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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
21

on July 25, 2014
Very interesting story line, without a lot of 'sappy' emotional stuff like much
of what is being written today. Kathleen Bauer holds the reader's interest and
attention very well, with just a hint of mystery.
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on September 21, 2013
These books are like honey... sweet and nourishing, too.
The story of Before The Dawn is honest: there is tragedy. There is deep, deep loss.
There are motherless children needing care. Yet this story is idyllic also: the farm is a place where the peace of the country and the productivity of hard work can reign, and restoration can begin.
Goodness is never lost sight of while dealing with sadness, and sadness isn't glossed over.
Bob and Charlotte {Grandpa and Grandma} and Uncle Pete all love Sam, Emily and Christopher, the children that they suddenly find them selves guardians of.
They love these three kids with a love that's full and real, but it isn't perfect and Charlotte is very conscious of this. Human love never can be absolutely perfect. We can't anticipate every need, we can't smooth away fears we don't know exist, we can't always say the right words and alway's hold people that need to be held at the right time. But God..... He can take our frailness when we put it in His hands and through His strength we can give comfort and protection to those he entrusts to us, young or old, boy or girl.
And that is one of the lesson's Charlotte learns: that she will always find a way to second-guess herself, but the fact that different choices could have been made in the past can't paralyze you now in the present or the future.
Charlotte is open to changing some things about the way her grandchildren will be trained. She is willing to listen to wise counsel, to evaluate her methods and to introduce the extra softness that the stress can easily steal away. She is a very godly, wonderful woman.

The home she has created there at Heather Creek reflects her spirit, and as I read the description of the farm kitchen I couldn't help but see the parallels. For example, she describes her her hand-painted yellow cupboards, with the wooden knobs ringed around with the marks of a thousand hand touches.
She reminds herself that those were painted years ago and they are showing it.
Charlotte herself is an "older" woman, who says she's no youngster anymore {even though she can still Rototill her own garden.} Some would look at her and see "age," and they would look at her kitchen and see "shabby." I read, and I saw wisdom in Charlotte, teachable wisdom born out of decades of living life before the Lord. I pictured her kitchen and saw cupboard knobs smoothed by the hands who reached in thousands of times to get plates to set the table for family dinner.
I hope these words will encourage you to stay awhile at Heather Creek, and to find out what Charlotte means by the title Before the Dawn.

Thank you Litfuse Publicity for sending me this book! I'll definitely be reading the others in this series!
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on September 18, 2013
What can be more traumatic for a child than losing mother to a senseless accident? They have no other choice than to move in with their grandparent on a farm out in the middle of nowhere land. For city kids, in their opinion, this is not a good move. Since they have an absentee father what else could they do. They do not really even know their grandparents since their mother had been estranged from her parents except for an occasional phone call. Two moody and pouting teens, the oldest a man/boy whom keeps to himself and a girl that hates the world and everything in it. Then there is a much young boy that looks to his older siblings as to how he is suppose to react to his new life on a farm.

But they are not the only ones trying to cope with their grief, their grandparents and uncle are also grieving while trying not to let the kids see how difficult all of these changes are effecting their own daily lives. Routines are what the grandfather thinks will be best for them, though their grandmother would prefer to take it easy on the kids until they have been able to adjust to their new school and surroundings. She fears making the same mistake with her grandkids as she did with their mother. Everyone in town has advice, prayers and condolences with good intentions for the kids and grandparents. Some are helpful, others just create more problems.

This is a heart wrenching story that many of us can relate to through one or more of the characters. I am looking forward to reading more books in this series. I would definitely like to spend more time with this family as they grow together. I would recommend this book to anyone trying to blend family members. I think it is a fun idea having authors come together to contribute their writing talents to this series

I highly recommend this series.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Guideposts and Litfuse Publicity Group for review. I was in no way compensated for this review.
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on September 17, 2013
Charlotte Stevenson's life has taken a turn that she doesn't know whether it is for better or worse. A tragic accident has left her grandchildren motherless, and her runaway daughter is lost to her forever. Sixteen years in the past, Charlotte lost her precious daughter to the world, California, to be exact. And Denise never looked back - not even when the children's father left her to raise three children on her own. The mistakes of the past will never be resolved, and the bridge between Charlotte and her daughter eternally severed.

