn hit her stride, as usual, at the High Battery as a lone sailboat with little blinking white Christmas lights encircling its mast pushed through the choppy water. She felt her heart rate rising and she became conscious of her breathing, so she attempted to take her mind off of her workout and the pounding of the pavement on her knees by going through her to-do list for the day as she passed the Carolina Yacht Club where Jackson had been offered a membership after his second time through the application process. Hot dog! An invitation to join this exclusive, tight-knit club was a kind of proof that they had been officially accepted by Charleston society. Not an easy feat in this historic southern city that, after two brutal wars and a depression that stretched on for half a century, had good reason to be wary of outsiders. Of course, they both knew they had Mark Waters—an older friend with hometown ties—to thank for this and many of the doors that had been opened to them.

Still, Mark didn't run the entire city (especially not the old-Charleston set) no matter how deep his pockets, and the yacht club membership meant that they had finally passed some sort of insider's test after their move to the city ten years ago. And that, along with the invitation Mary Lynn received last year to join the Charlestowne Garden Club and another to serve as chairman of the board of the old and prestigious Peninsula Day School, made her feel like this truly was their home. Their real home. She smiled even as she panted. She and Jackson, two country bumpkins from Meggett, South Carolina, were somehow making their way into Charleston society. Who'd have ever thunk it?

But that wasn't even the primary goal for Jackson, who was the sharpest, most focused man Mary Lynn had ever known. The real goal for him (and he had written it down and asked her to put it in her jewelry box in an envelope marked "family mission statement") was to give their three girls the life he and Mary Lynn never had. This meant a top-rate education, exposure and immersion in the fine arts, and frequent opportunities to see the big wide world beyond the Carolina lowcountry or the United States for that matter.

"Not just education, baby—cultivation," he would say as they lay side by side in their four-poster antique bed purchased on King Street for a pretty penny, Jackson resting some classic novel he should have read in high school on his chest. Then Mary Lynn would look up from the Post and Courier or Southern Living or lately, the little black leather Bible Scottie had given her after the birthday luncheon meltdown, and smile.

Every time Mary Lynn and Jackson discussed their children, she had an image of her husband tilling the soil of their daughters' minds and dropping down the little seeds like he did every spring growing up on his daddy's farm. "Just like the tomaters, darlin'," he'd say in his exaggerated country accent. "Only now it is little intellects that will one day be big as cantaloupes!"

A pretty lofty mission. But a worthy one, Mary Lynn supposed. Though sometimes she grew nervous that he rode the girls too hard with their school work and over scheduled them with extracurricular activities—strings lessons, writing workshops, ballet, and foreign language. They sure didn't have much time to lollygag or linger or strike out on an adventure as she had as a child roaming the corn fields on her uncle's farm, climbing trees, building forts, or spending the night in a sleeping bag beneath a blanket of stars. Despite her mama's missteps and mean old Mrs. Gustafson, who made sure the whole town knew every little detail about them, Mary Lynn had a sanctuary on her uncle's farm. Much of her childhood she was ignorantly blissful of all the trouble and the gossip that surrounded her family as she played hide-and-seek in the corn husks with her mama, running fast through the papery leaves that gently slapped her face. Then crouching down as she heard the sweet voice of her only parent call, "Ready or not, here I come!"

But Mary Lynn had to acknowledge the fruit of Jackson's labors. Thanks to his staying after them, the girls were well on their way to mastering a stringed instrument and they could carry on a conversation (and for their oldest, read a novel) in French and Spanish. Imagine!

Who would have guessed the upward turn their lives would take after Jackson's daddy's death revealed the little real estate gems up and down the South Carolina coast he had inherited from a great uncle? The timing was right and Jackson had been shrewd. He turned to Mark Waters, who showed him just how to go about it. This was in the early '90s, well before the economic downturn, and Jackson sold each piece of property for five and even ten times what his great uncle had paid for it. Then he bought more land, bought several low-end housing projects Mark introduced him to, invested in some of Mark's big commercial and condo development ventures, and did the same year-in and year-out for more than a decade as the market soared.

"Boy, you picked wisely," Mama had said the first time she came to visit them at their new home on South Battery. She narrowed her eyes and looked up at Mary Lynn. "'Course I thought Mark was going to gnash his teeth when he got a gander at the skinny farm boy you had fallen for."

