Before The Dawn by Kathleen Bauer

This review gives more insight than just "it was/wasn't a good book" or "this is/isn't a must read". While I try not to give too much away, sometimes it's difficult to write about the story and have it not be revealing. 

Charlotte Stevenson knows it’s always darkest before the dawn. But it seemed the sixty-four year old’s life couldn’t get any darker than it was. Her thirty-five year daughter Denise had left home at eighteen and Charlotte was still struggling with guilt from that. Charlotte had spoken to her over the years, but she never visited Denise and her children, Sam, Emily, and Christopher, whom she had never met. With Denise’s untimely passing, Charlotte and her husband Bob now had custody of those three grandchildren. Charlotte didn’t feel like dawn was ever going to come. The grandkids didn’t like life in the small town of Nebraska. And they definitely didn’t like living on a farm. Charlotte needed to be strong for the kids even though she grieving the loss of her daughter for a second time.

Charlotte was happy to finally be with her grandchildren but she didn’t know if she was up for the task. She and Bob were set in their ways. Bob believed that they should raise the kids they way they raised their own children, which concerned Charlotte since their own children didn’t seemed to turn out they way she had planned.

This story is geared towards an older audience. It was slow moving but in a good way. Charlotte and her husband are farmers. The author describes them and their way in life in a way that I could picture the family and their surroundings as I read. The Stevensons are also Christians and it was easy to see that following God and his ways was important to them.

The characters are realistic, imperfect people trying to get through life the best they can. They could be your next door neighbors. Charlotte and Bob’s being set in their ways made it a constant struggle between them after their grandkids arrived. Bob refused to changed while Charlotte knew that the only way to get anywhere in the relationship with the kids was if they did change.

I was surprised at how emotional I felt as I read about the foal of Denise’s horse being born and everyone waiting to see if all was going to turn out the way they hoped it would. I was rooting for the horses and the family at the same time.

As a parent of children that still live at home, I got a clear message from this story. There will always be something that needs to be done but your children need you more. The author showed Charlotte always thinking that she could have been a better parent and raising her grandchildren was a chance to finally get it right. I feel the author is showing the reader that raising children isn’t easy and we are going to make mistakes. We need to step back and ask God to guide us. We need to do the best we know how. We need to constantly turn to God for help, just like Charlotte did.

Home to Heather Creek Series:
Before The Dawn
Sweet September - read my review here

I received a free copy of this book from Guideposts and The Christian Manifesto in exchange for my honest review.

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