Sunrise on the Battery
Mary Lynn and Jackson Scoville have pulled themselves up from their rural South Carolina bootstraps to become a noteworthy couple in Charleston society. They hold spots on educational and organizational boards, attend prestigious functions, and immerse themselves in culture. Determined to make sure that their three daughters have everything and every opportunity they did not, the Scovilles envelop them in culture and education --- from classical music lessons to multiple foreign language instruction to honors classes. It is a busy life, full of pressure, stress and responsibilities, but all worth it to Mary Lynn and Jackson, who are just about to climb another rung on their society ladder. They do not know it’s the last step they will take in that direction, or anticipate the heavenly blessings that await them on the way down.
"Great setting, nice imagery and natural-sounding dialogue provide the perfect accompaniments for an intriguing plot. This is the kind of book you’ll want to share with friends and family."
The rising sun is just beginning to watercolor the morning sky as Mary Lynn sets off on her run along the harbor. When her calf muscle ruptures, Mary Lynn collapses in pain. She is rescued by Roy Summerall, reverend of St. Michael’s where she occasionally attends church. Before sending her home in a taxi, he prays a healing prayer. By the time she gets home, she can walk pain free. She does not tell anyone about the miracle --- especially Jackson, who has no use for God and would never believe her. But the divine healing prompts Mary Lynn to put God a little closer to the forefront of her mind. Perhaps that is why she takes a Bible along on their post-Christmas trip to England. When Jackson accidentally leaves his books at the airport, she offers him her Bible. He accepts, desperate to read something, and spends the next couple of weeks immersed in God’s Word.
Jackson is convinced he knows what’s important in life; he even created a family mission statement that reflects it. Immersion in education and culture leave no room in his life for the God that let him down as a child --- the God who took away his mother. As for the Bible, it’s just too crazy to be true. The promises, the miracles…the grace. But something about the words in that book has wrapped around his mind. Determined to shake it, he schedules a meeting with Rev. Summerall, planning to disprove Christianity with his intellect. When the Reverend offers answers he didn’t expect, and gives him other books to read, Jackson heads down a path he never intended.
Sixteen-year-old Catherine Scoville is tired of the stress and pressure. She is drowning in education and culture, gasping for air, wishing her conversations with her father went beyond the constant quizzing and pushing. Her hand sometimes trembles uncontrollably, and lately she’s been taking the prescription drugs provided by the boy next door. In a desperate attempt to fix her life, Catherine asks God to help her.
Jackson is a man who believes in putting his heart and soul into whatever he deems significant. On the day his heart opens to God, he sees himself, his family, and the world around him from a completely new perspective. Mary Lynn and the girls are thrilled initially with the new Jackson. He is kind, loving, and far more interested in their hearts than their accomplishments. But none of them are prepared for the intensity of Jackson’s newfound faith, or the way it is unraveling their high society world. Can Mary Lynn and her daughters climb down from their ivory tower and join Jackson? If so, will it be worth all that’s lost?
Author Beth Webb Hart tells a compelling story that is all too relevant in today’s world. And although it’s set in historic Charleston, it is filled with characters we see every day in every corner of the country. Great setting, nice imagery and natural-sounding dialogue provide the perfect accompaniments for an intriguing plot. This is the kind of book you’ll want to share with friends and family.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on January 17, 2012