Cover Image: Heirlooms


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I so wanted to get into this read; the Whidbey Island setting, in particular, appealed to me as I've been there many a time! The familiar locations and Puget Sound surroundings were delightful (and my favorite part). I just struggled to engage with the story; not really sure why, as on paper (literally and figuratively, haha!), everything points to it being a win and me being a fan. The writing style simply wasn't my jam.

I may pick it up again down the line; perhaps the timing just wasn't right! But for now, it's a DNF for me.

I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Sandra Byrd’s <i>Heirlooms</i> contains two completely separate stories, yet neither are complete without the telling of the other.

First, meet two widowed military wives, Helen and Eunhee. Then, meet their two career-path challenged granddaughters, Cassidy and Grace. All four so different, yet, when faced with overwhelming uncertainties, they find inspiration in each other to do the extraordinary.

Sandra weaves her generational story of human fragility and hope against the beautiful scenery of flowers. The avid gardener will find her illustrations a joy. But even those lacking a green thumb will soon appreciate her meaningful depiction of the <i>mugunghwa</i>. 

Through her characters’ lives, Sandra shows how God designed us, like flowers, to leave more behind than a beautiful memory. Like flowers leave seeds, we are designed to leave heirlooms, something of us that carries hope for a future generation.

I received a pre-published electronic edition of Heirlooms for review but have already placed my order for a hard copy. Heirlooms quickly became my favorite book by Sandra Byrd because I have recently been touched by stories of my own ancestors and by how actions today can influence lives for tomorrow. Among my other favorite novels of Sandra’s are her <i>Ladies in Waiting</i> and <i>Victorian Ladies</i> series.
Was this review helpful?
Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd is a women’s fiction novel that takes place on Whidbey Island in 
Washington State.  The book weaves together the story of present day Cassidy Quinn and her friend Grace Kim with Cassidy’s grandmother, Helen Devries, and friend Eunhee Roy from 1958.  The story brings them all together through their home, plants, cooking, friendship,  letters and their heirlooms.   

This was one of the most delightful novels of 2022 for me.  I loved the friendships shared, blending of cultures, support for people with disabilities, and seeing the changes in our world since 1958. The author built a wonderful community for her characters and I fell in love with the town of Whidbey Island.  For me it was a very impactful story that  I have pondered its lessons since finishing. 

Heirlooms leads you to hope in the future, remember the value of each person you meet and it reminds you to make a difference in our world.  Truly an inspiring read that I highly recommend.  

I was given a copy by the publisher and not required to write a positive review.
Was this review helpful?
I pretty quickly got pulled into this story and came to really like the characters. I was really into Helen and Eunhee's story and was a bit disappointed when the story shifted focus to Cassidy's timeline. I've gotten really tired of these dual-timeline stories as they can be really annoying to keep straight with their many characters; but fortunately that wasn't the case with this one! 

Both characters were so expertly written that I found myself feeling a little sad (but also excited) when the story switched back to the other. I definitely preferred Helen and Eunhee's story, but Cassidy's flowed well throughout.

Having grown up in Washington state (not too far away from where the book was set!) I was extremely familiar with the setting and it was very nostalgic for me. I could easily imagine everything going on what things looked like or how things were. This is also a testament to how well the book was written; even if you've never visited Washington the story is so well described (without being over the top) that it's easy to imagine it like a movie in your mind. 

And not only is the book well written setting-wise, it's well written period-wise as well. I enjoyed all the descriptions and nods to life during the 50's. Rotary phones and party lines, Elvis on TV, learning to cook from cookbooks and gardening from Better Homes & Gardens books. It all really helped to set the scene!

I appreciated the mentions of the Korean war and the role it played in Eunhee's life. There is unfortunately a reason why it is called The Forgotten War and I always wonder why books (even ones written during the 50's) completely ignore it. Life for the Korean people before, during, and after the Korean war was very difficult. There is a huge gap in the market for stories like this. 

Eunhee coming to America with her Navy husband and then trying to make a life here, while also trying to keep in touch with her family in Korea, leads to some struggles and heartbreak (I don't want to give any of the plot away!).