"Mama, Mark was married by that point."

"Not that nuptials ever meant much to the Waters clan." She winked, then shook her head. Mary Lynn guessed her mama was thinking of her own engagement to Mark's father, who had proposed after she ran his office for years. They never did make it to the altar. "But you saw something in Jackson no one else took the time to see, smart girl." Then she walked carefully over to the portrait of some eighteenth-century British gentleman that their decorator had insisted they purchase for the foyer, rubbed the corner of its gilded frame, and shook her head in disbelief before turning back. "You saw the man in the boy, didn't you?"

Mary Lynn had smiled. Then she walked over and kissed her mama's made-up cheek. It felt cool like putty.

"I was just lucky, Mama." And that was the truth. Jackson was the only boy in town she ever dated, though Mark Waters had told her more than once he'd wait for her to grow up. Of course, she wasn't surprised that he didn't.

Her mama had nodded her head as she walked into the foyer and rested her hand on the grand staircase's large pineapple finial. Then she gazed up the three flights of intricately trimmed hardwood stairs, clucked her tongue, and said, "Everybody gets lucky sometimes, I reckon."

Now if Jackson stuck with Mark and played it right, he might not have to work for the rest of his life, and he and Mary Lynn would leave a pretty penny to their girls someday. With financial security and intellects as big as cantaloupes, what more could their daughters need?

But back to the to-do list. Mary Lynn still had a few presents to wrap, and she needed to polish the silver serving pieces for the "show and tell" tea party they had hosted every Christmas afternoon for the last eight years. Jackson, who had taken up the cello a few years ago, was trying to get their three daughters to perform a movement from a Haydn string quartet (Opus 20, no. 4 in D major, second movement to be exact), and he had played the slow and somber piece on the CD player so many times over the last month that Mary Lynn found that she was waking up from her sleep with the notes resounding in her head.

She'd never really known of Haydn; she never knew a lick about classical music until they moved to Charleston and started going to the symphony and the Spoleto Festival events. Eventually they became supporters of the symphony and the College of Charleston's music department, and now she found she could recognize a few pieces by ear, though in all honesty, she always daydreamed when she went to a concert. Sometimes it would be over, the audience would be standing for their ovation, and she'd be lost in thought about shelling butter beans on the back porch with Aunt Josey or sitting by Uncle Dale in the rocking chairs as he tuned his mandolin before they started in on "Man of Constant Sorrow" or "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" with him singing low and Mary Lynn singing the dissonant high lonesome sound while she twirled and twirled around. Uncle Dale said she had a voice that was pure sugar and more moves than a croker sack full of eels. And once when Mark Waters and his daddy, Cecil, were over, Cecil teared up over the singing and the twirling and then insisted on underwriting voice and guitar lessons from a famous country music writer who had settled in Charleston. Mary Lynn and her mother drove the fifty minutes into town for the next seven years until she graduated with two offers: one from her guitar instructor to join his newly formed bluegrass band as the lead singer, and an academic scholarship to USC-Beaufort. Since she was smart enough even then to know that an eighteen-year-old girl didn't need to be traveling in a band, and since Jackson had proposed on bended knee, she did what felt right to her heart: she chose the scholarship and married her sweetheart.

But on those mornings when she dropped the kids off at school and had to run a few errands, she turned back to the radio station she grew up listening to, an old blend of rock 'n' roll and country and bluegrass, and tapped along to Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash or the Stanley Brothers as she drove through the historic streets with her windows rolled up as if she were in her own secret time capsule, transporting herself back to when she was thirteen, dancing and twirling with her mama to "Return to Sender" on the screened porch as Aunt Josey and Uncle Dale clapped and laughed.

Catherine and Lilla, Mary Lynn's oldest girls, both played violin, and Casey, the baby by five years, played the viola. Their family quartet sounded all right, except for the cello, which made an occasional alley cat screech when Jackson came at it a little off angle. She imagined they'd be practicing all day to get it right for tomorrow's performance.

