31 May 2013

Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart, Book review

Publisher: FaithWords; 1 edition (June 17, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-0446556552

It is the summer of 1958, and life in the small Texas community of Graham Camp should be simple and carefree. But not for twelve-year-old Sammie Tucker. Sammie has plenty of questions about her mother's "nerve" problems. About shock treatments. About whether her mother loves her.

When her mother commits suicide and a not-so-favorite aunt arrives, Sammie has to choose who to trust with her deepest fears: Her best friend who has an opinion about everything, the mysterious kid from California whose own troubles plague him, or her round-faced neighbor with gentle advice and strong shoulders to cry on. Then there's the elderly widower who seems nice but has his own dark past.

Trusting is one thing, but accepting the truth may be the hardest thing Sammie has ever done.

Here are my thoughts:

This is one of those books I read, closed after the last page and said 'Wow!.  Carla Stewart's debut novel offers not only masterly turned prose, it features an impressive plot which left me wanting more of the same! 
'Chasing Lilacs' was on my list to read for awhile thanks to another Christian author's recommendation and I can't wait to read Carla's next novel 'Broken Wings'
(Since I am catching up, please note her latest novel 'Sweet Dreams' was just released this month!)

Set in the late 1950's in a small Texas town, Chasing Lilacs is akin to the coming of age of a young  girl faced with home problems no child should have to deal with! Never the less, the author draws you in, balancing every emotions so that the story just grows on you!
In short, you cannot but want to read 'just one more page!'.

Having grown up in a different era thousand of miles away, I found the descriptions provided by the author singular yet somehow also familiar (songs of Patsy Cline, Bobby Darrin and an image of James Dean astride his motorcycle came to mind!). 

Carla Stewart shines in her descriptions of Graham camp's community and inhabitants, a small town not even worth a dot on a map but she is magnificent in relating the haunting feelings teenager Sammie experiences as life gives her one challenge after another. 

A beguiling novel with poignant stories about friendship, hope, filial love and redemption it is perhaps better suited to the older young adult/mature reader.

Chasing Lilacs is essentially a story to discover for yourself and I shall refrain from giving any spoilers! Be prepared to hold your breath, cheer and even tear up, it is that good!

Suffice to say, I give it 5 stars!

Note to Readers: Chasing Lilacs also includes A Reading Group Guide.

Meet the Author:

Carla Stewart's writing reflects her passion for times gone by. Carla launched her writing career in 2002 when she received the coveted invitation to attend the Guidepost's Writers Workshop in Rye, New York. Since then, her articles have appeared in Guideposts, Angels on Earth, Saddle Baron, and Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine.

Her debut novel, Chasing Lilacs, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, was an Oklahoma Book Award Finalist, the trophy winner for the 2011 Best Fiction Book for Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. and received 2nd place honors in RWA's Inspirational Readers Choice Award for 2011. Carla loves to hear from readers and invites you to contact her and learn more about her writing at

Note: This review was not requested by author/sponsor and reflects only my opinion!


  1. I have just finished a book called A Jarful of angels, I really enjoyed it, it was set in1963 I find books set at this time or there about's I seem to relate to better, maybe a easier time not so violent and no swearing but a good story.
    This one sounds in the same vein.

  2. Thanks for the tip Merle! I'll check it out and I agree with you! There is a lot of soap washing lost these days!
    Have a lovely weekend and hugs to Angus (Hi to the beer faerie!)

  3. I love reading so I'll find some good tips on reading your blog! Nice :)

    1. Very Kind! This author is fantastic, her books are keepers!

  4. What a lovely surprise to find this in my inbox! I'm so glad you enjoyed Chasing Lilacs and that you found "common ground" in this story that is worlds apart from yours. Blessings!

    1. Hello Carla! Inbox? I wasn't going to mention anything until I posted Broken Wings so this is a surprise for me as well!
      If you noticed my response to Menthe Blanche above, you know what I think (and I am looking for my own copies in the next few days!)
      Blessings Dear,


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