Sam is sixteen years old and very protective of his siblings. Emily is fourteen and missing her friends almost as much as her mother. And Christopher is ten, with the only desire in his little heart being that he wants to be part of a family again. With Bob and Charlotte getting on in years, will they be able to raise the three broken-hearted children? Will Charlotte have better success with these children then her own daughter? Or is it too late to show them she really cares about them even if they don't know her at all?

The story was heartwarming and tender; just the kind of book you curl up with on the couch and while the time away. I knew things would eventually turn out fine, but it was all about the journey. It was about feeling Charlotte's struggles, Emily's doubts, Sam's resignation, and Christopher's desire to fit in. It was about feeling like part of the family in the remote setting of a rural Nebraska farm. But most of all it was about watching God's will working in a family that is in desperate need of second chances, redemption and most of all; love.

This book was provided by the publisher through Litfuse Nest for free in exchange for an honest review.
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on October 5, 2013
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Home to Heather Creek Series, Book 1 Before the Dawn, Book 2 Sweet September ~* Kathleen Bauer, ©2013

I am glad I received both books at once! Kathleen Bauer is the pen name of several authors who will be writing this series. The continuance and adjustments flow so smoothly between authors. Book one in the series, Before the Dawn, acquaints us with the Stevenson family. They have lived and worked their land from each day to the other. Upon the death of their daughter, Denise, Charlotte and Bob Stevenson welcome their grandchildren home to Heather Creek Farm. It is quite a change for them, coming from the city of San Diego. The middle of Nebraska is so quiet and dark! Stars and more stars, and night sounds so different from emergency vehicles and car horns.

Trying to find their place, teens Sam and Emily react differently. Emily longing to hold on to her friends, plans a way of escape. She is certain there will be an inheritance to end this temporary existence. Sam protects Emily and their younger brother, Christopher, trying to hold their bond together. Denise and her parents had not kept in contact so the children are at the farm for the first time. Her brother, Pete, remained home farming with their parents. All of them decide how this is going to work. Then, their lives begin to merge together as they grow in trust and assurance of being received. I especially like when one by one they say, "Grandma."

In book two, Sweet September, school is beginning and Sam, Emily, and Christopher risk reaching out and become part of their school and church activities. At home they have begun to feel a part too, as they begin chores and "early to bed and early to rise." Big breakfasts and school buses, they begin to become family.

The wind picked up, carrying a scent of sunshine and prairie grass. It whipped her hair into her face and pressed against her back as if urging her forward.
She'd often carried her babies to the creek's banks for a breath of fresh air. Bill had taken his first steps trying to catch a bird that had hopped along the shoreline. Denise had taken off swimming like a fish in the creek's fresh waters when she was only three. And Pete had been the one who'd always come home with a water snake, frog, or even a fish he'd found in the shallows.
The path moved through the trees, then the clearing opened and the creek made a lazy loop. It flowed south, heading off into the distance. But for a moment, the bluish green water was here, and it was theirs.
--Sweet September, 116

I am looking forward to the next books in the series. Home to Heather Creek becomes a reality as lives are touched and love blooms. Times to take a breath of fresh air and realize life continued, offering peace and joy along the banks of their creek, and Heather Creek Farm. From generation to generation, the Lord extended His peace to them.

***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for sending me review copies of Before the Dawn and the continuing story, Sweet September, in the book tour for the Home to Heather Creek series. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
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on September 13, 2013
For Charlotte Stevenson, when it comes to family it's all about the love they have for one another. One to out last anything that they will face in the future and one that will heal them with enough time. Charlotte has now taken on the guardianship of her grandchildren, Sam, Emily and Christopher after the car accident claimed the life of their mother, Denise. Now uprooting the kids from their apartment in San Diego, Charlotte believes that the home where their mother lived might be able to heal the pain in their grieving hearts. But carrying for three children who grew up without knowing their grandparents will provide a challenge and a hurdle that they must all over come.