The sun was beginning to warm Mary Lynn's back when she turned from East Bay Street onto Broad where she planned to sprint all-out to Meeting Street, then stop and walk briskly home the rest of the way, her hands raised and clasped behind her head, her heart pounding, then slowing moment by moment as the brisk air chilled her sweaty body to the bone. What a way to wake up! She loved it. And she had shed twelve of the fifteen pounds she had been trying to get rid of since her big birthday.

But this morning, just after she bounded at full speed across Church Street and back onto the uneven sidewalk of Broad Street, the front tip of her left running shoe caught for a split second in a crooked old grate so that when she slammed her right foot down and lunged at a sharp angle to keep herself from somersaulting, she heard a tear just below the back of her knee and a pain blasted through her calf as though she had been shot at close range.

"Agh!" she screamed, falling hard on her side and grasping the back of her right leg.

She knew what had happened, and she wasn't sure if it was her knowledge or the pain that was causing the intense wave of nausea. She spit and attempted to will her stomach to settle down as her aching muscle throbbed.

The injury, she was sure, was tennis leg, a rupture of the calf muscle on the inside of the leg. She had suffered the same kind of tear in the same place two other times before. Once when Scottie had taken her to a Joni Mitchell concert in Atlanta and she had danced a little too hard to "California," and just two years ago, when she was standing on the top of her living room sofa, hanging a new set of silk drapes hours before hosting a Parents Guild luncheon.

Mary Lynn put her forehead on her knee and ground her teeth. The stones from the old sidewalk were cool beneath her legs, and a chill worked its way up her spine. At best, she would spend the next ten days on crutches icing down her leg every few hours. And then another six weeks in physical therapy. Or worse, she would have to undergo surgery—something Dr. Powell had warned her about after her last rupture. "Surgery means no bearing weight for four months," he had said, looking over his tortoise shell bifocals at her. "So be cautious, Mary Lynn."

The street was quiet on this early Thursday morning. No one was around to gawk or help her up, and she started to weep—more from the frustration, from the time she would lose in the days and weeks to come, and from the stupid grate that no one in the city had bothered to right in maybe one hundred years than from the pain that seemed to compound itself with every new beat of her heart.

She put her clammy palms on the sidewalk and rotated her body over to her left side toward the entry way of the Spencer Art Gallery, and then she slowly felt her way up the side of the stone building until she was upright. She would have to walk on her tippy toes until she f lagged someone down or found an open store where she could use the phone to call Jackson.

Mary Lynn swung her head back and forth in an effort to shake off the stars she was seeing. She walked a good block, carefully, on the balls of her feet to the corner of Meeting and Broad singing "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" by Elvis just to keep herself going. When she rounded the corner where St. Michael's Episcopal Church stood, she spotted Roy Summerall, the rector, chatting animatedly to a familiar-looking man who leaned against a parked taxi cab, steam rising from his coffee mug.

She recognized the man as soon as he glanced in her direction. It was Craig MacPherson, Alyssa's father. (Alyssa was one of Catherine's best friends.) He had lost his job as a real estate appraiser during the recent economic crisis, and he was forced to pull Alyssa out of the Peninsula Day School, the private school Mary Lynn's daughters attended. Now she could see that the rumor she heard was true. He was driving a cab to make ends meet.

Then just as she relaxed the balls of her feet after her favorite line in the chorus—"Yeah, before you abuse, criticize and accuse ..." —in her relief over finding some folks she knew could help her, the pain shot through her leg, worse than before, and she leaned forward and vomited all over the base of the large white church column closest to Broad Street.

The men must have heard her retching. By the time she looked back up again, wincing and straining to get upright and back on her tip toes, they were by her side, gently placing her arms around their shoulders.

"You all right, Mary Lynn?" Reverend Summerall asked. She had been attending his church with Scottie every now and then, and she had met him once briefly at a Downtown Neighborhood Association gathering awhile back, but she was sort of surprised that he remembered her name.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Sunrise ON THE Battery by BETH WEBB HART Copyright © 2011 by Beth Webb Hart. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. 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

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Mary Lynn prays for her husband to believe, but when he does and

    Mary Lynn prays for her husband to believe, but when he does and starts to implement changes in their lives she wished she never had prayed for it.

