Hurricane Season – Lauren K. Denton – Thomas Nelson – Published 3 April 2018
Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have decided to put life’s disappointments behind them. At least in theory. Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, while Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget the longing for motherhood set deep in her heart. But when Betsy’s free-spirited younger sister Jenna drops her young daughters off at the farm to attend a two-week art retreat in Florida, Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.
As those two weeks stretch much farther into the hot Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world and revel in a home that’s suddenly filled with the sound of laughter and life. Meanwhile, record heat promises to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.
Four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She’d once been free to travel and pursue a career in photography, but all that changed with the appearance of two pink lines on a plastic stick and a boyfriend who hit the road. At Halcyon art retreat, she finally has the time and energy to focus on her photography. As the summer continues, she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home with her two children.
When Hurricane Ingrid aims her steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that could affect both her and her children’s futures, and Betsy and Ty find themselves protecting their beloved farm as well as their own hearts.
Storms can bring great destruction, but they can also bring a time for discovering what lasts, what holds together even through the harshest weather, and what comes out better for the rain. Hurricane Season is a book truly evocative of Southern summer and which captures the complications of family relationships, the desire to see dreams fulfilled, and the trials that test marriages and break hearts.
When Betsy receives a voice message from her sister, Jenna, asking if she can leave her two young girls with her while she attends a photography camp, Betsy knows it will test everything inside her. It will bring back the harsh memories of negative test results and the guest room that never became a nursery. It will strain further her relationship with her husband, something that was only now slowly returning to normal. But Betsy never says no to her sister and so two sweet, young girls descend on Betsy and Ty’s farm and home. For Jenna it is a time to finally follow her dreams of photography. For Betsy and Ty it is a time of facing the past’s hurt and faded dreams, while reconnecting as a couple. But as a hurricane looms, will this family survive everything the summer has in store for them?
Once again, Lauren K. Denton entwines a story of healing and discovery with a perfectly captured setting. The scenery is almost an extra character. The summery days, the firefly-filled nights, the howling wind, and lashing rain all perfectly reflect the mood and themes of the story.
There are a number of stories which feature in Hurricane Season – Betsy and Ty’s story as a couple, their individual stories of healing and acceptance, and of course Jenna’s story as she searches for her purpose and what this means when trying to mother two young children. Each story plays its part in this book and provides a layered and detailed plot, strong characters who are easy to love, and, of course, that gorgeous setting. I loved very minute spent on Ty and Betsy’s dairy farm, loved the little descriptions of the regular work and the animals. The chapters from Jenna’s perspective also take the reader on her journey of recovering her skills as a photographer and exploring the wilds of the untamed South. The chapters alternate between the perspectives of these three main characters.
I think I fell a little in love with Ty. He has an incredible work ethic. He is slow to speak, yet everything he says is considered and thoughtful. I loved his love, care, and protectiveness of Betsy. I loved that he loved her complications and saw it as his job as husband to be there for her and to figure out what she needed, even if she couldn’t speak the words. Their relationship journey was wonderful to witness. They have faced something that has tested their bond, but together, with a few hiccups along the way, they put each other first
This book, while published by at traditionally Christian inspirational publisher, fits somewhere between a Christian novel and general fiction. I believe readers of both categories will enjoy this delightful story. Betsy and Ty are Christians, attend church a few times in the novel and mention prayer, but faith does not dominate the storyline in any way. Instead, the growth of the characters and their journey of reconciliation, acceptance. and direction for the future is the focus of this book. The ending, I thought, was truly wonderful. I loved that it is hopeful, but doesn’t brush over the fact that sometimes dreams change or might look a little different than first expected.
Hurricane Season is a beautiful novel of relationships, family, futures, farming, hope, love, and fireflies.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Adult fiction
Themes: Family, weather events, art, photography, children, infertility, romance, farming, dairy farming, hurricanes, relationships.
Advisory: Implied sex scene, no details, and references to sexual relationships, both within and outside of marriage. References to coarse language, “BS”, crap. Alcohol consumption.
Published: 3 April 2018 by Thomas Nelson.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 352 pages.