reviewed here). Lots is changing in the lives of the Brooke family and in the town of Holyhill. Jocie is starting high school, her sister Tabitha is about to have her baby, her father may just be falling in love with a wonderful lady, Wes has moved into their home while he recuperates from his shattered leg, which Jocie feels totally responsible for). On top of all this a new family has moved into town and bought the farm land from a loving older couple, hoping to turn it into an apple orchard. But trouble starts when people realize the family is not only black but the Mom was heavily involved in protests in the big city they were from and is not about to back down from a civil rights confrontation. In fact, she almost seems to invite it. Not only is the town on pins and needles but so is the church as what is really in the hearts of the people starts to rise to the surface and the close knit town starts to see divides forming.
I loved this second book in the series. Just like the first book, I loved all the characters. The introduction of the Hearndon family made the story really take a whole other turn, a good one, as the town and it's individuals must face what is in their own hearts. The orchard of hope, as the family calls the farm they are turning into an apple orchard, is their father's fresh start from everything happening in the bigger city where they are from. Jocie's father hires the young boy from the family to help at the newspaper while Wes recovers but as he finds out, not everyone thinks he should have. While the book takes on racial discrimination it also tackles the subject of guilt and forgiving oneself so that you can move on in life. Like the first book, this is not abook that jumped from action packed chapter to action packed chapter, though it did have some, but was beautiful story telling. I gave it a 10/10