I enjoyed learning about the Korean culture and the role it played in the story. Especially son-mat, which means "hand taste or the taste-from-one's-hands". What a sweet way of passing on family traditions/recipes to the next generation! 

This was a beautiful story about family, friendship, community, culture, and heartbreak. This story touched on some tough topics but there were so many wonderful, tender moments that made this a truly enjoyable story to read. I read a lot of books and while there aren't many that I would say truly stick with me, this was one I will continue to think about for a long time.

I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
I fell in love with Sandra Byrd's Gothic novels, Mist of Midnight, Bride of a Distant Isle, A Lady in Disguise, and Lady of a Thousand Treasures, so it was automatic that I'd want to read her newest book. This one departs from the Gothic theme and goes to a dual timeline. I was enthralled by both stories, both the one set in the 1950s and the one set in modern day. Heirlooms explores several themes: the friendships of women, the love of family, and how more than "things" are passed down through the generations. 

Army nurse Helen DeVries was widowed two years ago when her husband died in a training accident. She has learned to live without him on the land they purchased on Whidbey Island but she has no idea what to do with the overgrown property. When she gets a call from fellow Army widow Choi Eunhee asking for help, she's ready and willing to step in. Offering Eunhee a place to live while she waits to return to Korea, Helen faces censure from some of the neighbors and from her boss' wife but she stands firm in her commitment. When a couple of weeks turns into "until the baby comes", Helen takes advantage of the chance to learn from Eunhee the things her mother never taught her - how to cook, how to garden - and in the process, their friendship is cemented.

Cassidy Quinn arrives at her grandmother's bedside in time to tell her she loves her, and to tell her goodbye. The only living heir to her grandmother's legacy, she learns that if she wants to keep it, she's going to have to work for it. Raising flowers has always been her dream, but the land has been emptied of the flowers she used to raise, plus her job is in California. She expected to be able to keep working her job, building her nest egg, while someone else cared for the land in her place. When she discovers that the tax debt requires making money off the land, AND that her grandmother took out a home equity loan to pay for repairs, she realizes that leaving might see her losing the property that has always been in her heart. 

When Cassidy and her best friend, Grace - Eunhee's granddaughter - discover a secret in the house's attic, can they find the truth without tearing Grace's family apart in the process? Can Cassidy find a way around all of the obstacles that keep cropping up and in the process keep her water-view retreat out of the hands of greedy developers?

I usually judge a story by how often it makes me cry and this one did it to me in about three places. I loved many of the details like the old party-line telephones, where everyone knew everyone else's business simply by picking up the phone and eavesdropping. Today this seems like a major invasion of privacy, and it probably was then, too, but you lived with it. I grew up with a party line and even had one when we first got married in the early 80s so I remember picking up the phone to make a call and hearing someone else talking to yet another person. I can't tell you how freeing it was when those went away! 

Readers who love dual timeline stories of deep friendship, will love Heirlooms. There is also quite a bit of romance and some tension surrounding race that deepened the meaning of the story. I cannot recommend this highly enough. It was a five star read for me!
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book well enough to read until the end, but I didn’t love it. (Sorry!😕)

To me it lagged  a bit…maybe not enough conflict? But I did enjoy the relationship especially of Helen and Eunhee, set in the time after the Korean War. 

Coincidentally, my husband and I are reading a book set at the time of the Korean War entitled Praying with the Enemy, based on a true story.

I received this book from the publisher via net galley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book is a tender story of four women who connect through many struggles and many generations. It’s a story of community, rich cultural differences, healing - both physical and emotional, relationships, friendships, and deep love. 
While reading this story, I was truly blessed and challenged in my thinking. I personally love things that are based on Asian culture, and I understand the struggles these individuals had during the 1940s and 1950s. I could identify and relate to many of the issues these characters worked through. However, I’m not one to garden or even cook well, so reading about these things was fun and made me think I could someday do the same. Well, only if I had LOTS of coaching and help!
Sandra Byrd has written another amazing book that not only has good cooking scenes and fun information about gardening but is also rich with lessons on God’s provisions and directions. It shows how things have a ripple effect and are amazingly connected. I really loved seeing this as everything came to a full circle. This book has so many beautiful images, and I could just taste and feel all the smells, sounds, and wonderful colors. This author knows how to bring the reader into the story and make it a part of their lives.
Sandra Byrd made me think about my own heirlooms and heritage, and about how blessed I am. 
I honestly loved this book and will treasure each word in it. I highly recommend reading it.
I was given this book by the author which did not influence my review in any way, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
“He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade stand.”

