When the Meadow Blooms (Book Review)

  • Author: Ann H. Gabhart
  • Publisher: Revell (Baker Book House)
  • Available Now
  • Synopsis: After convalescing in a tuberculosis hospital for over two years, Rose longs to be reunited with her daughters, Calla and Sienna. Her prayer is answered through Dirk Meadows, the brother of her deceased husband.
  • DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. Opinions expressed are my own.

Scripture Connection

But the needy will not be ignored forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed.

Psalm 9:18

Spiritual Themes

The characters earnestly pray and believe that God answers prayer. In the darkest places, they put their trust in Him, and see Him answer! He delivers the characters from distress, like in the verse from Psalm 9. Repentance and forgiveness are also important themes in the novel and I especially relished the beauty of the section on repentance.

What I Liked

Setting

The writing is simply gorgeous and reminded me a bit of L.M. Montgomery’s (She’s one of my favorite authors). Descriptions are lush and restful. I so enjoyed reading about Meadowland, particularly because of the very personal connection I felt with the setting: My mom and I have named our home Meadow Arc. Meadow Arc is a burgeoning food forest, with lots of wildflowers and a good deal of wildlife. Meadowland felt just like Meadow Arc. While I often read outside, this was an especially enjoyable experience for me, given the content of the book.

Meadowland is now one of my favorite book settings and I feel that the time setting also worked well with it. The book takes place in the late 1920s and felt very realistic.

Characters/Perspectives

The characters were immensely likable, while being realistic. Sienna was definitely my favorite (I think it would be hard not to like her) and she reminded me a bit of Beth from Little Women. Calla was amazing, too. Honestly, each of the main characters (Dirk, Rose, Calla and Sienna) were remarkably resilient and even heroic.

Gabhart alternated between the perspectives of Rose, Calla and Dirk, and I felt that this was a fantastic decision on her part– particularly the inclusion of Calla’s perspective. In my opinion, this third voice really refreshed the plot. I often read novels alternating between one adult female and one adult male, and I feel that the inclusion of the young adult voice, here, really changes the dynamic of the book. It’s not just about Rose trying to take care of her daughters, but it’s also very much about the sibling dynamic. Sienna and Calla are some of the sweetest sisters I have read, and among my favorite literary siblings.

Plot

The plot is surprisingly simple, given the length of the book. However, it is deeply enriched with setting details and flashbacks. There is a pervading sweetness throughout the novel, in spite of the very difficult things that happen to the characters. There’s just so much love, paired with the enchanting setting. This was a very restful book.

Content

I’m hard-pressed to think of any content concerns. One small note is that family relationships and togetherness are HUGE in the story. This could be a harder book for those who come from abusive family backgrounds.

There is a slight question, in my mind, about the “equally-yokedness” of two of the characters in a burgeoning romance, but I don’t want to spoil anything. I would describe this as ambiguous.

Recommendation Status

This book is the first title I have read by Ann H. Gabhart and I am now eager to read more. Highly recommended, especially to fans of books like Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. What a sweet, wholesome novel!

Published by Stephanie Agnes-Crockett

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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