For Sam, the oldest at sixteen and an avid skateboarder, living on a farm isn't what he had dreamed his future would look like. Just where does one ride his board when all he can see is miles and miles of dirt? How will he ever fit in here? For Emily, the fact that her grandparents have limited internet holds out some hope for a connection back to her friends she left behind. What she doesn't expect however is marginal cell phone coverage. How will she ever find the same kind of loyal friends she left behind in San Diego? For Christopher, the youngest, he seems the most lost. Unable to find a way to make a connection anywhere, he resolves to follow his older brother and sister as a shadow wherever they go. They believe that once their mother's insurance money is settled, they can find a home for themselves someplace else and perhaps locate the father that has been absent in their lives. All they know is they don't want to live with their grandparents on a smelly farm in the middle of nowhere.

Charlotte will have to work hard both with her own feelings and that of her husband Bill to raise her grandchildren in the same faith that has allowed them to endure the distance Denise created when she ran away when she was pregnant with Sam so many years ago. Perhaps God was offering her a second chance to get to know the family she never had when Denise was alive. If only she could find a way to reach them and connect with them. What Charlotte will learn is that it often takes more than just family to find a way to heal through the brokenness that keeps up in bondage to our past.

I received Before the Dawn by Kathleen Bauer compliments of Guidepost Publishing and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. Kathleen Bauer is the pen name for a team of writers who have come together to create the series of Home to Heather Creek. Before the Dawn was written by Carolyne Aarsen, herself a city girl who was transplanted in the country to raise her own children and foster children. This is an unforgettable story that teaches us that through faith, anything is possible and often times we need to look outside of our family to gain insight that will enable us to move forward. This is the first novel in the Home to Heather Creek Series and I can't wait to immerse myself in the next book, Sweet September by Tricia Goyer. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars!
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on September 25, 2013
Denise was a young woman who ran away from home; she wanted off the farm for good. Years later, Bob and Charlotte, still distant from their daughter in many ways, receive a call at 2am form the San Diego Police. Now, at the time in their life where being grandparents and being on the farm was to be enough, they are now entrusted as guardians to care for Denise's three children.
Going from city life, the latest fashions and easy accessibility to technology to living in the Midwest on a farm with a small town to shop in has brought such a change to these three kids. The local high school has no soccer for Sam, out on the farm Emily can't connect with her old friends and Christopher will not let either older sibling out of his sight. Charlotte and Bob have not had time to get to know these grandchildren and now they are raising them. To top it all off, grief is hitting the whole family.
I didn't know what to expect as I started the novel. There are many themes and threads woven together to make a tale not soon forgotten. The grandmother, Charlotte, is the character with a deep faith and the one everyone looks to in order to be taken care of. Bob is the grandfather who desires no change in his routine and expects his grandchildren to do all the changing. Then, there are three kids who are going through grief, culture shock, living with complete strangers and now having to make new friends in an area that is spacious with "weird" sounds and smells.
When I came to the last page, I was touched by the ending written by the author. Clearly, reminding the audience that no matter what age anyone is, change is the one constant of the universe. We aren't expected to adapt to these changes by simply making up our mind, but as the novel shows through different characters with faith and help from family and friends.
Change is never easy and sometimes not desired, but the characters sure get a dose of it that clearly rippled out to those who are a part of their lives. One thread in the story is that some questions we ask God to answer we may not get answers to this side of heaven. The author showed the characters asking questions, praying for help, and realizing that everyone had to be willing to allow each other time to grieve and adjust. It is really amazing how each generation can learn from the other, which is played out in the pages. When crisis come, the players sometimes tried to handle life by themselves, but learned to lean on each other too.
A very heart-touching story that reminded me of my grandparents and how we learned, leaned, laughed and cried together. Wonderful memories! This is a good book to sit and enjoy a simple story with life lessons for all of us!
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on September 25, 2013
Kathleen Bauer in her new book "Before The Dawn" Book One in the Home To Heather Creek series published by Guideposts takes us into the life of Charlotte Stevenson.

From the back cover: It's the dawn of a new season in Charlotte Stevenson's life.

Charlotte Stevenson's world is turned upside-down by the death of her daughter, Denise. Denise ran away from home as a teenager, and Charlotte has never forgiven herself. Now, Denise's three children are coming to live on Heather Creek Farm. Sam, fiercely protective of his younger siblings; Emily desperately missing her friends; and young Christopher, a sweet soul, just wants to fit in. Is this Charlotte's chance to make things right?