Byrd’s five-star story reminds readers that the most precious heirlooms are “gifts of the heart, soul, and the will, offered day by day throughout life rather than given after death.” Two of the main characters, Navy widow Helen Devries and recently widowed Navy wife, Eunhee Roy, strive to live a hero’s life rather than die a hero’s death, after discovering that it’s found not in the financial resources nor in the material possessions passed along after death, but in their daily decisions. Rather than let their grief bury them alive, they were determined to live for themselves and for their future generations. The small decisions the two friends made with respect to each other accumulated over time and the treasure of their friendship was passed along to their granddaughters, who thankfully, continued the tradition. 

Using examples from Korean and Dutch heritage, Byrd explores what it means to emigrate and examines the emotional cost of immigration and what it takes to be part of the American dream. She unites threads of family and friendship and shows how they complement each other and contribute to a healthy sense of identity. Byrd reminds us that “the best family and friends stand in the gap for each other no matter the cost,” encouraging readers to be committed to becoming the best family member, friend and hero for another. In doing so, we’ll honour the heirlooms we’ve been gifted and increase the value of the ‘treasure’ we pass along. 

Those who garden will love the references to agriculture and flowers. The idea of packing seeds from one’s birthland to bring to a new country to plant anew will resonate with many immigrants. 

I am in awe of Byrd’s ability to place me in the late 1950s! The following initial paragraph speaks for itself:

“Helen Devries carefully removed her nurse’s cap, fluffing her platinum back-combed bouffant, crackling the Aqua Net lacquering it in place. On the television in the back of the living room, Elvis offered a flirty smile and almost wink as he was measured for his uniform.”

I smiled as I read about party lines, black rotary dial phones, Folger’s coffee crystals, lido-green Buick Skylark (just like my Dad’s), the Sears catalogue, Avon ladies, and casseroles. I felt like I was there, accidentally walking through a cloud of Aqua Net spray on my way to coif my hair! 

I’m also in awe of her lyric and descriptive prose:
“Helen hesitantly moved toward the phone. It sat upon a small table next to the window overlooking the unused canning shed, set in a field sleepy with wet weeds splayed against the ground like closed eyelashes. Licorice rope phone lines stretched toward the farmhouse. Four birds convened on the line, silhouetted by the outdoor lights she’d had installed for safety.”

Both gifts enabled me to become completely immersed in the story despite not knowing/living a Navy lifestyle nor knowing much about the Korean culture. The friendship between the two ladies is the highlight of the book. Each contributed to the healing and growth of the other. It was amazing to watch it blossom. 

FYI, Sandra Byrd: I’m stealing the term “Sin Rolls” and using it to describe my homemade cinnamon buns! 

This sweet inspiring story, set in Whitby Island and spanning generations, explores the love we share with family and friends, the secrets we keep from each other, and the treasures we garner from living a hero’s life. 

I was gifted this advance copy by Sandra Byrd, Tyndale House Publishers, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a beautiful story about generations of a families and how they are interwoven.  What a touching story about the heirlooms of these families and passing them down through the generations.  This story was just absolutely touching.  I will definitely read more by this author.
Was this review helpful?
What an absolutely beautiful story of friendship, a family (that includes both family & friends), finding one's purpose, tending the land, and passing on what is important. "I'd like to live a hero's life." Helen said. "I'd like to live hero's life too," Eunhee agreed. "I am not sure what two women like us could fo to be heroes, though." Helen and Eunhee became the best of friends, and now their granddaughters Cassidy Quinn and Grace Kim are best friends and have a mystery to solve after their both of their grandma's pass away. All four women show courage as they each face difficult moments in their lives. I loved Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd!

