From the author of the USA Today bestseller The Hideaway comes another story of families and mending the past.
Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have long since buried their desire for children of their own. While Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget her dream of motherhood. But when her free-spirited sister, Jenna, drops off her two young daughters for “just two weeks,” Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.
As the two weeks stretch deeper into the Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world—and revel in the laughter that now fills their home. Meanwhile, record temperatures promise to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.
Attending an art retreat four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She finally has time and energy to focus on her photography, a lifelong ambition. But she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home as a single mom.
When Hurricane Ingrid aims a steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that will change her family’s future, even as Betsy and Ty try to protect their beloved farm and their hearts. Hurricane Season is the story of one family’s unconventional journey to healing—and the relationships that must be mended along the way.
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 3, 2018)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 3, 2018)
I was excited to sign up for this book store as I really enjoyed the author's first book, The Hideaway (see my review here) and much likeThe Hideaway, I was immediately drawn to the cover of this one. Lauren K. Denton has the most gorgeous covers on her books--I like to just sit and look at them. But the appeal to Denton's books is also what is inside the covers, where she writes beautiful stories about relationships and creates well-developed and enjoyable characters.
Hurricane Season is the story of sisters Betsy and Jenna, who were extremely close as children but who have grown apart in adulthood. Betsy is the responsible older sister, married to her dairy-farmer husband, working with him to grow their business, and longing for a child. Jenna is the less conventional younger sister, a single mother with two young daughters who works at a coffee shop to support her family. Betsy was Jenna's champion and caretaker when they were younger and when her sister asks her to keep Addie and Walsh for two weeks while she attends an arts retreat to work on her photography, Betsy can't say no. She also doesn't consult Ty, which causes a strain in their relationship. When Jenna sees a better future through her photos, she extends her stay at the retreat and between caring for the children and working the farm in the midst of the hurricane season with a big storm on the horizon, Betsy and Ty feel their world changing.
Betsy and Jenna both have more depth to their characters than they appear to at first--their actions aren't always likable, but I found myself liking and relating to them both. I also enjoyed Ty and Jenna's two girls, who were precocious without being annoying so. I am not a big reader of Christian Fiction but Denton's books are on the lighter side of it and faith exists as an aspect, rather than the center of the story. Much like her covers that capture the mood of the book and pull me into the setting, Denton paints the charming southern locations vividly with her words and I found myself wanting to visit both the Halcyon artist retreat and the Franklin Dairy Farm. I found myself quickly caught up in the story and was sad to see it end. Hurricane Season is a sweet book and would make a great beach read for anyone who enjoys books about sibling/sister relationships, family drama, and southern fiction.
Author Notes: Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books.
Connect with Lauren on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
There was a decent amount of food in Hurricane Season including breakfast casserole, coffee, eggs, cookies, pancakes and scrambled eggs, ice tea, snap beans, pecans, chocolate pudding, yogurt, ice cream, cake, mimosas, chicken salad with grapes and nuts, pinot grigio, margaritas and tapas, Cheetos, sweet tea, spaghetti, pizzas, crackers, strawberries, pound cake, milk, apple juice, chocolate bread pudding, snickerdoodles, catfish plate, grilled shrimp, wild rice, salad, brownies, grilled cheese sandwiches, chips, apple slices, a pimento cheese sandwich, tea and homemade biscuits, fried chicken, potato salad, fried shrimp, fruity frozen drinks, chocolate milk, field peas, collards, butter beans, fried okra, cornbread, watermelon, pasta with capers, blueberry muffins, orange juice, chocolate chips, Goldfish crackers, barbecue, macaroni and cheese with bread crumb topping, fluffy biscuits, broccoli salad, tres leches cake, banana pudding, pecan pie, canned beans, Ritz crackers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, turkey sandwiches with apple slices and carrots, and shrimp po'boys.
Although pancakes, spaghetti/pasta and potato salad all came up a few times, I wanted to a make something different and I wanted it to be a dish that acknowledged the Franklin Dairy Farm where much of the story took place so I knew I wanted it to include eggs and milk or cheese. I also was craving pimento cheese--which Betsy made into a sandwich for Ty, and which I have made a couple times before on this blog. Since I had already stuffed that pimento cheese into a grilled cheese sandwich (here), I wanted to change it up and add it to an egg dish.
After seeing a recipe on Food52 for Cheese-Crusted Eggs--where fried eggs are cooked on top of melty cheese, I played around with it, making some delicious eggs with Parmesan and cheddar. I wondered if I could do something similar with pimento cheese. After all, I've seen recommendations to spread your grilled cheese with mayo--so would it melt well for eggs cooked on top? I made a small batch of pimento cheese and gave it a try.
It didn't turn out quite like I was hoping, but I wasn't too disappointed in my plate of eggs on top of melty pimento cheesy goodness on crisp toast. See Notes/Results below.
For the Pimento Cheese: I reduced and slightly modified this recipe (using less mayo and green onion in place of white) for Classic Pimento Cheese from Quick Fix Southern by Rebecca Lang.
1/2 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp jarred diced pimentos, drained
1 Tbsp diced green onion
1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Grate the cheddar cheese using the large holes of a box grater. Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, onion and Worcestershire sauce in a medium mixing bowl. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
For the Pimento Cheesy Eggs:
Pimento Cheese--see recipe above
pepper and/or smoked paprika to taste for garnish
one or two pieces of toast
Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add about 2/3 the pimento cheese. As the cheese begins to melt, crack the eggs into the skillet over the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
If the eggs don't cover all of the cheese, gently try to spread the whites over the cheese or scrape the cheese towards the egg. Cover and cook the eggs until the whites are set, or to your preference. Transfer to a plate, grind a bit more black pepper and sprinkle with smoked paprika if desired and enjoy.
Notes/Results: So the mayo in the pimento cheese kept things super melty and oozy rather than getting a slightly crispy and chewy crust like just cheese does. Rather than sliding it out of the pan, I just scooped it and the eggs out on top of my toast--like a cheesy gravy. I do plan to try the recipe again sans the mayonnaise but with the cheddar, pimentos and green onion and see what happens. Honestly, I can't complain too much about all of the oozy goodness that blanketed my eggs and topped my piece of toast. It's so rich that in the future I would probably do 1/2 the cheesy mixture and just one egg, but I managed to eat most of my salad plate full for brunch. This was a fun and tasty kitchen experiment that I am glad I tried and will work on perfecting. ;-)
I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.
Note: A review copy of "Hurricane Season" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.