Once Upon a Summer  - Janette Oke

Joshua Jones is 13 years old and living in the mid-West Plains area of the US in what I am guessing is the turn of the century or early 20th century. Sounds vague? Yeah, I am still not sure where and when the story takes place as the author doesn't seem to want to nail down those pesky details. The Jones family is a rag tag bunch - Gramps (Josh's great-grandfather), Grandpa (Josh's grandfather), Uncle Charlie (brother to Grandpa, son to Gramps), and Auntie Lou (who is just 5 years older and is the daughter of Grandpa).  Most of the Jones family is dead and Josh has some issues with losing any more loved ones.


The title is misleading - this book begins in late summer, stretches into fall, and finally with the first snow of winter. All we get our vingettes and scenes of a 13 year old boy living on a farm in the mid-West. Josh wasn't all that bratty, but he had his moments where a good stfu was in order.


I had more of a problem with Grandpa's and Uncle Charlie's search for their ideal suitor for Auntie Lou. That was rife with patriarchial nonsense and superficial list of things potential suitors should have for the approval of courting Lou. In the end, Auntie Lou picked her own husband, the new preacher; however, Grandpa and Uncle Charlie only approved because the preacher helped them save their farm and the town from a wildfire. Grandpa was more than happy to believe town rumors about the preacher's family before the fire. Yeah, could see that coming a mile away, especially after she refused to get to know one of the neighboring farmers because he or his family didn't go to church. Auntie Lou had her superficial moments too.


The religious aspects of the book was a 12 on a 1-10 preachy scale, which is weird considering this family only had a superficial relationship with God (going to church once a week and all being around other Christians). 1.5 stars because the dog and Gramps were great.