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Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite
Putting out fires, literally, wasn’t exactly what Grace Harkins had in mind for her first summer after retiring from teaching school, but that is exactly what happens in Fresh Start Summer by Beverly Nault. Her friend, Maggie Elmsley, informed her before movie production hit town that Cherryvale would never be the same again. As a rash of fires began to break out on Maggie’s property, the teen actress attempts suicide and movie star Jeff Field is searching for a way to have his daughter back in his life, Cherryvale really is in for some serious changes. Though Grace has a long list of ways that she wants to spend her retirement, she is drawn to taking care of others before she starts in on her own objectives. As Grace subtly works her way into the lives of the two actors, the town rallies around Maggie and her home for rescued animals. But there is something sinister going on. Is it merely coincidence that things start happening when the movie production hits town? Will Cherryvale indeed be dramatically changed?
As simple and quiet as Fresh Start Summer is, it is impossible to put it down. Beverly Nault draws the reader into the story of Cherryvale in a very subtle and emotional way. Each character is easy to relate to and the reader becomes concerned for how things turn out for them. The gentle message of Christian love and grace penetrates through every incident in one form or another. There is no blaring trumpet call, but a very recognizable difference in the thoughts and actions of a town where people really do care about each other. Inspiring, heartwarming and profound, Fresh Start Summer is a picture of how true Christians face adversity together and heal the pain that comes along with it.