You’re probably familiar with Thomas Kinkade’s art, but did you know that he has also co-written quite a few books?
The Painter of Light has now become the writer of light, with the help of Katherine Spencer that is. I was first given the Cape Light books by my grandmother who enjoys reading Christian novels. One the whole I enjoyed the series though there were times when I felt it became too preachy, still I read on.
The opening book of the set is Cape Light itself. A small town on the coast of Massachusetts, Cape Light is inhabited by people who have real life problems just like anyone else. The difference between these books and many others is the strength of faith that most of these characters have. The Warwick family seems to be the backbone of the town with Emily the mayor, Jessica assistant bank manager, and Lillian the family matriarch. The Warwick family fell on hard times while the girls were in school, the family mansion was given to the town and they went from being the richest in town to struggling. Emily seems to have weathered this well, while Jessica sees it in the eyes of everyone she meets in town.
As in many series, you meet so many characters in the first book it can be very hard to keep track of them. It is worth continuing to read. The further you get into the books the easier it is to keep track of everyone and the more you want updates on everyone you’ve met.
There is one central character that appears in every book. As this is a Christian series it comes as no surprise that the character is the leader of the town church: Reverend Ben Lewis. He is a rock to lean on to his congregants yet he suffers from his own regrets. I love that he is a human, with human problems. I think many times ministers are viewed as different, holy, on a pedestal. Ben is simply another human being who has devoted his life to God but struggles in his faith at times like so many others.
Home Song continues to focus on the Warwick family, this time with Emily at the center. We find that she has her own set of regrets, a widow at a very young age she also gave up her daughter for adoption. She has spent 20 years wondering what has become of her little girl. After seeing Lillian’s reaction to Jessica’s fiance it comes as no surprise that it was at Lillian’s urging Emily gave away her daughter. Lillian has a very strong sense of right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. It’s hard to dislike her completely though. I wondered for a long time what kind of upbringing she had that made her so stiff, if it was the tragedy she weathered, or merely her age. She also shows signs of love and caring that help keep you hoping she will change.
Emily is finally able to relax and enjoy life a bit more after the mayoral election is done. She can begin to focus on her relationship with the publisher of the town newspaper Dan Forbes. Ok I have to be honest here, this little plot to me dropped how I would rate this book as he seemed to just echo the story of Judge Olivia Lockhart and newspaperman Jack Griffin in the Cedar Cove series by Debbie Macomber, also set in a small coastal town. Now other than that relationship the two series are different enough for this not to feel like Cape Light was merely a copycat, however that element did throw off my enjoyment somewhat. Still as there was so much going on such as Reverend Ben struggling with his family including the consequences of his own actions towards his son, Charlie Bates is unhappy (nicest way to put it) that his wife Lucy has gone back to school to get her nursing degree, and Digger a beloved old seaman in the town sinks deeper into dementia. All of this occurs in The Gathering Place.
The final installment in the original set of Cape Light books is A New Leaf. The story in this book shifts away from the the Warwick family. Molly Willoughby, Jessica’s sister-in-law, is a single mother of two. She has been working a number of odd jobs to make ends meet. She dreams of having her own business catering and baking but can’t seem to get there. Alone since her divorce she suddenly has the option of two suitors: the new doctor in town also a single parent and shockingly her ex-husband Phil. Dr. Matthew Harding is recently widowed and not sure he’s ready to move on but Molly intrigues him. As their daughters become friends he and Molly begin to spend more time together getting to know one another. Phil shows up in Cape Light claiming he is a changed man. He wants a second chance to be a good father and a second chance as a husband. Molly wants to believe him, she wants her daughters to have their father in their lives but in the past he was notoriously unreliable.
Officer Tucker Tulley’s step-brother Carl has been released from prison and Tucker takes him in, to his wife’s consternation. Carl takes a job at the church as sexton, maintenance man. He struggles to find his way in town though facing old demons and a reputation that has lived on in his absence. Tucker hears comments from many of the townspeople about his brother as well as his wife, while Carl seems less than grateful for the help.
Elsewhere in town Sophia must decide what to do with the apple orchard that has been in her family for years now that her husband has died. Her children are sure the answer is to sell the orchard but Sophia doesn’t want to leave the only place she’s ever known as home.
This is not the end of the Cape Light books however the rest are Christmas themed books, so I’ll give them their own post. Keep an eye out for that!
What’s your favorite Christmas book??