    Jackson, Mary Lynn's husband, at first rules the family with a firm hand with no give. He very much cares what everyone thinks about the family and tries to keep up with the Joneses. However, when he starts to believe he goes to the other extreme of not caring and being too lenient with his children. There didn't seem to be any balance.

    Catherine is their teenage daughter. She's so stressed by her dad's pushing her to excel in school that she has started to abuse over-the-counter medicine. When Jackson is convicted he is radically different. Now instead of pushing his children with their work he only wants them to be happy. I personally didn't find it believable how he went from caring so much about their education, to not caring at all.

    I like when a book is able to draw me in and I am completely engrossed in the story. However, that did not happen with this book. In fact, at times the story was downright dull and at those times it was a struggle to continue reading it.

    I didn't connect with any of the characters and found a lot of them to be annoying, but I think Mary Lynn was the worst of the bunch. With most books my complaint seems to be that the story ended too soon, but with this one I felt as though I was reading forever - it just went on and on. I was very glad when I reached the end. I personally would not recommend this book.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2012

    Great Read!!!!!!

    When I read the summary of Sunrise on the Battery and learned that it was written about our local Charleston, South Carolina, I was excited to read and review it. I was not disappointed. Painting beautiful scenes of Charleston's antiquity, Beth Webb Hart provides a beautifully, inspirational story about a woman who is looking for a change in her life, her family and her faith.

    Mary Lynn Scoville is living the life that many dream of but few can obtain. This wife and mother of two beautiful, yet completely different daughters finds an emptiness in her soul that she is unable to fulfill. A surprise encounter changes Mary Lynn's life and she longs to share it with her husband, Jackson, but he turned his back on God long ago.

    On Christmas Eve, Mary Lynn asks God to create a change in her husband which eventually does come true, though not in the way Mary Lynn has been hoping. As her husband becomes a strong evangelist for God's purpose, Mary Lynn feels even more isolated and lonely in her faith. As their life changes, Mary Lynn wonders if their marriage will survive the new changes or if this new life is everything they could have ever dreamed of.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I would highly recommend it!

    First off let me say I loved this book. Ms. Hart has a way of writing that makes each character easy to relate to. Even when their actions are not always what you think they should be and their desires are opposite to each other I found myself pulling for them. Ms. Hart gives you a view of what radical faith would look like today and how a society based on social status and appearance would respond to it, while also asking readers to consider where faith fits into their life. It's an absorbing story of a family whose desire to fit in almost costs them everything they value most. The story will have you inspecting your motivations for what you do and what you want in life. What do you pray for and what happens when your prayers are answered in ways you are not expecting? The story was developed nicely and the imagery is strong. The characters are complex and believable. Their emotions and actions are authentic. The relationships and dialogue were genuine. Sunrise on the Battery is a novel with strong characters and a well-written plot. This is a great read about a realistic family. I would highly recommend it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Be careful what you pray for.

    I was worried that the book would not stand by itself since I hadn't read the others in the series but I finished this book in one night so I would say that it held my attention! The Scoville's have moved from a small southern town to Charleston. Their family mission statement is basically to become the best educated and socially acceptable family around in order for their children to have the education and social success that they didn't when they were young. But, is it really the family mission or the father's mission. One Christmas, after a miraculous leg muscle healing by her priest, MaryLynn prays that her husband will accept God and join her at church. But God doesn't always do things the way we think they should be done. Mary Lynn just wants her husband and family to join her at church and nothing more, she certainly doesn't want her social endeavours to be sideswiped and destroyed. This is an excellent story of how God can totally change a person and a family. Great read. Thanks to Audra from B&B Media for the review copy. This review option is my own.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    Read this book because with faith anything can happen

    Jpw

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2012

    I was very, very pleased with "Sunrise on the Battery"

    I was very, very pleased with "Sunrise on the Battery" by Beth Webb Hart. As you can see from my earlier reviews I love Christian fiction and even non-fiction but this book was a new high for me.

    The story of "Sunrise on the Battery" is one we all can learn very important lessons from. From reading about fictional married couple Jackson and Mary Lynn Scoville we glean insight that material goods do not make a good life. You can own everything you want, have tons of money, and still feel empty and hollow.

