May 26, 2013

Touching, Unforgettable

SWEET DREAMS by Carla Stewart
(Book bio)
It's 1962, and Dusty Fairchild, daughter of a self-made millionaire and oilman, wants to go to college. Instead she is sent to a private finishing school in East Texas. Although she's never wanted for material possessions, Dusty longs for independence and adventure. The only upside to attending Miss Fontaine's is having her cousin and best childhood friend, Paisley, join her. Paisley has traveled the country with her bohemian mother, but she dreams of putting down roots and living a settled life. At Miss Fontaine's, their loyalty to each other binds them, but when they fall in love with the same handsome young man, their relationship teeters on shaky ground. Only after a tragic accident do they learn where their true hearts-and dreams-lie.

* * * * * * * * * * *
Sweet Dreams is another fine masterpiece told in Carla Stewart’s smooth, gentle drawl, as inviting as a gracious southern belle’s offer of an ice-cold lemonade on a dry Texas day.

It’s an engaging story of two young women entering into adulthood amid uncertainties about themselves and their dreams, steered by others in a time and culture when young women weren’t sure they had a say in who they were or who they could be woven through a colorful backdrop of the sixties and sprinkled with glimmers of the sixties’ music culture.

Dusty Fairchild and Paisley Finch are each strong yet vulnerable in her own way. The heart-tugging conflict between two young women who should be able to count on each other made me ask myself what I would have done in their situation. Would I choose the way of grace? Would I pursue fulfillment of my dreams regardless the cost?

Sweet Dreams is a story about love, loyalty, secrets, and forgiveness. It’s about having the courage to voice your dreams and then believing you can make them come true. It’s an inspiring reminder to be yourself whether you fit in or not. It reminds us to not be so hasty to judge on appearances. And it reminds us how pride can rob us of time that could be spent with those we hold dearest, that we have a choice to love the family we have, regardless their shortcomings and mistakes.

What I loved: Dusty’s wise grace toward others in spite of the way they treated her. I admired her courage to speak up when the need outweighed the consequences, and to be a person in her own right in a time when a woman didn’t have much of a voice. I admired the way Dusty took her circumstances and made the best of it.

I also loved Paisley’s inner strength, her ability to recognize the value of certain people in her life in spite of their disappointing flaws. She also took her circumstances and made the best of it, an admirable strength both young women possessed and, I think, inspired in each other.

I applaud Dusty and Paisley for prodding each other to refresh their wish list often, and for keeping sight of their dream, and for trying their best to put family first even if family didn’t always put them first. Most of all, I appreciate the beauty of sacrificial love displayed by several characters, making it one of the most touching, unforgettable stories I’ve read in a long time. -Camille Eide



Carla’s books can be found at her website: http://www.carlastewart.com/books/


ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF. . . .

RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME:

I've published three novels and a novella (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have twenty-something kids. Decent trade, really. The window-rattling grumble isn't quite the same, but we are still enjoying the ride.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

MY ROOTS:
I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.

Camille's Books

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Like There's No Tomorrow, Like a Love Song, and The Memoir of Johnny Devine are available in print & eBook at Amazon, B&N, Audible, Smashwords, iTunes, & Kobo.