While Charlotte helps the grandchildren she barely knows adjust to their new life, she also wrestles with her own grief and insecurity. What if she makes the same mistakes this time around?

But small joys remind Charlotte that God gives grace freely, even in trying times. The miracle of new life, along with God's healing touch, reminds all of them that it's always darkest before the dawn.

The dawn generally signifies the start of a brand new day. What happened before the dawn is yesterday; the pain, the mistakes, the regret. This is what happens to Charlotte and her husband Bob. In one moment they find out that they have lost their daughter and son-in-law and have inherited three grandchildren, none of which they had any knowledge about. For the children they have lost their parents and have to move from the big city to living on a farm with all the requisite chores. Now they all have to learn to embrace the new and learn to let go of the past and live with the present to the future. "Before The Dawn" is a lot of fun and filled with great characters that you want to hang out with. Ms. Bauer has given us a wonderful, sweet story with power and depth that will keep you flipping pages. I am looking forward to book two in this series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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on September 23, 2013
I really enjoyed book that are in a series. The Home to Heather Creek Series is no exception! I truly enjoyed this these two books! The story starts out with a tragic event. Sam, Emily and Christopher loose their mother in a motor vehicle accident. They are taken from their home in San Diego into the heart of Nebraska to live on a farm with their grandparents with whom they barely know, Charlotte and Bob and their Uncle Pete their mother Denise's brother who lives on the farm with his parents and helps run the family farm.

The children go from their busy lives with cell phones and computers and a more city culture to rural farm living in a small town. Quite a lot of change for these three. It is also quite a change for Charlotte and Bob who are sort of set in their ways and feel there is only one way to rear children. Their way. The way they raised their own children. However both Charlotte and Bob learn that maybe the way they raise their grandchildren should be a bit different than the way they raised their own children.

You can feel the heartache and changes the children feel being plucked from the life they knew to this totally new and alien feeling life they are suddenly thrust into. I felt sad for these kids. I felt sad for Charlotte and Bob doing the best they knew how to help the children through their loss while also working through the loss of their daughter. How difficult that would be!

I felt that in Before the Dawn that the Bob's character did not play as much of a leading role as Charlotte. While Bob was in the story line I did feel that he was sort of on the back burner and he did not seem to interact with the children the way Charlotte did. I did not feel we got to see much of him and get to know his character as we did Charlotte. Charlotte, Pete and the children played more of a major role in the first book.

However in Sweet September, I felt that Bob's character was much more prominent and part of the story line. The children have adjusted more to farm life and have made some friends at the local school and feel a part of the farm and the family! There is even a mystery involved in this story!

Both of these books were light reads with a wonderful message about love, hard work and forgiveness and mending brokenness. That from a horrible loss love can bloom and life can go on and we can remember our loved ones while creating new memories. I truly enjoyed these books and I hope that there will be another in this series!

disclosure: I received a copy of these books from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compenstaion was received. All opinions are my own.
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on September 25, 2013
See full review @ The Indigo Quill: [...]

What a sweet little series! First, I think it's interesting to see this new trend of authors collaborating to create books together. Especially in this case, where they've created a single pen name for themselves. It's a great way to connect and work as a community, I'm sure.

Anyway, through the Heather Creek Series we travel through the grueling task of grieving and change. Charlotte is taking custody of her grandchildren after the passing of her daughter. They come to her defiant and not very open to change, but also with the inability to cope well. Charlotte learns quickly that her daughter's passing is not the only thing she is going to need to cope with.

What I found interesting was that we didn't only watch the children grow, but Charlotte grew as well. I liked how human the characters were. Charlotte wasn't sure as to what exactly she was doing, and the children had their own personality quirks that seemed to clash with Charlotte and the new life surrounding them. Through the two books we engross ourselves into the trials and triumphs of this family, and are left curious as to what lies next in their journey.

The only thing I would complain about is that sometimes there's just a little too much detail. But yet, at the same time, I really liked it because it helped the story come to life. There were just times that it made the storyline move too slowly for my taste. Aside from that, I think these ladies did a wonderful job and I hope we will be seeing more from them soon!
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