I enjoyed reading more about the respectful Korean culture, the learning to cook at their mother's elbows, the mother in law teaching the bride some of her sons favorite foods. "Helen stood. "So wise. Keep what is handed down to you, but then make it your own-the taste of your hands."

The topic of down syndrome was in the story, and it was so difficult and misunderstood back in WWII my heart breaks for all who expericenced such horrible treatment. I'm so glad to see things have improved over time, and I admire those who fought for additional support. These are precious people.

"What was the legacy I wanted to leave?"

"Isn't that boring? Like editing someone else's pictures intead of taking your own?" "Master of your own garden," she said with a smile. "Starting from scratch with what you want to do sounds more fulfilling."

"I looked out over my property. I wanted to keep those plants- Gran's plants, Mom's plants, my plants. They needed me, the inn did not."

"Look ahead most of the time, and only occasionally glance into the rearview and side-view mirrors," Helen said. "Good advice," Eunhee said. "And not just for driving."

Heirlooms can be so many things tangible and intangible. " take their recipes and their instructions. You follow some, and then you take your own path sometimes, too."
(I really would love the Cinn Roll recipe!)

I ended the book with tears in my eyes. I highly recommend Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd. This heartwarming story of four courageous women is sure to inspire you and tug on your heartstrings.

Thank you to the publisher and net galley for allowing me to read an early copy. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Oh what a sweet story! A split time-line, with one story placed in the post WWII era and the other present day. The first time-line follows two Navy widows, one a Korean war bride. These two women are learning what family means and how to live in this world with their grief, while also growing. The second, modern time-line follows one of the widows' grand-daughter and her journey of grief after her grandmother's death. Both stories lead us along with the characters in an organic and gentle manner, where we learn and growth the characters naturally. These were likeable characters, who faced hard times and hard decisions. I really enjoyed the story, even if it was a little predictable. I really enjoyed the author's writing style and look forward to reading more from her.
Was this review helpful?
First, I just want to say how much I love this cover! I love flowers and I wish there could’ve been photos of all the flowers mentioned in this story and ones of all of the yummy sounding food that was made too! I’m reading Sandra Byrd’s devotional, Experiencing God’s Love, for the second time right now (I highly recommend it!) and Ms. Byrd’s love for God, flowers and baking shines through in both of these books.

Heirlooms is a dual narrative story, modern day and mid-century, and takes place on Whidbey Island, Washington. In the mid-century storyline, Helen, a widow, opens her home to Eunhee, also a widow, in her time of need. This part of the story was, at times heartbreaking, but I loved how Helen took care of Eunhee and I enjoyed their friendship as it grew throughout the story. It also contained some sad and very eye opening insights as to how people who were “different” were treated during that time.

In the modern storyline, Cassidy, who is Helen’s granddaughter, is tasked with asking Grace, Eunhee’s granddaughter, to help sort through a hope chest that contains past secrets. While I struggled to connect with Cassidy, I enjoyed the outcome of her story.

If you love flowers, baking, and dual narrative stories, Heirlooms is a story I’m sure you’ll enjoy! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Sandra Byrd pens a story of what real family is. It is not always about being blood related, sometimes it is about friendship that morphs into something more. 
Helen is still grieving her husband. She appears to have moved on, but yet she is not. She answers a call for help. What becomes of that answer is will change not only her but her family and Choi Eunhee's family also. 
With echoes of the book of Job, we walk alongside four different women as they grapple with loosing everything to maybe gain it all. 
Byrd is a go to author for me and I am already looking forward to her next book.
Was this review helpful?
This is the first split time novel I've read by this author and I really enjoyed it! 

The elements of generations and what we leave behind for the ones coming after us, cooking and making receipes your own, and gardens and growth were very heart warming. 

There was that theme we see a lot where someone passes and leaves behind thier house to someone and that person starts to clean it out and finds something that tells the story of the one that owned it. With that being said the 1950 and present were woven together very well. 
I really liked the charachter Choi Eunhee in the 50's portion. You don't read many views from Koreans in Christian Fiction and I feel the author did a great job of that. I especially appreciated Choi's faith and how it was something she lived and not just something she talked about.

