A Lukewarm Correspondence. A Tattered Reputation. Two Hearts at Odds.
He is walking away while she is fighting to walk.
After a springtime swim, Ella Steen is stricken with a dire illness, leaving her without the use of her legs. Meanwhile, Dr. George Curtis, the man she secretly loves, faces ruin. For over a year, the crusty New York City bachelor and vivacious spinster have exchanged dozens of letters and formed a wary friendship.
Neither are willing to open their hearts completely. Until they face each other. The past looms between them, however. Does George still love another or is his heart completely free?
A trip to Valley Creek holds the answers. Instead, when George and Ella arrive, they encounter obstacles that force other truths to the surface. Is George brave enough to confront what he fled in New York? Can Ella confess why she hates dogwood winters? Will their hearts survive?
If only their pasts would keep out of the present.
My thoughts: While this story works as a stand alone novel, I highly recommend reading the series in order to fully appreciate the family and the town that they come from.
I enjoyed getting to know Ella better, as both she and George struggle with how their pasts have shaped them into the people they are when they meet. The characters are strong and well written as they draw closer to one another and God. I loved the themes woven throughout the story. This is an excellent one to pick up and enjoy!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.
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About the Author
Candace West was born in the Mississippi delta to a young minister and his wife. She grew up in small-town Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. At twelve years old, she wrote her first story, “Following Prairie River.” In 2018, she published her debut novel Lane Steen, book one of the Valley Creek Redemption Series. By weaving entertaining, hope-filled stories, Candace shares the Gospel and encourages her readers. She currently lives in Arkansas with her husband and their son along with two dogs and three bossy cats.
More from Candace
Biscuits and gravy has been a staple for generations in my family. It’s perfect for any occasion or breakfast, dinner, and supper. Yes, in our neck of the woods, dinner is lunch, and supper is—well, supper.
And then, we have biscuits and gravy with a twist. We’ll shove the traditional aside for a bowl of chocolate gravy. That’s right, chocolate.
Now, don’t get grossed out. Some people believe chocolate gravy is this weird, mysterious concoction made with meat grease. It’s the gravy part that boggles their mind, but it’s actually straightforward and easy—not true gravy at all. Trust me, if you like chocolate, you’ll want to try this. When you butter a biscuit and drizzle the chocolate over it, you’ll get a little taste of heaven on earth.
And you’ll get a little taste of the Appalachians and Ozarks.
My grandparents, both raised deep in the Arkansas Ozarks, were raised on “chocolate an’ biscuits” and passed the recipe down to us. Throughout the mountains and in pockets throughout the country, you’ll find this lesser-known treat on kitchen tables and family gatherings.
Every recipe is a little different. Every family has their own special way of making it. My family likes their chocolate gravy a little thinner while my husband’s family wants theirs to be the consistency of pudding.
In Dogwood Winter, my characters would’ve eaten chocolate an’ biscuits. Their corner of the Ozarks is famous for it. I can see Ella and George, along with the Steen family, gathering around a table, saying the blessing, and passing the fare to each other. The only skeptical one in the bunch would be George, a New Yorker who wasn’t raised on it. One bite would make him a believer.
Have you ever eaten biscuits and chocolate gravy? If not, would you try it?
This is our family recipe.
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tbs Hershey Cocoa powder
2 ½ tbs flour
Mix dry ingredients in a saucepan
Add 1 ½ to 2 cups of milk (depends on the thickness you want)
Bring to a boil and cook until thickened (3 or 4 minutes) Note: Bring to a slow boil and continually stir. Remove from heat then add 2 tbs butter and 1 tsp of Vanilla extract. Pour over buttered biscuits and enjoy!
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Connie’s History Classroom, August 31
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 1
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A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 3
Daysong Reflections, September 4
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Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 5
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 6
Life, Love, Writing, September 7
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To celebrate her tour, Candace is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.