WAITING FOR SUNRISE, the second book in Eva Marie Everson’s Cedar Key series, kicks off with a prologue from 1964. Patsy and her husband Gilbert have arrived in Cedar Key and are waiting to be seated at a restaurant they’ve never been to before. The hostess speaks to her boss and calls him by a name that Patsy instantly recognizes. She looks over, into a face she has never forgotten.
"It’s a smooth read, heavy at times, but overall a well-written historical to contemporary story about disappointment, heartache, acceptance, forgiveness and grace."
We’re then taken back to 1946, when Patsy’s story begins. She lives with her mother, Bernice Liddle; two half-brothers, Harold and Billy; and her violent stepfather, Ira Liddle, who regularly abuses them. From the look her stepfather gives her one day, when he happens to catch her wearing a sheer nightgown, it’s clear he realizes she’s becoming a woman. Patsy’s mother suspects it won’t be long before he acts on it. A few days later, Patsy comes home from school and her mother asks her to get in the car. Mama then puts her on a bus and sends her to live with a nice Christian couple who are also raising Lloyd, the brother Patsy barely remembers she has.
On the bus, Patsy meets Gilbert, who eventually becomes her husband.
WAITING FOR SUNRISE is a coming-of-age story of sorts, as it follows Patsy’s life from childhood through motherhood. We see how the matters of her past, and the abandonment she feels from her mother, plays a part in her relationships with her husband and her children. Her childhood issues have had such a drastic impact on her, in fact, that she ends up doing the one thing she never thought she would (which I’m not going to reveal because I don’t want to give anything away).
The story is told mostly from the perspectives of Patsy and Billy, the two half-siblings who were separated at a young age, yet never forgot the other. It is extremely well written, with sensitivity and heart. Although the tale spans many years and includes various points of view, it is not hard to follow, as dates and locations are highlighted in bold at the beginning of each changing scene, so you know who is “speaking.” Everson has done a wonderful job portraying the separate journeys, and I enjoyed discovering how they eventually entwined.
A significant takeaway is the love that Gilbert has for Patsy. Even when jealousy and insecurity rears its ugly head and Patsy has a breakdown, Gilbert never once considers walking out, and is always gentle and loving with her. His love for his family is evident throughout, even though he experiences frustration and sometimes irritation (and who wouldn’t?)
Lots of tough topics are featured in the book, including abuse, abandonment, dysfunctional families, sacrifice, death, pain and mental illness. If you’ve read CHASING SUNSETS, you’ll find this one to be quite different, both in style and tone. It’s a smooth read, heavy at times, but overall a well-written historical to contemporary story about disappointment, heartache, acceptance, forgiveness and grace.
I have to add that there isn’t much about the actual town of Cedar Key in this book, so if you’re looking for the “beach town” setting of CHASING SUNSETS, you won’t find it here. What you will find is a story that just may tug at your heartstrings and require a few tissues. This is all leading up to the third book in the series, SLOW MOON RISING, which releases in 2013.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on July 18, 2012