A book review with a little help from the cats.
Alert: Lin Stepp’s new novel, Saving Laurel Springs, ends happily. However, quite a
few twists and turns and misfortunes surprises happen before the happy ending
arrives. A few are predictable, but some are completely unexpected—and that’s
part of why this Smoky Mountain romance/mystery is such an enjoyable read.
by Kensington and set to release in late September, 2015, Saving Laurel
Springs is one of
Stepp’s several novels set in the Smoky Mountains. As Dolly Parton
said about the book: “I've finally come across
someone that believes in all the things that I do . . . love, family, faith,
intrigue, mystery, loyalty, romance, and a great love for our beloved Smoky
Mountains.” Saving Laurel Springs has all that and more.
a fan of Appalachian literature and country life, I figured I’d like the book.
I did. (I think the cats did too.)
|Tanner: "I can read it in my box."|
Main characters Rhea Dean
and Carter Layman, whose families own the now-rundown Laurel Springs Camp
Assembly Ground, were childhood friends and high school sweethearts. They had
plans to marry and restore the old campground to attract more tourists. Here’s
a map of the campground:
intervened. Carter went to college in California, and Rhea planned to attend a
college in a nearby town. But Rhea’s father had a heart attack, so she was
needed at home to help out. When he died, she had to spend more time running
college-student Carter created a video game and was hired by a big company. He couldn’t come home during the summer
because he needed to stay in California for the game’s development. He married
the boss’s daughter and they soon had a son. And he became wealthy. Rhea felt
betrayed and could not forgive Carter. She never married.
opens nine years after Carter left. Rhea’s friend and fellow camp-worker tells Rhea she heard
that Carter is coming home for a vacation. When he appears on a tour Rhea is
conducting, she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. Despite his
several attempts to woo her back, Rhea remains cold to him. She’s even dating
one of his high school rivals.
the stress of having Carter around, Rheas is dismayed that some of the cabins
are being vandalized at night, and Carter is attacked in the dark while he’s
near one. It appears that someone is looking for something—but what, and why?
meanwhile, sets about restoring the cabins, the chapel, and other aspects of
the camp. While Rhea is grateful, she can’t bring herself to forgive him, even
though both their families are urging the two to reconcile. Without Rhea’s
knowledge, Carter begins work on the house he and Rhea had planned many years
ago to build. Carter’s precocious son loves the area, his grandparents, and
Rhea. He thinks his dad should marry Rhea, and Carter thinks so, too. But Rhea can’t
forget how Carter abandoned her.
|Jim-Bob: "Don't worry. I won't let the cat out of the bag about what happens."|
surprising events and revelations occur, but it would indeed be a spoiler if I
told you. I’ll only tell you that Carter and Rhea both reveal reasons for their
actions so long ago, and Carter makes plans for himself and his son to return
to California. But then—well, the story has a happy ending. Finding out what it
is and how Carter and Rhea got there is part of the enjoyment of this book.
Chloe: "I think this book's the cat's pajamas."
Laurel Springs is
rich in small town values, a sense of place, and the importance of family. If
you’re looking for a story that’s truly “heartwarming,” this is it.
Labels: book review, cats