    We also learn that when you ask God for mighty things, as Mary Lynn did when she became a Christian and prayed for Jackson to find the Lord as well, God will do mighty things. The unsurprising part of this is that sometimes you don't really realize what you are asking for until God does it. When Jackson comes to Christ, he starts making changes in their family life and trying to instill morals and values that are Christian centered and live a life pleasing to God...and suddenly Mary Lynn finds herself wishing she had not become a Christian at all due to the sweeping changes and what she sees as their perfect, comfortable life start falling apart.

    As Christians none of what happens or the life lessons imparted should be surprised. Matthew 16:25 says we must lose our life in order to gain it and if we try to gain our life, we will only lose it. This is the main theme of the story and it is a fabulous one to remember. I found myself questioning my motives, my life plans and goals and the way I am living now all because of reading this excellent book. I highly recommend it!

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  • Posted February 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Be careful what you pray for

    ary Lynn and Jackson have worked hard to give their daughters all the culture and education they didn't have access to growing up. Sometimes, Mary Lynn worries that they're working a little too hard and pushing the girls too hard, but Jackson never does anything halfway and he won't back down. He loves his children, but they always have to do more, and better, speaking several languages, playing instruments, making the highest test scores.

    One morning, during her daily run, Mary Lynn experiences a miracle and starts thinking more about the God who has been relegated to the edges of her life. When she prays for Jackson to know God, the results are unexpected and not entirely welcome.

    When Jackson decides to do something, he goes all the way, and doesn't let anything stand in his way. But when he ruins in one instant what they've all worked toward for ten years, will his family forgive him? When Mary Lynn realizes she isn't as into the whole "God thing" as she first thought and that she has other options, will she turn back to God and Jackson or have her answered prayers ended her marriage and her dreams?

    This wasn't a favorite book, but it was a quick read and "good enough" to take the time to read.

    I got this book free from the Booksneeze review program in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted January 1, 2012

    Love this quick read, beautifully written story!

    I just completed "Sunrise on the Battery". I couldn't read it fast enough. I loved this book. A pair of high-school sweethearts has married and busted their tails to overcome rough backgrounds and be accepted into the upper levels of Charleston, South Carolina society.

    Mary Lynn is a convenient Christian. While she attends Bible study with a friend and goes to church occasionally, she thinks about God and she should live for Him when it is convenient for her. She and her husband have a plan to raise three well rounded daughters according to the standards of high society.

    Jackson, a self-made man, puts up with his wife attending church and Bible study. He is busy building the life he never had and is focused on giving his daughters everything. God has never helped him so why should he be worried about God.

    Then Mary Lynn prays for her husband to know God. And God answers. Big Time.

    I highly recommend this book. It is a quick read, but the story has you cheering for each character. Your heart will be filled with understanding for Mary Lynn. You will want to encourage the daughters. You just want Jackson to understand what he is missing by trying to have it all.

    After you have finished this book, if you are married, you will want to sit down and have a long talk, really listening and communicating, with your spouse. You will take a look and different areas in your life and wonder about your own goals as a family and an individual.

    I would love for Beth Webb Hart, the author of this novel, to write sequels to this book from the different perspective of each of the daughters and how the changes that happened in this book affected their lives and how their lives turned out.

    I love it when a book leaves you wanting to know "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say. Sunrise on the Battery does just that.

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  • Posted October 29, 2011

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    Sunrise On The Battery

    ackson and Mary Lynn Scoville planned to give their daughters Catherine, Lilla and Casey every advantage possible, to ensure that they had a successful future. Jackson and Mary Lynn grew up poor but with twenty years of marriage and some very successful land deals they felt as if they had finally arrived when they started getting invitations to join some of the elite social clubs in Charleston SC. While the family seems to have everything, God has sort of been left behind even though Mary Lynn goes to church periodically, until something happens that reawakens her faith. When she prays for Jackson's heart and mind to be opened to God she had no idea how it would transform their family. How will Jackson's newfound zeal for faith change their family?

