Publisher: FaithWords (May 14, 2013)
It's 1962, and Dusty Fairchild, daughter of a self-made millionaire and oilman, wants to go to college. Instead she is sent to a private finishing school in East Texas. Although she's never wanted for material possessions, Dusty longs for independence and adventure.
The only upside to attending Miss Fontaine's is having her cousin and best childhood friend, Paisley, join her. Paisley has traveled the country with her bohemian mother, but she dreams of putting down roots and living a settled life.
At Miss Fontaine's, their loyalty to each other binds them, but when they fall in love with the same handsome young man, their relationship teeters on shaky ground. Only after a tragic accident do they learn where their true hearts-and dreams-lie.
Here are my thoughts:
There is something timeless about Carla Stewart's writing, it is sweet and nostalgic, complexed yet relaxing, even vulnerable at times. Her award winning novels opens a window on the not so distant 50's and 60's, an era known for new social and sometime radical trends such as Women's Rights movement proclaiming they had a choice not to be tied to their home and could find fulfillment working in public places, the Civil Rights movement with its rallies and protests, Mini Skirts, Rock n' Roll and so on...
SWEET DREAMS, drawn against 1962's Texas explores the close relationship betwixt two very different cousins, Dusty and Paisley. With a noteworthy prologue in 1947 at its onset, the story highlights the deviance in each of their upbringing and the dreams each young woman aspires to.
Raised by her loving if somewhat domineering father and a sassy Hispanic housekeeper, Dusty grew up on her family's ranch. She fervently hopes to enter College and pursue a career, preferably in Geology. Paisley has experienced a Gypsy life at best, following her wandering mother always in pursuit of another gig. Her own dreams of a white picket fenced home seems at odds with her carefree bohemian style.
When Dusty's father enrolls her in Miss Fontaine's Finishing School For Girls, she convinces him to allow her cousin to join her and we soon discover the world of Charm school!
Carla Stewart does a credible job of showcasing the 60's permeated with its many social upheavals even in this quiet peaceful area of Texas. Surprisingly graceful Dusty shows she will fight to achieve her dreams. In turn, loyal Paisley yearns for things she deems she cannot ever have but will sacrifice even those dreams over betrayal.
With a nostalgic touch, Carla Stewart sets the mood in her latest novel with those Patsy Cline's hits which still haunts us today!
There are also a few secrets and a little romance in the air in SWEET DREAMS, all wrapped in a Southern touch as refreshing as a Mint Julep and as delicate as Pralines.
Whilst I'll admit this is not my favourite out of the three Carla Stewart's novels I have had the pleasure to read so far, I admire her intuitive style and note it reveals a lot of her own personality!
In the end SWEET DREAMS brings us poise and charm...Timeless!
Carla Stewart's writing reflects her passion for times gone by. She launched her writing career in 2002 when she earned the coveted honor of being invited to attend Guidepost's Writers Workshop in Rye, New York. Since then, her articles have appeared in Guideposts, Angels on Earth, and several regional magazines and anthologies.
Carla received two American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis awards for unpublished authors. The novel that won in 2007 went on to become her first published novel-Chasing Lilacs which has garnered many rave reviews including a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 4 stars from RT Book Reviews. Sweet Dreams is her fourth novel.
Carla graduated from the University of Oklahoma and worked as a registered nurse for a number of years. She and her engineer husband are the parents of four married sons and relish the adventures of their six grandchildren. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, great books, and weekend getaways with her husband.
Visit her website (HERE)
Note to Readers:
A most heartfelt thank you to Carla Stewart for the sweet opportunity to review this novel!
I was not asked to offer a positive opinion, just my thoughts and therefore it reflects ONLY that!