A faded scrapbook reveals secrets that reconnect old friends in a place called Sweethaven. Campbell Carter has come to Sweethaven in search of answers about her mother's history. Just before losing a battle with cancer, Suzanne Carter sent letters to childhood friends from her hometown of Sweethaven, Michigan. Suzanne's three friends -- Lila, Jane, and Meghan -- haven't spoken in years, yet each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together as girls. Suzanne's letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. As the scrapbook reveals secrets from the past, old wounds are mended, lives are changed, and friendships are restored -- just as Suzanne intended.
What a treat this story was! At first I wasn't sure I would like this story because it sounded like it could be a bit of a downer, but wow, was I surprised at how much I loved it in the end. I wanted to read this novel every chance I could. I thought about the story even when I wasn't able to sit down, relax, and enjoy it. That's a good book...one that preoccupies my thoughts.
I loved how romantic it was on so many levels. Though each character had their own grief to deal with, it wasn't only about their pain. It was about how God uses the unexpected things in our lives to bless us. He took someone like Campbell, who felt alone in the world, and gave her a new family through new friendships and people who also tied her to her mother's history. I loved how the book ended. I totally adored Luke. I didn't want his heart broken any more than his momma did. Man, I adored that man. He was a great hero and I could see how even the hardest of hearts could melt under the warmth in his eyes.
The author did a fantastic job at making me care. She made each character seem like a friend, or at least someone I could easily know. Their happiness and their healing became a primary concern for me as the book veered toward a conclusion. Everything about this book was awesome. It even had a bit of mystery to it when it came to figuring out who her father really was. Great story! It's making my top fiction list for 2012.
Now the question... What do you find appealing about stories where secrets are uncovered through scrapbooks, old mementos, and other methods?