Tyndale House Publishers
Sometimes it takes losing everything in order to see what has been there all along, and thatís exactly what happens in Nicole Baartís debut novel, After the Leaves Fall. A young girl, Julia Bakker, struggles through the pain of never having her absentee motherís love, the loss of losing her father to cancer when she needs him most, and the hurt of a love affair that is one-sided. She finds herself running away from her problems and into the path she thinks she wants. When college life doesnít go quite as planned, she returns home to discover how much more clearly she can see when the only direction left to look is up.
In this deep and moving story told from Juliaís perspective, the chapters seem almost like journal entries on key events in her life, but are told with such poetic description itís hard not to feel every ounce of emotion Julia feels. The author does a marvelous job of drawing the audience in from page one as she describes, with clarity and vivid detail, the emotions a 15-year-old girl feels as she stands with her grandmother at her fatherís graveside. Julia is so realistic itís not only hard to believe she is a fictional character, but that this is only Nicole Baartís first novel. The only disappointing factor is that youíll have to wait for the sequel in order to tie up some of the loose ends.
After the Leaves Fall is so emotionally gripping and true to life, readers will find it hard to put down and even harder to forget. The messageóthat all the bad stuff that happens to us ultimately makes us stronger and causes us to be brought closer to a loving Godóis something that certainly rings true. Whereas this book is most definitely not fluff, it is inspiring and, ultimately, a feel-good novel. I would recommend this to women in their teenage years and older, especially to those who are looking for a good cry or a novel that will make readers think. Ė Shannon Potelicki, Christian Book Previews.com
For anyone whoís ever wanted to start over . . .
Julia DeSmitís life has been marked by loss. After her mother leaves and her father dies when sheís just sixteen, Julia is determined to escape the confines of her gossipy, conservative Christian town.
When her best friend and first love, Thomas, breaks her heart, Julia leaves for collegeóthe perfect place to reinvent herself. But one wrong decision changes her forever, and she returns to her grandmotherís farm, weary and defeated.
Yet hope takes root in unexpected places, and Julia discovers that starting over looks nothing like she imagined.