Annette Smith’s final book in the Ruby Prairie series, titled Charlotte Leaves the Light On, cuts right to the heart of Charlotte Carter’s ability to love others at the risk of losing them in the end. A young widow, Charlotte chooses to step across the threshold of Tanglewood to care for troubled teens instead of retreating behind her own front door. However, the move costs her more tearful separations as the girls in her foster care intermittently leave the nest.
In the setting of a small Texas town, author Annette Smith shows community spirit at its best. Friends chip in to help Charlotte with her growing houseful of girls. They also keep an eye on her and the hometown pastor, Jock Masters. When Charlotte agrees to take in the abandoned baby that Jock finds on the floor of the church basement, the sparkle in their delicate relationship nearly fizzles out. How can she be sure that Jock loves her even more than little baby Molly?
Charlotte’s capacity to take others into her heart leaves little space for herself. Close friends, Mayor Kerilynn Bell and masseuse Treasure Jones, do everything possible to keep her from crowding out Jock, the person who loves her most. To a degree, the storyline keeps you on your toes, or perhaps more on your knees to ask God for balance in taking time to replenish your own hearts so you have something to give to others. I recommend the book to individuals who tend to over achieve. – Cheryl Cecil, Christian Book Previews.com
Another down-home dose of laughter and tears from Ruby Prairie, Texas
As usual, nothing is going quite the way Charlotte Carter planned. Several of her foster girls are moving on from Tanglewood, and Charlotte is puzzling over what to do next. Her budding mid-life romance with Pastor Jock must endure twists crooked enough to discourage even the most dedicated of Ruby Prairie matchmakers. Even her attempts at real home cooking meet with disaster.
As Charlotte faces an uncertain future in Ruby Prairie, her decisions are complicated by the startling discovery Jock makes one stormy autumn night. In this bittersweet and touching conclusion to the Ruby Prairie series, Charlotte learns that love may break your heart … but that love is the only way to live.