It’s no secret I love to make cards. I mean, I’m pretty sure you get that.
But there’s something else I’m pretty passionate about—reading. My trips to the Bookmobile as a child resulted in stacks of books from Judy Blume, L.M. Montgomery, Margaret Mitchell, Charlotte Bronte, and later biographies like Coal Miner’s Daughter (man, I loved that book!) and anything related to the Kennedy family.
I read up in a tree. I read to avoid having to do the dishes. I read deep into the night. And that passion gave way to the desire to be an English teacher. The writing? I could’ve skipped that part, but sharing my love for literature with my students was what I cherished.
Still today I treasure the time I have to read. Now I favor John Grisham, Tami Hoag, and Sue Grafton, and I’m always up for a good bit of historical fiction. I’ve even created a list of my essential must-reads here if you’re interested.
Along the way, I’ve picked up a few paper-crafting-themed novels. It excited me to see two of my favorite things merged into one. But I was let down by the frivolous and somewhat cheesy story lines. It seemed like the authors were just trying too hard.
Let me introduce you to my friend Courtney Walsh. . . .
Courtney is the author of A Sweethaven Summer. She is a very talented scrapbooker and has changed my mind that a paper-crafting-themed novel can actually be GOOD.
Quick synopsis a la Susan R. Opel: single mom Suzanne dies before she is able to reveal to her daughter Campbell who her father is. Campbell finds portions of a scrapbook that her mother made while summering in an idyllic lake town in Michigan (!) which leads her on a journey to find Suzanne’s childhood friends to see if she can uncover clues to who her father might be. Each one of the four friends known as The Circle—Suzanne, Lila, Jane, and Meghan—have kept parts of the scrapbook revealing their time together in 1987 before Suzanne mysteriously left Sweethaven for good. Any more than that, and I’ll ruin it for you!
I have this habit of turning back the corner to pages that have an especially scintillating turn of phrase. I like to revisit those pages once I’ve finished the book and really think about how proud the author had to have been after writing THAT sentence! Here are two of my favorites from A Sweethaven Summer:
“She pretended she didn’t miss his touch as soon as they disconnected.” (pg. 192)
“The lie smacked at her like a child throwing a tantrum.” (pg. 252)
You see? That’s some good stuff right there!
I really loved this sweet story. Filled with intrigue and excellent character development, I looked forward to every new chapter, and when I came to the very end, all of the loose ends that needed to be tied up were all there, to my delight!
Since I love reading AND card making, I thought I’d make a Sweethaven-inspired card.
Obviously I drew inspiration from the color palette of the cover, but the sparkly embellishment and tulle were meant to mimic the lakeshore, and the sentiment poignantly fits the theme of the story about childhood friends.
I asked Courtney if she’d be willing to share her novel with one of our readers, and I’m happy to say that she agreed! And not only is she willing to part with one copy, she’s giving away three. One GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive A Sweethaven Summer as well as Courtney’s first book Scrapbooking Your Faith, and a box full of creative supplies (see the photo below)!
Leave a comment telling us about your favorite childhood friend. Your comment will register you for the chance to win a copy of A Sweethaven Summer and maybe just maybe be our Sweethaven Grand Prize Winner! All comments must be received by Thursday, April 12th at 5 pm MST.