Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart - REVIEWED

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’s 1958, and in the corner of the Texas panhandle is a tiny town called Graham Camp. Sammie Tucker, not quite thirteen, is about to face some fierce storms in her life, and her entire world will never, ever be the same again. Chasing Lilacs is Carla Stewart’s debut novel, and the bittersweet flavor of its story will linger in my heart for quite some time.

There is something important about coming-of-age stories that reveal basic truths about the human condition. Sammie Tucker experiences more in the span on one year than any child should ever experience in a lifetime. Yet her resiliency is believable and her character is filled with a hunger for truth and substance that keeps her moving forward with purpose and hope. My heart ached for this child the entire story, and even now, after I’ve read the final pages, Sammie’s character haunts me.

Stewart creates a VERY realistic pre-teen, and her struggles are those of every child on the brink of adulthood. She is forced to deal with some very hard and painful situations within her family, and her childhood friends both help and hinder her as she navigates the tumult that surrounds her. There are even some unexpected plot twists that only serve to enhance this beloved story, and the ending is completely satisfying without tying things up too neatly.

Chasing Lilacs gives me every reason to hope that we will be reading much more of Carla Stewart’s writing. Young adults, and old adults alike (well, I’m only 43, but still…) will be touched and entertained by this wonderful debut novel!


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.


Mocha with Linda said...

I always enjoy reading your comments on books like these! I was absolutely captivated by Sammie and her struggles.

carla stewart said...

Kim, your review made me smile and cry at the same time. Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a poignant review.

And you are among the "young" ones, my friend. So glad you liked Chasing Lilacs.

Many blessings!

蔡燕 said...


Unknown said...

Haven't gotten to this one yet. Looking forward to it!