Once Upon a Summer (Seasons of the Heart)

by Janette Oke

Paperback, 2010



Call number



Bethany House Publishers (2010), Edition: Repackaged ed., 256 pages


Sure, it's unusual to have an eighteen-year-old mother when you're twelve. But when you're an orphan and she's your aunt and the only mother you've ever had-well, as I explained, it had worked out real well. That's why I got so riled up when I heard Grandpa and Uncle Charlie talkin' about findin' a fella for Auntie Lou! You see, somethin' had to be done! I couldn't just sit back and watch our special family get broken up. But with Grandpa and Uncle Charlie workin' so hard to get Auntie Lou married off, I had a job cut out for me. Then, when that poor preacher came along and everything got really complicated. And maybe you'll find out what I found out about the best kind of family, I mean.

User reviews

LibraryThing member pbadeer
Every once in a while I look for something “different” to read. Although I’m not sure if Janette Oke would fall onto everyone’s list of the new and the novel – particularly since this title was written decades ago – I stumbled across this audiobook while searching for something narrated
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by one of my favorite narrators (Johnny Heller), and I decided to give it a go.

To be fair, I have read Inspirational/Christian Fiction in the past. Although I wouldn’t consider myself a “fan” of the genre, I find the wholesome and positive story lines a satisfying remedy to my typically cynical self. In this case, the storyline seemed to cover an interesting, non-Amish subject, and what little I had heard about Oke lead me to believe the novel would be low on the “Bible Thumping” and “Repent or Die” scale. I was pleased on all fronts.

Following the life of an orphaned farm boy, raised by his young aunt and other relatives, Once Upon a Summer does not try too hard to be “religious”. In fact, what I enjoyed about the book, was the uncharacteristic inclusion of very “non-christian” thoughts (i.e., hoping his Great Grandfather would die on his way to their home so that he wouldn’t have to live with them) – I guess that was my cynical side coming out. Of course, there is an underlying message that to be good in the eyes of man is to be good in the eyes of God (and in some cases, vice versa), it is subtle enough and sufficiently integrated into the plot that the reading experience is not jarring to the casual reader (i.e., those not reading it specifically for its Christian content).
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LibraryThing member wndy2011
A story of a young boy who lost both of his parents, raised by his grandfather, great uncle and aunt. The young man learns to cope with life on a farm, loss of loved ones, and learning the true meaning of what God has in store for us and why things turn out the way they do.
LibraryThing member kim.jacobs
Enjoyable book following the life of Josh, his aunt, grandpa, and other family members. I liked keeping up with what Josh was doing and how he was feeling throughout the story. I look forward to reading more books in this series.
LibraryThing member SueinCyprus
I was delighted to find this free for my Kindle, as I remembered enjoying it many years ago when I first read it. The story is told by the young teenage Josh who was orphaned at a young age, and lives on a farm with his grandfather, great-uncle, and Aunt Lou. Lou is only a few years older than he
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is, but runs the kitchen and household effectively, while Josh combines a zest for life with a great deal of hard work, both at school and on the farm where he has a lot of daily chores.

The arrival of Josh's great-grandfather shakes things up a bit, as does his grandfather's determination to find a suitable young man for Lou.

The book is a well-drawn picture of life in a bygone era in the US, with a surprising amount of human interest. I found tears welling up more than once as I read. There's some rather overt Christian content at the end which might irritate some readers, but it's not over-the-top, and in the context of the story is relevant and believable.

All in all, I enjoyed it. Suitable for teens or older children as well as adults.
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LibraryThing member zarasecker18

I have loved Janette Oke’s books since I was young girl when I read her Love Comes Softly book (I never managed to get to the second and subsequent books until many years later). All of Janette Oke’s books are written with the utmost care and love. The characters in her books are lovingly
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developed and nurtured into life. Her books lack superficiality and are a delight to read. Once Upon a Summer is no different. Josh, the main character of the book, is realistic in his understanding of the reality of life and how people grow-up, move away and develop their own lives. This was a lesson he had to learn with respect to his Aunt Lou becoming involved with someone and all that that meant for him and the rest of his family. The process he went through to get to a place where he was able to understand what was happening was described and approached with great love, consideration and care. I wasn’t disappointed at all with this book and found it a pleasure to read. It was a real feel good read.

Overall I enjoyed this book like I have for all the other books that I have read of hers. I gave it 4 stars.

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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

8.38 inches


0764208004 / 9780764208003

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