Monday, September 2, 2013

Before The Dawn-Kathleen Bauer

Before The Dawn

Kathleen Bauer

Guideposts, Sep 1 2013, $13.99

ISBN 9780824934248

Years ago Denise Stevenson ran away from her home Heather Creek Farm in Nebraska. In the present Denise is buried in San Diego. While her father Bob went home immediately after the funeral, her mother Charlotte closes out the estate and escorts her three grandchildren (teens Sam and Emily and preadolescent Christopher to the place their mom grew up and fled.

In Nebraska Sam disregards any rules at school and at home, but is fiercely protective and bossy of his siblings. Emily refuses to give up her ties to Southern California, which reduces her chances of making new friends. Christopher wants to feel at home but feels alone. Bob demands rigid disciplined behavior. Charlotte fears repeating the mistakes she made that drove Denise away, but she also believes her grandchildren need structure. Five people not united by DNA but by grief and culture shock can make it as a family if they share their inner despondency but need an external crisis to bond them.

The first Home to Heather Creek family drama (written by Carolyn Aarsen) is an engaging opening act as the Stevenson family cope with the loss of the connecting sandwich generation while the two “bread” camps struggle to get to know one another. Readers will wonder whether the fab family of five will take the first baby steps towards loving unity or remain dysfunctional.

Harriet Klausner

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