Published: December 4th 2013 by BraveHearts Press, 478 pages
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Description: The Coach House Trailer Park is the last stop down the road of life for most of its residents. But a new girl sweeps into the neighborhood, charming them all with her wild nature, her elderberry gifts, and her outrageous laughter. What brings the mysterious Willow Goodhope of ELDERBERRY CROFT to this dead end place? From what—or whom—is she hiding?
A collection of twelve short stories, ELDERBERRY CROFT is the tale of one woman’s journey toward HOPE and HEALING, and the people whose lives she transforms along the way.
JANUARY BREEZE: There’s a new girl in town, and she’s breathing life into The Coach House Trailer Park, starting with the tiny cottage she christens Elderberry Croft. Kathy isn’t so sure about this wild child living across the way, with her generosity and exuberance for life. What is Willow Goodhope doing in a place like The Coach House?
FEBRUARY EMBERS: Richard and Patti Davis' days stretch out endlessly before them, but lately, Richard has taken notice of the new neighbor in Space #12. Will Patti lose the only man she’s ever loved to the green-eyed earth girl? Or will Willow steal both their hearts?
MARCH WHISPERS: Joe Sanderson believes that living simply is simply better living. He gardens, he cooks, he entertains Vivian. Everything is going just fine...then along comes Ms. Willow, with her whispering shadows and her elderberry pie, reminding him of what it means to be a man.
APRIL SHADOWS: The Cat Lady rarely sets foot outside her trailer during the light of day. But one morning, Willow shows up at her door, knocking her perfectly-ordered world off its axis. And when the stillness is further interrupted by the Shadowman, Shelly must confront her past in order to embrace her future.
MAY ENCHANTMENT: Managing The Coach House keeps Eddie busy, if not exactly fulfilled. But the new girl, with her red hair and crazy laugh, is stirring up the neighborhood. Willow's making waves, and Eddie's a little swept off his feet, too. When he comes face to face with the Shadowman in the middle of the night, Eddie questions everything he thought he knew about himself.
JUNE MELODY: Myra believes her doctor when he says she’s going to die, but when she encounters a deadly rattlesnake, she realizes that maybe she needs to start living again, rather than spending her last years sitting around waiting to die.
JULY MADNESS: Donny Banks is trouble with a big T. Edith keeps hoping if she helps her baby out one more time, he’ll get his head on straight. But big brother Eddie has had enough. This time, Donny’s knocking on the wrong door—one that belongs to Willow—and Eddie's having none of it.
AUGUST MEMORIES: Al's job keeps him busy during the day, and his Bud keeps him company at night. But Al is a prisoner of his past, and when one phone call changes his future, Al must choose to do the right thing. To his surprise, Willow Goodhope may just hold the key that will set him free.
SEPTEMBER LONGING: Prudence loves animal prints, big hair, and red nails. She also loves her man, Carney, but is beginning to wonder if he feels the same about her. When Willow Goodhope shows up needing a friend, Prudence gets the chance to reevaluate what’s important when it comes to matters of the heart.
OCTOBER MOURNING: The baby growing in Andrea's womb is a miracle, and she marvels at the way she’s changing from the inside out. But when faced with the knowledge that she can no longer manage on her own, will her pride allow her to receive help from Willow?
NOVEMBER AWAKENING: A Vietnam Vet, Doc suffers from severe post-traumatic stress, debilitating episodes that send him back to the bottle time and time again. When he discovers Willow on the verge of giving in to her own despair, he finds unexpected solace in stepping outside his comfort zone to comfort her.
DECEMBER DAWNING: It’s been almost a year since Willow moved into Elderberry Croft, and she can no longer ignore the shadows that drove her here. Is there hope?
There are some people in the world who are truly angels and Willow Goodhope is one of them. The story is set up in a way that is very moving. The book starts out in January and there is a section for each month of the year. Each month has a couple of chapters in it and each one focuses on a different character in the trailer park.
Willow is new and moves in, instantly transforming her little corner into something magical. She is wise beyond her years and has two thumbs greener than green, for it seems that everything she even looks at grows. She can bake like no other and knows natural methods and cures for just about anything. She is so in tune to those around her and their needs, that I sometimes wondered if she knew what they needed before they did.
Willow is also something of a mystery--she occasionally seems sad, yet she's not one to talk about herself. Each character gets a piece of Willow until the full story comes out. I wondered at times if she was real, instead of a magical fairy.
What I loved the most about the story is the way that Willow is able to draw each person out and help them become a better person. I'm so glad I had the complete collection because everything ties together perfectly and I enjoyed every minute of it!
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