I read Sally John’s books when I need a nice sweet story. Between Us Girls is the first in the Family of the Heart series. Sally has a wonderful way of writing characters and settlings full of people and areas we all want to live in. In the Family of the Heart series, it is Casa de Vida. A community of misfits and those that need a place to hide for a while.
Run by Olivia “please call me Liv,” each of the cottages of her little sea side community is filled with someone sent by God. Liv is the mother hen and loves on all who come through her gates. Young or old, she belives God brought each individual to her for a reason and she prays over them and takes care of them the same.
Jasmyn lost everything is a tornado that wiped out her home and farm that she inherited from her grandparents. It leaves her at loose ends, so she decides almost on a spur of the moment to sell the property and live in a tiny little apartment. When folks in town find out she sold to a developer, things start to get ugly and she takes a vacation. There, she finds what feels like home. How can California feel like home when she has never been there? Once introduced to and living at Casa de Vida, will she ever feel like going home to Valley Oaks, Illinois?
We all long to belong somewhere. Whether it is with blood relatives or a motley crew of friends who become family, we just want to know we are loved for who we are, not what we can do for others. Sally uses that in her books and that is what makes them a pleasure to read. They feel like home, and even if it sounds like everyone in the book may have it all together, you know they don’t. By helping each other they work through issues and are able to find their way again. Along the way they also find out something about themselves.
Reading a book about sunny and warm California while it is snowing out is not always a good idea as it makes me wonder why I live in Michigan. It made me laugh when one of the characters said everyone in CA is happy and another answered, “Well of course they are, what to they have to be unhappy about? It is warm and sunny there all the time.” So if you hear I have packed my bags and am moving to the west coast you know this book is to blame.