Friday, April 27, 2018

Book Review - Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

Book Synopsis
Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have long since buried their desire for children of their own. While Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget her dream of motherhood. But when her free-spirited sister, Jenna, drops off her two young daughters for “just two weeks,” Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As the two weeks stretch deeper into the Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world—and revel in the laughter that now fills their home. Meanwhile, record temperatures promise to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Attending an art retreat four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She finally has time and energy to focus on her photography, a lifelong ambition. But she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home as a single mom.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims a steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that will change her family’s future, even as Betsy and Ty try to protect their beloved farm and their hearts. Hurricane Season is the story of one family’s unconventional journey to healing—and the relationships that must be mended along the way.

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My Review
Hurricane Season tells the story of two sisters.  Betsy, the older sister, is the "good girl" in the family who married a kind man, Ty, and lives with him on their family dairy farm in south Alabama.   Jenna, the younger sister, is a free spirit who is a single mom living with her two young daughters in Nashville.  When Jenna has an opportunity to go to an artists' retreat in a remote location in Florida, she drops her young daughters off with her older sister and heads off.  The planned two week visit stretches on, and lives are changed over the long summer.  

Lauren K. Denton's first book, The Hideaway, was one of my favorite reads of 2017 (my review here), so I was very eager to read Hurricane Season.   

I really loved everything about this novel.  The heart of the story is the lives of the two sisters who are both seeking happiness and fulfillment in different ways.  I found Betsy much more likeable and sympathetic.  I loved her relationship with her husband Ty and the kind and mindful way that she lived her life on a daily basis on the farm.   The farm details were lovely.   Jenna, on the other hand, was much more selfish, and was very determined to follow her passion for photography no matter how much her impulsive actions inconvenienced her young daughters and her sister and brother-in-law.

I stayed up late reading to see what would happen with these women and with the precious little girls who were left in Betsy and Ty's care.  To say that this is an engrossing novel is an understatement!

I also loved the Southern setting, the food, the iced tea, the long hot summer days, the casual Southern speech patterns.  I am a native Southerner and have lived through many hurricane seasons;  I found this aspect of the book very relatable.

Lauren K. Denton has a way with creating characters who are distinct and well rounded.  The chapters alternate, mostly Betsy and Jenna, but some from Ty's perspective too.   This is very well done and added to my enjoyment of the book.

The storytelling and descriptions are so graceful.  This is a Christian novel but the faith message is subtle.  It is all about grace and love.  I really liked the following passage.  Betsy has been gardening and a friend talks to her about the garden and the incoming storms:

"As far as your garden, sometimes storms can be helpful. ... All that wind and rain shows you which plants are the strongest.  Those are the ones you keep, plant more of next season.  But the ones that break under the force of the storm -- well, you just toss those and pretend they never set foot in your garden in the first place.  Eventually you learn to choose strong ones from the get-go.  You know how it is around here.  Everything needs to be strong.  Plants and people" (p. 316).

I rate Hurricane Season an enthusiastic five stars, and recommend it highly to fans of Southern fiction, women's fiction, and Christian fiction.  It would be a perfect Summer read!

Author Bio

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books.

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I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours.

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour!