"What are you doing today that fulfills the hopes and prayers of someone yesterday?"
I'm not very familiar with Sandra Byrd's writing but the premise and book blurb grabbed my attention. Being a 1.5 generation Korean American, I was intrigued by a prominent character in the story who is Korean. And, of course, the dual-timeline plot won my heart over immediately. I'm so glad that I took a chance on this book because it's an unforgettable tear-jerker. I loved how third person perspective in 1958 flowed so easily into present day first person perspective and how so many details looped around and came back to meld the two storylines seamlessly. There is tremendous loss, heartache, grief, and pain but also faith, joy, hope, and love in community that soften the heartache and help each soul triumph into victorious heroic life.
The portrayal of Korean culture, food, language, mannerisms, and beliefs was accurate and delightful; it made me reminisce fondly of the days I lived in Korea with my grandparents and my youngest aunt, as well as my nuclear family. The notion of family - whether blood-related or not - runs strong throughout the book, as does the theme of home. Sacrificial and unconditional love, unshakable faith, perseverance, honor, and loyalty intermingle in the characters' lives to create a powerful story of hopes and dreams fulfilled and lives changed. The food and flowers in the story are amazing - I can still taste the dishes and smell the flowers. The romance between Cassidy and Nick during present time is only a small part of the plot but still worthwhile mentioning; the book would fit more into women's fiction category than contemporary romance.
Be ready with a box of tissues at hand!
I received the book from the publisher via JustRead Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are my own.
"Hand taste. Or taste of the hand. It means that each woman takes a recipe or a way of making food, and then if she feels it should be different, if she's confident she can make changes that will be an enhancement for her time and family, she changes it, maybe just a little, maybe a lot to make it her own."
This book is a celebration of growth and culture: passing down parts of our story to impact the next generation. Some of this connection takes place in a family garden. Recipes are also shared and adapted in the kitchen. Overall, this book is about using our roots to help us grow into who we are called to be.
At first, I was not sure about this book. Two Korean War Widows who become friends soon after their husbands die? But by the second chapter, I was drawn into their stories. Surviving such situations would have been so hard.
How the past blended into the present-day story was beautiful. This is a split timeline book. But rather than going back and forth from chapter to chapter, the story is told in sections. Each part made me want to know more. I could not wait to get back both to the present and to the past. I read this one in less than 24 hours because I had to know how everything related.
This book also covers how people are treated based on their race and also on their implied abilities. I feel like this book is honoring to those who do not fit into so-called "normal" parameters. This book celebrates life. Not only do the characters grow emotionally and mentally, but they also grow spiritually as well.
The line that will stick with me the longest: "What are you doing today that fulfills the hopes and prayers of someone yesterday?" As someone who was blessed with two praying grandmothers, I know that many of the opportunities and blessings that I have been given were because they went to God on my behalf. The story of faith through the generations was such a beautiful part of this story.
I absolutely LOVED this women's fiction book that contained the perfect combination of friendships, family, faith and even a touch of romance. Thank you to the publisher (Tyndale House) for letting me read the book on NetGalley. It is one that I will be recommending for a long time to come. All opinions in this review are my own.
This touching saga of two generations of women grasps your heart and won’t let it go. It emphasizes the importance of individual relationships and the value of each person. It begins with a time period I don’t recall reading about before—during the Korean War. An American nurse befriends the Korean wife of an American soldier. Both have been widowed and find support and connection with each other, becoming close friends. Juxtapose this story with the women’s granddaughters in modern time as they try to save the family home on Whidbey Island, and you gain additional insights. The intricate layers of the tender tale offer the reader a rich experience. The well-developed characters and the gently unfolding plot provide a satisfying read with suspense and some surprises. It sounds like it could be a true story. I think this would make a great discussion choice for a book club. I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. #Heirlooms #NetGalley
This is a lovely story with dual timelines past and present about family and coming together when it matters most! This book has a little bit everything romance, mystery, drama, food gardening and a little more. It was a great read with a lot of deep topics making it an emotional read and everything felt real and authentic making it easy to find a connection with the story and the characters. It's a story of hope, love and strength and the bonds between family!
Thank you Just Read Tours, Sandra Byrd and Tyndale House Publishers for sharing this beautiful story with me!
Heirlooms is the story of two set of women friendships in two different generations of the same families with both sets of friends willing to sacrifice to help their friend. The story is perfect Christian woman literature with new families formed not of blood, but of loyalty with faith as a center.
Helen is a navy widow working as a nurse when another young widow, Choi Eunhee, approaches her for help after her husband's death. Eunhee is an Asian bride alone and pregnant and Helen has her move in and learns as much about life from her new friend as Eunhee does about American culture. In the contemporary story, the two widows' granddaughters are also best friends with Cassidy coming back to live at Helen's house and try to rescue the family farm and Eunhee's granddaughter Grace living with her to hide a secret from her family. The granddaughters learn more about their grandmothers than they ever knew and what true friendship is.
Readers will enjoy the depth of these women characters and realize that true friendships can change generations to come. The setting of Whidbey Island near Seattle also adds charm to this novel.
I received a complimentary copy of Heirlooms through NetGalley and Tyndale, but all opinions are my own.
I appreciated how this story emphasized the importance of friends, family and community. The idea that each person has something to offer to help another was wonderfully prevalent. The author’s research into cooking and gardening was very evident and led to a fuller richer story. Her knowledge of Korean culture was skillfully added. I also enjoyed all the subtle nods to 50’s culture including learning to cook meat for your man (haha). The contemporary story includes a little bit of a romantic relationship which is refreshingly realistic. Overall, a beautiful story with great reminders about making your world a better place by taking what you have been given and making it your own in order to make a difference. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
I enjoyed this heartwarming tale about two brave women who face unbelievable, challenging times. I like how the author allowed readers to walk in these women’s shoes as they faced hardship, society pressures, with its rules and unfair conditions at the end of WWII. Both Helen Devries and Choi Eunhee help each other navigate the land mines created by the enemy and other surprises they didn’t expect.
In current time, Cassidy has lost her beloved grandmother and inherited her home. She has the immediate challenge of scraping enough funds to pay a large tax debt. The community comes together in a special way, as Grace and Cassidy dig into the past and uncover fascinating facts that help them understand both their grandmothers in a very profound way.
I was intrigued by these young ladies and found their journey through the garden fascinating, I enjoyed learning about how to create a garden, plant flowers, and discover the meaning of different flowers.
I like what the author said about the inspiration for this story, “I love the intersection of one generation impacting the next…, knowingly, and not. I wanted to bring a broader understanding of the intrinsic worth of every person. I wanted to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and, …the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life are the most valuable of all.”
The heart of this author shines throughout the characters and their situation. This is a story rich in history, and one that makes for a fun escape and a fascinating book club pick and discussion.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I requested and received a copy of this book by the publisher/. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”
Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog https://psalm516.blogspot.com/
This was my first time reading a book by this author and I'm so glad that I was able to be part of her release team! This is a beautiful story that revolves around the lives and relationships of four women. We meet Helen and Choi Eunhee which are Army widows in the 1950's and despite their differences they form a lifelong friendship. In the present day, we meet their grandaughters who also become best friends. I really enjoyed the full circle of the plot.
The women in the story are definitely well written. Helen is very likable and relatable. Despite her loss and hurts she is willing to help someone that others may see as different and truly develops a kinship that she did not expect to happen. Euhnee was so sweet and I really enjoyed how the author portrayed her and taught me about the Korean culture that she came from.
I really enjoy dual timelines especially when they are written well and Sandra definitely does. She had me engaged in both timelines and I was never lost. I am not a gardening person at all, in fact despite my love for flowers my kids tell me I have a black thumb. I definitely try planting though every year and don't give up! Euhnee brings the Victory garden to life and in the process makes the friendship stronger between them.
The storylines almost mirror each other from the past and the present timeline. So very much like what happens in our life as some of the things we go through are the things that our ancestors have as well. I thought that was a very relatable part of the plot line. There is a lot to the story to love. A lot of themes that the author tackles may be sensitive to some like autism, down syndrome, etc... but she did it with ease.
The faith element is there and was done so great. I loved Helen's neighbor whom always showed Christ in the way she talked and lived but never was pushy or overwhelming with it. She definitely lived out her faith and I think that's more of what we need to see in our walk with the Lord. Let people see God in you.
I definitely recommend you pick this one up especially if you enjoy stories about friendships and community!
I received a copy of this book from the author. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
#BookReview: HEIRLOOMS by Sandra Byrd
“Sometimes opening a secret to sunlight brings freedom and joy.”
Heirlooms was a dual timeline story set in the late 1950s and present day. It was a touching story of two widows from different backgrounds and brought together by kindness. Heirlooms had a little bit of everything - friendships, mystery, romance, tenacity, emigrants, Korean and Dutch cultures and faith.
Helen’s story was enjoyable even if it was entwined with sadness. Her unique friendship with Eunhee was very interesting as they shared their cultures with each other. They were open minded and eager to learn new things. They were both hard working ladies. I was so happy when Eunhee’s faith finally spilled over Helen. The bond they shared was priceless.
I liked Cassidy’s mindset to keep her heirlooms but she wasn’t a favorite of mine. She loved flowers and her gran. It showed in all the work she did with the land. I would like to have a piece of her famous pie. Her friendship with Grace was nice too.
The book made me think about the value of my family’s heirlooms and how to preserve it. It doesn’t have to be things but something precious that can be handed down to future generations. It also reminded me to be a light to others. Those who love gardening and cooking will surely enjoy this women’s fiction.
Thank you Tyndale publishers for the complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
This novel went straight to my top five books of all time. Five stars!
Be prepared to be whisked away to Whidbey Island and held captive until the end of the book, and possibly long after as you read this cross-cultural, intergenerational story between grandmothers and granddaughters involving both joy and loss, family and friendship, treasures, and secrets. Secrets that could drive family apart can somehow bring friends even closer. This book is a reminder to be grateful for lifetime friends who carry our baggage close to their hearts but look at us as though we have none.
I cared for the characters right away and would have a hard time choosing a favorite. I loved Helen and Euhnee but also adored Cassidy and Grace. Even the secondary characters are developed well and meaningful to the story. D.J. has my heart forever.
The language is beautiful prose and filled with sensory pleasures. Imagine if Julia Child wrote a novel set in a garden! This author has a way of describing food as if it were characters in her books. The sensory details had me looking up flowers, foods, and clothing from other cultures. I love when a book does that for me. Truly immersive.
Author Sandra Byrd has written an exquisite split-timeline exemplifying the true meaning of beauty, forever friendships, and the legacy we leave behind in the choices we make every day. What a treasure trove of various species of flowers and what their names signify, multicultural recipes, and vast droplets of wisdom are sprinkled throughout this poignant story.
The main character, Helen Devries, is not a hero per se, but she is one in my book...in every sense of the word. A good nurse devoted to her career, she opens her home (and her heart) to another war widow such as herself, Choi Eunhee. What ensues is a loving friendship that spans a lifetime as each embrace their cultural differences and traditions—passing invaluable heirlooms from a well-lived life to future generations.
My heart was broken a few times throughout the book and this is where the Kleenex alert comes in. Be sure to have plenty on hand! An unpredictable conclusion is in store as Eunhee and Helen's granddaughters find well-hidden secrets in an old attic—helping them to make major life changing decisions. How we live today is like a stone tossed into a stream...the ripples far-reaching and never-ending. Live and love well!
*I received a complimentary ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and was under no obligation to write a positive review.*
Heirlooms is a touching, multifaceted tale of family and friends that crosses the generations. I loved this wonderful story that focused primarily on two widows who shared a home and became more than friends. It was a delightful yet sometimes poignant read laced with many of my favorite things such as flowers, cooking, and sewing.
As the story transpired, it brought so many memories of my own family to the forefront and I recognized the wealth of heirlooms that surrounds me every day including a number of plants and flowers that have been passed down from my mother and grandmothers as well as my husband’s mother and grandmother.
The plot is dual time and tells the story of Helen and Eunhee alternately with present time narrative of granddaughters Cassidy and Grace Kim. Secrets of the past come to light as Cassidy and Grace Kim go through Helen’s belongings after her death. What they find is a friendship stronger than blood and a heritage of faith and strength.
Heirlooms is a not to be missed book. Please do yourself a favor and pick up your own copy as soon as possible.
A heartfelt story of friendship, faith, holding on, and letting go.
Whidbey Island, 1958, Helen Devries welcomes another young Navy widow into her home, beginning a decades long friendship, and sharing a secret with ramifications touching the present day.
A compelling dual timeline story, masterfully woven together, about courageous women of grit, wisdom, and faith both in the present day and 1958. I loved the rich cultural details in this well crafted novel, I admired Choi Eunhee's steadfast faith, and though to many it would appear that she was on the receiving end of things, she gave so much more back. Helen is practical, seeming to have it all together from the outside, she is clever and capable, and I loved how her friendship with Eunhee brought out another side of her.
Cassidy in the modern day is chasing a dream that seems so out of reach, she has a gift for gardening and encouraging others, even when she is defeated. I enjoyed every minute of this book, not wanting to put it down, yet wanting to savor it and not have it end too soon. Richly layered storytelling, with strong themes of friendship, faith, perseverance, and hope, heartfelt women's fiction at its best!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
This was a beautiful story of friendship and family both in the past and present and the way the heirlooms of our past contribute to our future. Following the stories of Helen, Eunhee, Cassidy, and Grace Kim were touching.
I loved how Ms. Byrd wove friendship, gardening, cooking, and letters together creating this beautiful bouquet of heirlooms.
Heirlooms make you remember the past have hope for the future and look at ways you can be instrumental in someone's life today.
I highly recommend this book and it releases on Tuesday, July 5, 2022; so preorder your copy today!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Helen answers her phone one evening. On the other end is Choi Eunhee, a recently widowed Navy wife. Her husband told her about Helen's late husband and suggested she call Helen if she ever needed help. Helen meets Eunhee and what results from that meeting is a friendship that will span decades and the ups and downs of life.
Cassidy Quinn's grandmother is dying and leaves her farm to Cassidy. Her request is that Cassidy have her friend Grace help her when it is time to clean out the attic. These two young women discover the story of their grandmothers and more about their history than they ever knew before.
As Cassidy and Grace face their own struggles, they draw on the strength they learn their grandmothers had and proceed to use their grandmother's stories to guide big decisions they are each faced with.
This story will easily be one of my top reads of 2022. The family stories written, the connection to the present day characters, the lessons about loss and moving forward in spite of great loss. All of this and more deeply touched my heart in ways only Sandra Byrd and her writing can. I highly recommend this story to those of faith, those searching for faith, those who have faced big loss, and those wanting a touching story to read that will stay with you for a long time.
I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House and NetGalley. All views are simply my honest opinion.
Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd is a beautifully written Christian dual-timeline fiction story. In this story we visit Helen and Eunhee and see their struggles after losing their Navy husbands. We get a glimpse into what life may have been like for Navy widows at that time, especially brides soldiers brought back from foreign countries. We see the friendship and respect that quickly grows as well as the strength they have.
Modern day, we meet Cassidy, Helen’s granddaughter, and Grace, Eunhee’s granddaughter. We see their deep friendship and their struggles. For Cassidy it was to do what she needed to keep the family farm and for Grace it was to pass the tests to be a lawyer.
I loved this story. I enjoyed reading of the traditions Eunhee and her ancestors kept and how it affected their families. I enjoyed reading of the meaning of the different flowers and how Cassidy used that knowledge to try to build a business with them. It was inspirational to read how Cassidy bounced back from losing her job and being turned away from the bank. I just loved how the grandmothers did what they had to and how it flowed down through their families.
I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this book, this is my honest review.
I loved Byrd's touching novel. It's a story about life and choices and relationships and love. It touches the heart as we read about shame and secrets and honesty and acceptance. Perhaps, most of all, it is about leaving a legacy, sharing the wisdom and strength of a life well lived from one generation to another. You'll laugh and you'll cry.
The characters are very well designed. In an era when people of other skin color and cultures were not readily accepted, we see a loving embrace. At a time when children with special needs were not treated well, we see loving nurture. Women supporting each other in times of need. Women inspiring one another to live well and do good and build community.
I love how Byrd has created the atmosphere of Whidbey Island. The Dutch settlers are well represented by Johanna, known for her cinnamon rolls. Helen represents those associated with the naval base. The vibrant Asian community on the north end of the island is characterized by Eunhee, a young Korean brought to Whidbey by her enlisted husband.
Byrd's writing style has produced a treasure. I liked the insightful conversations and memorable lines. I liked the concept of a family cookbook, of taking a heritage recipe and making it my own, the taste of my hands. I like the theme of keeping secrets, doing so out of love, not to harm others. I love the flowers and their meanings. I love the food (especially the cinnamon rolls, not so much the kimchi).
Be sure to have a tissue handy when you near the end. You'll have an emotional journey through the lives of two generations of women on Whidbey Island. You will be touched by family ties and deep friendships. You'll be encouraged to treasure the heirlooms you have been given, leaving a legacy for those coming after you.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Heirlooms tells the parallel stories of grandmother Helen and granddaughter Cassidy; Helen is a war widow working as a nurse and caring for a fellow widow, Eunhee. Cassidy is returning home after her grandmother's death to care for the home she's inherited as well as her grandmother's beautiful garden and the secrets she left behind--her secrets as well as Eunhee's and Eunhee's granddaughter's, Grace.
Heirlooms could not keep me interested. It was everything that I dislike about Christian fiction--stilted prose, difficult to believe scenarios, stiff dialogue. I really liked that this story talked about the young widows and talked about Korean American culture, but I just found this book really cliche and hard to read. It was the fictional equivalent of Contemporary Christian music.
Great piece of women's fiction!
Sandra Byrd crafts a gently unfolding story of love between generations, that of growing where one is planted and leaving a legacy of inspiring others to bloom. I loved this story of incredibly strong women who faced challenges, yet managed to overcome them because of the encouragement and love of family and friends. It is the story of family and of the families we make. Byrd skillfully connects the past with the present as both Cassidy and Grace take their respective grandmother's legacies, using their own respective gifts to gain personal fulfillment as well as impact their community. Highly recommend!
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher through Netgalley. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
The characters grabbed me by the heart and wouldn't let go. This will be a book I think about long after turning the final page.