Description: Can love really heal all things? If Sam Carroll hadn’t shown up, she might have been able to get to her mother in time. Instead, Allie Everly finds herself at a funeral, mourning the loss of her beloved mother. She is dealt another blow when, a few hours later, she is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Beatrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. Poetry and letters written to her mother become the only things keeping Allie’s heart from hardening completely. But then Sam arrives for the summer, and with him comes many confusing emotions, both toward him and the people around her. As World War II looms, Allie will be forced to decide whether hanging on to the past is worth losing her chance to be loved.
Release Date: February 28th, 2012
Publisher’s Weekly, January 2012:
“Coker makes an impressive debut—she’s only 15—in this Depression and WWII-era tale of Alcyone Everly, who is 14 when her mother dies of brain cancer. Allie is adopted by a woman in Maine, Beatrice Lovell, and vigorously resists her adoptive mother’s kindnesses, clinging bitterly to the memory of her mother. The past re-enters her life in the form of Sam Carroll, an old friend from her childhood home whose aunt lives next door to Beatrice and Allie. Sam has always been sweet on Allie, and his reappearance stirs many unwanted and confusing emotions in her. World events seize the day as the U.S. gets caught up in WWII, altering everyone’s lives. Coker writes an emotionally compelling and psychologically nuanced tale. The plot has some weak spots: Allie manages to overhear not one but two crucial incidents that give her unexpected information, and some of her character development late in the story is abrupt. But the historical context is an engaging narrative frame. Coker is one to watch. Ages 15–up. (Mar.)”
Kirkus Reviews, February 2012:
“Teen author Coker’s blend of inspirational romance and historical fiction results in a predictable yet mostly satisfying debut.
When not caring for her single, ill mother at their Tennessee home in 1939, 14-year-old Alcyone (named for a star in the Taurus constellation), or simply Allie, is followed longingly by classmate Sam. After her mother’s death, the teen moves to Maine, where she’s adopted by prim Miss Beatrice, a Christian woman fond of clichés. She refuses to consider Beatrice family or to follow her to church, since her Christian father abandoned her mother. Instead, she deals with her grief by turning to Emily Dickinson poems (which introduce each chapter), her journal and dreams of writing professionally. Except that Allie has become an even more bitter and reserved teenager, not much has changed when the text skips ahead to 1943. Only the surprise arrival of Sam at a garden party has the power to jolt Allie out of her ongoing mourning. Their playful banter, as Allie tries not to fall for Sam and Sam tries not to scare her off with his abiding love, is the highlight of the novel. A few lapses in accuracy and consistency don’t detract from Allie’s coming of age. While Sam enlists in the war, Allie rethinks (albeit too tidily) her relationships with God and Beatrice.
A feel-good story for both heart and soul. (Christian fiction. 12-18)”