    This book stared out quite slow for me, although it did pick up as the story progressed. Told from the perspective of three people Mary Lynn, Jackson and the oldest daughter Catherine, I thought the author easily transitioned between the three characters quite smoothly. I easily could understand why Jackson wanted his daughters to have everything he didn't. He realized the importance of education, and was always reading to try and make up for what he felt was lacking in his own education. I enjoyed the setting of this story as well, and the descriptions of the area really made me feel as if I were right there.
    While I enjoyed this story, it took me several days to read it, I just couldn't become invested in the story. Even though this was a middle of the road story for me anyone who enjoys contemporary christian fiction that deals with family issues and faith should give it a try.


    A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

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    God Answering Prayers

    This story is about the Scoville family. Mary Lynn and Jackson, and their three daughters Catherine, Lilla, and Casey have financially made it. They are all over achievers and need to be the best at what ever they do, or they keep doing it until they have it perfected.
    When Mary Ellen receives a miracle after she is injured while jogging, she wants to give back to God. She goes to Christmas Eve Services and prays for Jackson to receive the Holy Spirit.
    This is so enjoyable on how God answers prayers! Things go missing, and books keep moving, speaking out of turn, and street people showing up! Loved it! When He answers prayers, it is not how we always want it to be answered.
    Mary Ellen did grow up with a lot of hurts and was picked on for not having a Dad, she wants to be accepted by the Charleston Society. Jackson goes about his everyday life making more and more money, and never ending college classes and learning.
    You will love how God puts them in their place! A must read of Love and understanding.

    I received this book from the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

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    Wonderful Faith and Charleston Filled Story!

    Mary Lynn and Jackson Scoville have worked hard to make their way into the company and approval of Charleston's elite, as well as give their three a girls a life filled with opportunities and privilege. Mary Lynn has recently returned to the faith of her childhood, and she now longs for her husband to know God. When she asks for prayer for her husband during a church service, she has no idea that her hard-work towards social status is about to get rearranged! When Jackson embraces his new found faith, he's ready to go all out! He starts befriending the homeless who wander the streets in Charleston, and begins to evangelize to the town, embarrassing Mary Lynn and their girls. Will Mary Lynn be able to handle her husband's radical faith, or is this just a glimpse of the rocky lifetime ahead of her?

    I have to say that I loved Sunrise on the Battery for so many reasons. First, it introduces my beautiful Charleston and paints a perfect picture of the city's very southern and very elegant traditional lifestyle.

    Second, the author presents the purpose of every Christian in a way that shows the radical faith we should have, while doing it in an almost humorous and ironic manner.

    As a Charleston native, I actually cracked up when I read the premise of this book. Why? Because the very conflict let me know I'd be in for a ride!

    The first portion of the book does seem to be a bit slow as it fills with more back-story, narration and description than any immediate scenes. None of these bog the story down or make it boring, though. In fact, I feel like these elements are important to help build up to the coming conflict in the story.

    You see, Charleston is a unique culture in itself, but the elite and current high-society who reside in Charleston is another sub-culture entirely. Beth Webb Hart has done an excellent job in giving readers an intriguing first-hand look at the exclusive culture that belongs to Charleston's high-society. I've strolled down the Battery many-a-time and stared at the houses, knowing their lifestyles of the owners were very different than mine.

    The Christmas scene at St. Phillip's Church, is in my opinion, filled with exquisite description and detail of how we decorate for the season. I absolutely loved this scene!

    Again, I have to say I love the premise of this story. The faith element is so strong and wonderful--especially since these are the subjects I've been studying myself . . . and even wondering for months now what I can do to impact my beautiful Charleston for Christ.

    For those who enjoy studying the Radical series by David Platt, you will love Sunrise on the Battery. For those who enjoy reading about Charleston, you too, will love this book. And for those who enjoy both, you will devour this charming tale!

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

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    Stimulating read

    Book Description:
    Now that she's arrived at the ultimate address, can Mary Lynn's view of the harbor - and success - satisfy the deeper longings of her heart?
    After decades of carefully working their way up the social ladder, Mary Lynn and Jackson Scoville are living their dream: a life of luxury and ease in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina. Jackson made a small fortune selling low country real estate, so now the couple is determined to provide for their three daughters the life they both longed for as kids.
    But lately the long-forgotten God of Mary Lynn's childhood has been trying to get her attention in ways so unusual that she can no longer deny His presence. When she prays for Jackson to open his heart to God, something radical happens. Jackson has a dramatic conversion that leads to street witnessing, giving away money, and inviting less-than-reputable people into their home.
    Starring out into the harbor, Mary Lynn ponders whether or not she is willing to give up her life of luxury to join Jackson in his new-found faith. What would it look like to go "all out" for God.to allow Him to lead their family regardless of the cost? Just when Mary Lynn felt she had all the desires of her heart - she finds herself being called into a much bigger story of true faith and love.

