I’ve mentioned before that one of the fun parts of blogging has been meeting other writers and seeing their books go from idea to paperback. It’s kinda like watching a baby grow in its mother’s womb. I’ve enjoyed learning more about the publishing process this way and celebrating with authors as they announce contracts, reveal book covers, plan book launches. The latest book I’ve read from a fellow blogger—Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart—has certainly been worth the wait.
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Chasing Lilacs plot summary
Sammie Tucker is a typical twelve-year-old growing up in a company town in Texas. Typical, except that her mother has just attempted suicide and has now been admitted into a mental institution. Sammie spends the first part of her summer writing letters to her mother and hoping for the day that her mother comes back a normal mother. And at first, things do seem normal… except for Mrs. Tucker’s momentary lapses in memory.
When Mrs. Tucker again attempts suicide and succeeds, Sammie is left wondering if her mother ever loved her. Aunt Vadine arrives to “help” Sammie and her father deal with their grief, but Sammie turns instead to her friend Cly and a grandfatherly neighbour, Slim. She joins the school newspaper, learns to play backgammon, and helps out with Goldie’s aviary. Then, just when life seems to be returning to normal, things turn upside down again.
My thoughts on Chasing Lilacs
While most of us haven’t faced the exact issues that Sammie does (hopefully!), her story is universal in that many have a parent they’d like a better relationship with, a parent they’ve lost, or questions about whether their parent loves them or not. Sammie’s struggles were very real and as she finds answers, she gives hope that the rest of us will find answers too. In Sammie’s mother, there is assurance that, even when parents face difficulties that leave them unable to express their love to their children, they still love their children. That was part of what made this story so beautiful.
Chasing Lilacs is a touching coming of age story set in the 1950s. Carla brings the era alive and captures the essence of the small town Sammie lives in. I identified with Sammie as a budding writer who writing helps her deal with her struggles. Overall, this was an excellent read from another new author whom I hope to see more books from.
More about Carla Stewart
Carla Stewart is the author of six novels, including Chasing Lilacs and The Hatmaker’s Heart. She always wanted to write a book, but didn’t start until her 50th birthday hit. Now, she has more story ideas than she could write in a lifetime. She and her husband have been married for over 40 years. (She still remembers their first kiss like it was yesterday.) They have four grown sons and seven grandchildren.
If you like cooking and baking, check out Carla Stewart’s family favourite recipes. She has recipes for salsa and guacamole, turkish delight and rice pudding, jambalaya and potatoe soup, and more. I was actually making her bierox recipe when I went into labour with Lily, but it’s not on her website anymore.