[CFBA Tour&Review] Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart

Posted 24 June, 2010 by Molly(Cover To Cover Cafe) in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Chasing Lilacs
FaithWords (June 17, 2010)

Carla Stewart


Carla Stewart’s writing reflects her passion for times gone by. She believed in Jesus, the power of the written word, and a good cup of coffee. She’s a country girl living now in a mid-sized city with her engineering husband who just happens to be her best friend and biggest fan.She and her husband have four adult sons and delight in the adventures of their six grandchildren.


I grew up in the Texas Panhandle with two younger sisters and loving parents. Small town school. Great neighbors. Today, those small-town, fundamental things resonate within me — the twang in people’s voices, the art of being neighborly and just being a decent human being.

Growing up, I preferred the company of books over TV and playing outdoors. I imagined myself in many different careers, but given my down-to-earth raising, I settled on nursing. I didn’t faint at the sight of blood and did well in science, so it seemed a natural choice.

I worked as a registered nurse off and on through the years, but primarily I stayed home with my four rambunctious boys and dreamed of the day when I could write the novels I loved to read. When our youngest son was in high school, I quit my job as a nursing instructor and settled in to pen my first novel. It’s been quite a journey. One I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I’m committed to writing the stories of my heart and am truly thankful to Jesus, my Savior, for allowing me this freedom. May all the glory be His.

Chasing Lilacs is her first book!


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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Chasing Lilacs, go HERE.
My Review:
This is one of those books that just leaves you in awe by the end of the story. The subject line is strong and full of emotional twists, not to mention, lots of humor. I was immediately hooked as soon as I read the first line. My heart went out to Sammie from the get go and it stayed with her through out this beautiful debut novel.

The story is set in the 1950’s in a small southern town in Texas, and is about a young girl coming of age and wanting nothing more than to have a normal relationship with her mom. But instead, she’s trying to figure out what makes up her mother and feels at fault for her mother’s problems. Sammie is so real to me, it felt like I was reading a story about my mother or my aunt. I prayed for Sammie, cried with her, enjoyed the summer of  ’58 with her, laughed with her, but most importantly, I let Sammie completely into my heart. I will never forget her or this gripping, nostalgic debut.

This novel of redemption gets 5 stars from me,along with highest reccomendation. If Carla Stewart’s next novels are anything like this inspiring, unforgettable Chasing Lilacs was, I will have every novel she ever writes and will share them with friends, so they, too, can experience the work of inspiration by a wonderful and talented author.



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