    Review:
    Mary Lynn Scoville is one of those people in society that seems to have it all. Money, status, things. But something is missing. When she receives an answer to her prayers that wasn't quite what she expected, she realizes things happen with a cost. What do we value in life? Questions are asked and answered are revealed-possibly different than expect.

    Thoughts:
    This story will have you inspecting your motivations for what you do and want in life. What do we pray for and what happens when our prayers are answered in ways we weren't expecting?
    The author developed the story nicely and the imagery is strong. The characters are complex and believable.
    A stimulating read.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing through Booksneeze 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

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Sequel to Love, Charleston is absorbing family drama

    Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart is the sequel to Love, Charleston and follows the story of the Scoville family. Mary Lynn and Jackson were high school sweethearts who married right out of school with a shared dream: to raise their children with the opportunities they were denied growing up poor in a small town. After living for a decade in Charleston and carefully working their way up in society, they are finally about to reap the rewards of full acceptance. But Mary Lynn is starting to question the dream because of her attendance at the local church and a prayer group has opened up her heart to more than just status. Their three daughters each deal with the stresses of a life in private school with constant lessons and parental expectations in different ways. Catherine, the eldest, is beginning to turn to drugs to help her cope with the constant pressure, especially when her father takes away her greatest joy: running track, to make her focus on raising her SATs. Mary Lynn asks her prayer group to pray for Jackson to find God, but when he does, the repercussions will shake her and the entire family to its core as they are forced to redefine who they are as people. Hart has a way of writing that makes each character completely relatable and sympathetic. I found myself rooting for every character, even when their actions weren't necessarily right and when their desires were at polar opposites with each other. Hart gives readers a view of what radical faith would look like today and how a society based on status and appearance would respond to it, while also asking readers to consider where faith fits into their life. That she manages to do so without being preachy is quite an accomplishment, but Hart keeps the reader so focused on the Scoville family that even Jackson's wildest actions and biggest speeches don't come across as proselytizing. It's an absorbing story of a family whose desire to fit in almost costs them everything they value most.

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  • Posted October 8, 2011

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    All pomp and no pray makes for a stress filled day!

    SUNRISE ON THE BATTERY

    By Beth Webb Hart



    Mary Lynn Scoville seems to have it all, and is on the verge of being invited into the last club that polite Charleston society has to offer. But when Mary Lynn experiences a miracle on Christmas Eve, she prays that her husband and three daughters will experience God's touch as well. But when her prayer is answered in a way she never expected can Mary Lynn every truly be happy and what will her happiness cost? And will Charleston, South Carolina ever be the same?

    Sunrise on the Battery looks at life and what is important. Are accolades of human achievement all important in living a fulfilling life? Is it possible to heal old wounds by climbing the social ladder? The Scoville family is about to find out what is truly important. The pinnacles of society, the homeless on the street who will have the biggest impact?

    Sunrise on the Battery also touches on teen substance abuse - drinking and pharming.

    Sunrise on the Battery looks at friendship and what true friendship really is. Is it tied to your checkbook? Your address? Who your parents are? Or is it a giving of oneself just because with no strings attached?

    Sunrise on the Battery is an enjoyable read that has a lesson to teach.

    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® 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.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    Okay read

    Mary Lynn Scoville has achieved what many thought impossible. She has reached the highest of worldly success. Married to a handsome real estate agent, she is the picture of one who has it all. 
    But something is missing deep inside Mary Lynn's heart. Even her newfound faith didn't seem to cut it; until her surprise encounter with God that is. Now all she wants is her husband and three lovely daughters to know God as well. But her husband wrote God of long ago and her daughters don't seem interested. 
    The author also shows you the story from the eldest daughters point of view as she struggles with the pressure of SAT testing, school, and a father with unattainable expectations. 
    There is a creative storyline to the book, but personally I didn't think it was written very well. It was a little jar to follow. 

    *I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2011

    Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart

    Hello! I've recently gotten a book from booksneeze- "Sunrise on the Battery" by Beth Webb Hart. Before I get started, though, I need to say that I received this book for free from the Thomas Nelson publishing company in exchange for an honest review. Anything I say is truly and completely my own opinion. Now, let's get started, shall we? I got "Sunrise on the Battery" by Beth Webb Hart, honestly because it was fiction and I didn't think that I would have to really pay attention to the book- the book wouldn't warrant any long, deep, philosophical thoughts on my part. It would just be a book I could slip into for some relaxation. Well. it served its purpose. It's not a very exciting read. It's good, but not "Oh my goodness this is the best book I have ever read I simply must tell everyone I meet about this amazing book!" good. Do you get my drift? I enjoyed it, and it was relaxing, but honestly, I would just as soon pick out some Francine Rivers or Ted Dekker over this. Maybe with those authors, the writing would be a bit more. energetic. Three out of five stars.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

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    This an entertaining second chance with the Lord tale

    Jackson and Mary Lynn Scoville have come a long way from their rustic roots in Round O, South Carolina. They made a fortune selling coastal real estate inherited from his family and were able to relocate to Charleston where they want a better cultivated life for their daughters (Catherine, Lilla and Casey) than they had growing up.

    However, materialism has proven a false idol to Mary Lynn who feels out of her element in the high society of the city. Instead she returns to God who she has forgotten like an amnesiac, but He has now gotten her attention. She wants Jackson to join her but he wrote off God years ago as a bad bet. A strange incident brings Jackson back into the fold, but like he does with everything he goes zealously all out; leaving his wife to wonder if she erred when she prayed for his deliverance.

    This an entertaining second chance with the Lord tale starring a family who must decide what matters in life. Each member of the Scoville quintet is fully developed with differing personalities and motivations, but especially the parents and Catherine. Although the story line starts slow as the cast, location and premise are set, readers will relish this engaging character driven tale that asks the audience whether we run with or from God.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

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    Synopsis Gives Away the Story

    The synopsis on the back cover of "Sunrise on the Battery" by Beth Webb Hart gives away the story. The reader is introduced to Jackson and Mary Lynn Scoville. The Scovilles are a Charleston couple who work hard to give their daughters the type of life that they never had. Just as they reach the point that they consider to be the ultimate in success, a life-changing event challenges their faith and their way of living.

    The problem I have is that the life-changing event that is described in greater detail on the back cover doesn't actually happen until three quarters of the way through the book. There really isn't much suspense, as anyone who has read the back cover knows what is coming eventually.

    If I had not read the back cover, I probably would have enjoyed the story. As with Beth Webb Hart's previous books, the characters are well-drawn and easy to relate to. I would have preferred to read less about the Scovilles before the life-changing event and more about how their lives and those of their three daughters were impacted after the event.

    Those who like reading about modern Charleston society will enjoy this book, as long as they don't read the back cover first.

    The premise of this book would make a good topic for book clubs and discussion groups.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze 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.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

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    Great story of Charleston SC on the Battery

    If you love the historical Charleston SC then you will love this book. I live in SC and know everywhere the author talks about except Meggett, SC where Mary Lynn had grown up as an illegitimate child as was always talked about and made fun of in her school.

    Mary Lynn met and married a very handsome young man whom had not had an easy life himself. They had three daughter and wanted more for them than they had grown up with. Jackson get in with a young man that he knew and begin to learn how to make and invest money. They bought an old Victorian home in Charleston, SC near the Battery. They wanted to get into all the society that they could and Jackson was very strict with their daughters. He pushed they very hard and wanted them to learn the things that he wanted them to learn and not what they really wanted. Mary Lynn was a Christian and went to some church and some of the ladies prayer meeting, but Jackson wanted nothing to do with God and didn't want his daughters to either.



    When God really got into all of their lives after the marriage was almost destroyed they found out that they really didn't need to be in with the society groups but they all needed God more. They sold their fancy house and the family found out what love really was, they knew they did not need all the things the world has to offer.

    Thanks so much to B and B Media for sending me this book and I chose to review it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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