Oh boy, has Nicole Baart done it again! Summer Snow, the sequel to last year's amazing After the Leaves Fall, is just as fantastic as it's predecessor, if not more so. The characters in these books are just so real, so relatable, that I couldn't help but form connections with these "people" I've never met. I even think, at times, Baart was channeling my thoughts as she was writing, as some similarities between my current situation and Julia's throughout the story are almost scary!
Summer Snow picks up pretty much right where the previous book left off. Julia is pregnant and still living with her beloved grandmother, after dropping out of college. Constantly dealing with worry about the baby coming, finances, and overall life disappoint, Julia is suffering from an insane amount of internal struggle, but has learned to lean on God to help her through. When her estranged mother shows up one afternoon, completely unexpectedly with a little boy she claims is Julia's half-brother in tow, Julia has no idea how to react, except with her signature anger and frustration. She doesn't know what her mother wants, but does know it can't possibly be anything good. As she takes a chance at connecting with Simon, her new-found brother, as well as come to terms with the impending birth of her baby, Julia slowly begins to understand why her mother may have done some of the things she did, and starts to think that maybe through God's grace and forgiveness, a new relationship can be formed.
I wish I had more of a talent at writing book descriptions. It is completely impossible to convey the amount of emotion and heart in this novel. The individual relationships between characters, whether it be between Julia and Simon, Julia and her mother, or anyone else, the feelings the characters are described as having are emitted in the most perfect way, truly allowing you to connect. Such an important part of enjoying a plot is to be able to put yourself into the story and with this book, that is definitely an easy task to accomplish. I loved the story, the writing, the characters, and the feelings I got after finishing each page and chapter.
I was also able to feel a great connection with God through this novel and through Julia's character...a very awesome feeling, I must say! When Julia has an ultrasound to tell her the sex of her baby, she, as I did, went into the ultrasound room already knowing what I was having. I had "known" since I became pregnant that I was having a little girl, though nothing concrete had ever been said to me. On ultrasound day, the tech was very enthusiastic, not to mention very certain, that I had a little boy in my belly. I wasn't disappointed, I was just in disbelief. I had a mother's instinct about these things didn't I? I knew I was having a little girl...how could I now be having a boy? I was disappointed in myself for lacking that instinct I thought I had. Well, Julia got over it, so did I, and now I'm ready to meet that little boy that God has so graciously given me!
Another little similarity was the whole chocolate chip and heartburn thing. I had never heard of anyone else having pregnancy heartburn from chocolate chips, besides myself, so knowing that Julia was experiencing that problem as well was pretty cool! I love those chocolate chips, but they just kill me!
Enough rambling from me...just make sure you read this book. And if you haven't read After the Leaves Fall, make sure you pick up that one first. You will most certainly not be disappointed. These are incredibly unique stories that will leave you with that special feeling when you are finished. Just lovely.