Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Scent of Lilacs by Ann H. Gabhart, ©2013

Scent of Lilacs

"Scent of Lilacs was my first book published in the Christian market. The story set in my fictional little town of Hollyhill was picked as one of Booklist's Top Ten Christian Novels that year, but then the story went out of print. Well, now it's back with a brand new cover as Jocie and all the eccentric characters of Hollyhill are ready to hit the shelves again in March 2013 with a heart-tugging Small Town, America story that might make you smile or have you wiping away a tear. Booklist's reviewer said..."real drama emerges as Jocie explores her family's secrets in this universal tale of growing up."
   --Author Ann H. Gabhart

Book Overview:

After the summer of 1964, life for Jocie Brooke will never be the same.

Life-changing events rarely happen in quiet Hollyhill, Kentucky, and when they do, they are few and far between. But for young Jocie Brooke and her family, they happen all at once during the humid summer of 1964. Though on the surface things are just fine, it seems like everyone in Jocie’s life has something they’re not saying, something they’re hiding from her--and from themselves. As Jocie digs into her family’s past, she stirs up a whirlwind of discoveries. Will she find the answers everyone so desperately needs? Or will her questions lead to truths better left hidden?
Combining unforgettable characters, true-to-life struggles, and the perfect dose of humor and nostalgia, this riveting story from bestselling author Ann Gabhart explores the very essence of new life and love.

My Review:

Jocie is delightful and a fine friend. Feisty, exploratory, exempt from shyness, she becomes a Nancy Drew sleuth for her modern day. Do you find your name in her journaling?

I was not aware of Jocie's story's first release. I am glad she is back!

This is a story for any generation. Jocie is any little girl ~ well, maybe not all ~ but she is me! My mother died when I was five, a month before my sixth birthday. A girl from a farming community came and stayed with us during my first and second year of school when she was a junior and senior in high school. I had those clip on skates that I would rollerskate all over town. The parts of the sidewalks that weren't yet, that were sand, kind of clogged up my wheels. I kept going to the hardware store to have the man fix my skates because the screw on the bottom kept coming apart because my foot kept getting bigger! I knew which grandma baked pies. She was our little town's postmaster with curly white hair and twinkly blue eyes. Her granddaughter Susie visited from Milwaukee. She was a clean little girl. I always had grass-stains on my pant knees. So, as you can see I was ready for Jocie and her adventures. I had been on some of them too.

Jocie's daddy owns the newspaper in Hollyhill. She helps out a lot there. It is summertime. Jocie's mom and older sister leave in the night when Jocie is six. Now she is thirteen and they come home from evening church to find her sister Tabitha waiting on the front porch. She is here to stay from California. Kentucky is a long way off and she has taken buses to get here. Their Aunt Love keeps the home front together as much as she can remember. She walks off and leaves things browning on the stove sometimes. Their daddy, David Brooke, is an interim pastor, that is until he would accept their offer of full-time. You will love the characters you will meet in Hollyhill, Kentucky. This is a story to read and re-read. A story of any time, any place. A story of caring and love for one another. Lazy days of summer reveal a lot if you look for truth and find it in the right places.
The eternal God is thy refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms:
and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee;
and shall say, Destroy them.
   --Deuteronomy 33:27
Truth always prevails.

Author Ann H. Gabhart:
Author Photo by Portraits by Jenn Duvall

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, Words Spoken True, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Find out more at

Thank you to Revell Blog Tour Network Historical Fiction for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for Ann Gabhart's Scent of Lilacs. I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for my review in my own words. No other compensation was received.


  1. Fun review, Lane Hill House. Thanks. I can see that little girl you were rollerskating all around town. Maybe I'll let Jocie do that on her blog, the Hollyhill Book of the Strange.

    1. Don't forget her skate key on the thick piece of string around her neck! Thank you for a very well-written novel! So glad it was brought back. I can definitely relate to Jocie! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House