In Once Upon a Summer, the first in Janette Oke’s Seasons of the Heart series, Joshua Jones had lost his parents before he was old enough to retain memories of them. Since his infancy, he had been raised and loved by his Aunt Lou, Grandpa, and Uncle Charlie at his Grandpa’s farm.
Their guidance had imbued him with a strong sense of right and wrong and personal responsibility.
Josh recognizes that although his family is not the standard mother, father and children, his is a close-knit, loving family in which every individual works hard with good humor and values each other. But an overheard conversation plunges a horrified Josh into fear that his beloved Aunt Lou will be expected to marry soon.
Josh’s eventful summer is marked with his strategies to thwart the matchmaking efforts of the adult men in his family and his struggle with questions of loss, love, faith and change. Josh tells his own story of summer, revealing in his boy’s voice his journey toward young manhood.
I enjoyed several of this author’s books of inspirational fiction several decades ago. Even though this was a free Kindle book, the author did not disappoint with this easy-to-read tale. I don’t know how long it will be offered free, but it was still free on Amazon.com at 8:45 p.m. Central Daylight Savings Time March 9, 2014.
A personal digression: Josh’s perceptions and actions made me recall how much my late mother loved teaching children of Josh’s age. She said her third graders, especially the boys, experienced dramatic changes.
She noted that the planes of their faces became more pronounced. They lost that “little boy” look. And like Josh, her students were beginning to question things formerly accepted without question and to ponder life, even if they did not always have the vocabulary to articulate what was stirring in their thoughts.
She considered it a pivotal season of life, ripe for teachers to make a difference.