In Summer Snow, Nicole Baart pieces together a story about learning the power of grace. Julia DeSmit is learning how to handle her life after she has to make adjustments because she has become pregnant. On top of her unplanned-for pregnancy, Julia, who lives with her grandmother, is faced with the obstacle of trying to figure out her feelings toward her estranged mother, who turns up on her doorstep after a ten year absence. When it seems that her mother will leave her doorstep, Julia learns that her mother, Janice, had another child, Simon. Julia’s grandmother, trying to help Julia learn to extend grace, offers Janice and Simon the chance to live with them. Conflicting emotions arise in Julia during her emotional journey. She discovers that grace isn’t a borderline issue but a yes or no extension.
Although the structure of the plot is very easy to follow, there are several things at the end that are left unanswered. Before picking up this book, the reader should be aware that this novel is a sequel to Baart’s first novel After the Leaves Fall. As a reader who read Summer Snow without reading the first novel, I can tell you that you can read this book without reading its predecessor. I’m not sure if the author has plans for a third novel, but there are some relationship issues that don’t get resolved in either book. Also, there were a few other things in the novel that still need closure as to relationships, careers, and social obligations.
The characters in the book have very little unique characteristics. In fact, many of the characters are stereotypical and are close to being unconvincing. For example, Julia is the stereotypical girl who thought she was loved, but then the father of her child didn’t want anything to do with her. She, of course, then had to drop out of college and work in the junky grocery store. Some of the situations Julia gets in, although the author was trying to create pity in the reader, actually annoyed me because of the molded stereotype.
I didn’t find the story that original, which leads to even more disappointment when it was matched up with below average characters. I was slightly impressed, however, with the quality of the writing. Baart has a clear narrative voice that comes alive in the writing. Within the first few chapters, I already knew what was going to happen in the rest of the novel. With a little more work on originality, I think Baart could write an exceptional novel.
Although the novel isn’t particularly unique, Baart does bring up a few good points about the extension of grace to others. Not particularly for or against this novel, I would have to rate it as an average piece of work. This story is more for the female audience due to the pregnancy issue and the questions about relationships as viewed from a feminine perspective. I wouldn’t recommend anyone younger than the young adult audience for this novel. -- Timothy J. Steece, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
“Why are you here?” I whispered achingly, afraid to hear the answer. She didn’t even pause. “I had a dream that you forgave me.”
Julia DeSmit is finally learning to accept her new life. Optimistic and anxious to begin again after dropping out of college, she is taking fumbling steps down a challenging yet hope-filled road.
But the careful existence Julia has begun to build falls hopelessly to pieces when her estranged mother, Janice, appears on the front porch one icy March night. Mother and daughter have not seen or talked to each other in ten years, and a decade of anger, resentment, and bitterness follows in Janice’s wake, along with a surprise Julia could never have anticipated. Julia is convinced that which is broken cannot be mended. Yet when she faces the very decision her mother did years before, she begins to realize what it means to truly accept grace. Will it be her undoing or the impetus for a change she’d never dared hope for?