Friday, May 24, 2019

Book review with a giveawy: Past Forward by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book: Past Forward
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Release Date: April 19, 2017


Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

The Finley women’s lives, while rich and full, aren’t easy. rejecting electricity and many other modern conveniences, they live purposefully and intentionally–alone and isolated from the world around them.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother dead.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

The Past Forward series opens with Willow’s life-changing discovery and gently guides the reader through aspects of her life–the past weaving through the present and into the future. Experience her first morning in church, her first movie, and the culture shock of her first trips to the city. A birthday party and a street faire add welcome diversion from butchering, canning, and the beating of area rugs. Disaster strikes. Will she choose to continue her simple life, or will an offer in the city change it all? Find out in this first volume.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

Originally published as a serial novel, this book is one that you will seriously be invested in.  It is long, covering several years, and it is detailed, describing life on Willow's farm and her many first experiences.  But it is worth it.  The premise of meeting new people and experiencing so many things for the first time after having lived her whole life in isolation from the world seems interesting enough.  ("What's Disney World?")  But Havig ramps up the story line with a beautiful romance, lots of laughter, and plenty of suspense.

Willow is such a doll, but she is very accomplished and intelligent, despite being naive to the world.  And Chad's reputation precedes him, as an upstanding law enforcement officer.  As well as experiencing everything for the first time with Willow, and getting into Chad's head, Havig has a full complement of lovable and believable supporting characters.

Another wonderful thing about reading this book is discovering all the connections (think Easter Eggs!) to other books I've read by this author.  It doesn't affect the story if one is not aware, but it's a nice bonus to reconnect with previous characters, places, and situations.

Fans of contemporary fiction and Christian fiction will enjoy this book.  I certainly did!

I received an ebook copy of this book from the author, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author




Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.







More from Chautona

How Did My Weird High School Years Inspire This Book?

December 1985. The time had finally come. After two months of living in a run-down motel in Rosamond, California, we were finally moving to our own place. Seventeen miles away.

Just off Highway 58, outside Mojave, California (about the place that Alton Gansky’s, Distant Memory opens), a huge billboard loomed. For the curious, it’s still there today. Aqueduct City.

For the record, there was no city. There still isn’t. Just a dirt road or three. Oh, and the aqueduct. In fact, that’s eventually how we got our water—stole it from the California aqueduct.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At the edge of all those parcels lay our new land. Twenty-two acres of desert sand, creosote, sage, and a tiny, baby Joshua tree at the end of our long, U-shaped dirt driveway.

I took out that sucker with my first attempt at backing down the drive. It looked like a snake had slithered back and forth across the sandy strip of cleared dirt, and somehow I managed to run over the foot-high tree. It wasn’t often I managed to shock my mother speechless. That was one time. I now have mad back-upping skills. Thought you oughtta know.

On that land, my parents put an 18’ travel trailer.

We hauled in water in 55-gallon drum barrels—first from a friend’s house and later from that aqueduct. It was several miles closer. One of those barrels ended up on top of the trailer for showers. The water pressure depended on how full that sucker was. Navy showers? Ever had one? It goes like so:

Turn on water.

Make one slow turn under the water to get all wet.

Turn it off.

Lather up.

Shampoo hair.

Turn on water.

Turn off.

Work conditioner into hair.

Turn on water.

Turn off.

Get out.

Try to stop your teeth from chattering.

For the record, that chattering is no joke. When it’s twenty degrees out there, water gets cold. And we had no way to heat it.

Our plumbing also included a shovel. For… um… other plumbing needs. Winter was the worst and the best time for the call of nature. Worst because, well, 40 mph winds and twenty-degree weather. Best, because no snakes.

We used Coleman propane lanterns, a propane refrigerator (that sat outside our door), and eventually, a gas-powered generator. Once a week, Dad would fire that thing up so I could iron my church clothes. #darkages

For the curious, summer was blistering hot.

No fans (except for stiff cardboard we used arm-power to operate). No air conditioner. Not even a swamp cooler. Mom and I would go into town and read at the library when we just couldn’t take another minute in 112-degree desert heat. She’d drive me to Lancaster so I could go sit in an air-conditioned movie theater and watch another movie. If it came out in 1986 or 1987 and wasn’t pure smut, I probably saw it. Out of self-preservation.

Before long, I’d been relegated to the “porch.” That consisted of a redwood lattice “patio” enclosure in front of the trailer door. (For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I was the dictionary definition of “trailer trash” in some people’s books.) That space was eight feet wide and sixteen feet long.

I had a twin bed out there. When winter came, dad made sleeping out there more bearable by heating huge rocks in one of those 55-gallon drum barrels and wrapping them in old quilts. That went at the foot of my bed to keep my feet warm.

If only the wind hadn’t blown sand into my hair every night…

What does all of this have to do with Past Forward?

Just this. People have often asked why Willow would choose to live without electricity. Some have said you couldn’t live only five miles outside of town and be so isolated and reclusive.

I disagree.

We did it. By choice. Because it’s who my father is. And of all of my characters, Kari Finley, Willow’s mother, is the most like my father. The way Kari taught Willow? That’s exactly how Dad used to teach me—by making it a natural part of life.

I didn’t know it when I wrote the series, but Past Forward really does show exactly what kind of life my father would have chosen to live if he’d ever really considered it. The self-sustaining work, the emphasis on beauty, the isolation—all of it shows the kind of man I call Dad.

If you’d asked me as a kid what I thought of living out there in Mojave, I would have said I hated it. Not only that, I would have believed myself. But if you’d talked to me for a while, you would have figured out that I said that because I was expected to. No one thinks you’ll like living with almost nothing, in the middle of nowhere, especially as a teenager.

Looking back, though, I actually I liked it. Dad. Mom. Me. And Boozer, our dog. I’d tell you about her, but that’s a story for another day. Yeah, I liked my life there “out on the property,” as we called it.

Except for the Mojave green rattlesnakes. Not a fan of those. Not then or today.

Just sayin’.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 15
A Reader’s Brain, May 15
Godly Book Reviews, May 16
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 17
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 17
Blogging With Carol, May 18
Inklings and notions, May 18
Bigreadersite, May 19
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 19
All-Of-a-kind Mom, May 20
Texas Book-aholic, May 20
Aryn The Libraryan, May 21
Quiet Workings, May 22
Retrospective Spines, May 22
Inspired by Fiction, May 23
Carpe Diem, May 24
For Him and My Family, May 25
janicesbookreviews, May 25
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 26
Rebekah’s Quill, May 27
Inspiration Clothesline, May 28

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes a complete paperback set of Past Forward & a custom Past Forward Lavender Lemonade candle!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e319/past-forward-celebration-tour-giveaway

1 comment:

  1. I love hearing that there are connections to other Havig stories! This was my first by this author so now I'm excited to explore more. Thanks for the insider scoop!

    ReplyDelete