4 stars.
Was this review helpful?
In this split time story set on Whidbey Island, readers will enjoy the close friendship of grandmothers and granddaughters as well as friends. For those who love the language of flowers, Cassidy will warm your heart. Helen, a nurse in the Navy hospital is filled with passion. I loved the way the characters learned from each other. The Korean culture included was interesting. Enjoyable story. Recommended.
Was this review helpful?
What a heartwarming story of generations of women! This book is appropriately under the right category Women's fiction. 
The author has done a wonderful job with this novel.  I loved how she brought them to life. Their thoughts, feelings, and that special feeling I call hope.
I think hope is a very real feeling and it is what keeps us human beings going. 
Without hope and God we'd be nothing. 
I enjoyed this book very much and I love the author who wrote it. 
When I seen who wrote it ingot so excited about it. I wasn't disappointed 
Byrd is a wonderful story teller. 
I admire how she brings each of her books to life so that we might experience what her characters do. 
Helen and Euhnee quickly became my favorite ladies. Their story made me want to cry, rejoice and love them all at the same time.
Mi-ja indeed was very special. My heart absolutely went out to her. I even found myself praying for a fictional baby! Oh my!
This story was a deliciously can't put down book. I loved every minute of it.
Thank you Ms. Byrd for another wonderful story.  I feel that you knocked this one out of the ball park so to speak.
I was NOT disappointed.  I  was all in from the beginning. 
I hope you continue to many wonderful stories such as this one!
5 stars for a job well done!
My thanks for a copy of this book.  I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Such a wonderful story!  I had to sit and savor it for a day or two before writing about how much I loved it!  The laughter, the tears and sorrow, the fun, the humble pride of a constructive project in the form of a glorious garden and a personalized cookbook, and the exceptionally wholesome and close-knit friendship developed and drawn together in the cauldron of tragically similar circumstances and the need of each other's helpful support, care and love.

Helen and Eunchoi, the two friends and Navy wives, find themselves suddenly widowed and reach out to each other.  Helen, a nurse, and Eunchoi, a Korean lady married to an American man, is a creative,  accomplished seamtress cum gardener cum cook, weather their storms of life, together.  Over the many ensuing years they kept one very painful secret, which the granddaughters Cassidy and Grace are directed to discover upon the death of Helen.  It was a shock to their system but led them to their heirloom of great priceless worth and work.

Heirlooms and legacies from quality lives lived by two faithful Christian women who started it all.  Flowers with respective meaning, a cookbook passed  from grandmother to daughter to granddaughter, each giving their recipes their own 'son-mat' - another  heirloom.  This leads me to mention  the author's great love of things Korean.  This love flows through the pages like a refreshing stream along with the love of people, especially those of neurodiversity (Down Syndrome and Autistic).  You'll discover what 'son-mat' is, 'hanbok', 'halmori' and 'mugunghwa' are and you'll likely know straight away what 'kimchi' is.  These all have special relevance to this historical fiction tale.   Sweeeeeet!

This is a dual story line from the 1958 past of Helen and Eunchoi to the 'present' of granddaughters Cassidy and  Grace.  There are layers of symbolism in the flowers grown, in the Korean terms used and in the faith in God the women come to possess.   I found this narrative to be a good, clean, fulfilling and satisfying read.  I hope all readers will enjoy this book as much as I did.  A definite 5-Star story!

                                          ~Eunice C.,  Reviewer/Blogger~

                                                         May 2022

Disclaimer:  This my honest opinion  based on the review  copy sent by NetGalley and the Tyndale House Publishers.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers and Net Galley for the chance to read and review this book. The opinions expressed are my own.

I really liked this story! It is the story of three generations of women and how their lives are connected. I really liked their friendship and how they kept it alive for all of their lives. I also liked the setting-I could picture all the beautiful gardens as well as the food. A really good story about friendship!
Was this review helpful?
Heirlooms, a story with dual time lines, starts with Helen, a military widow, who works at a Navy hospital as a civilian nurse. Her life is forever changed after she agrees to help Eunhee, a recently widowed military wife. The second storyline belongs to Cassidy, Helen’s granddaughter. Cassidy has returned to her beloved grandmother’s home, and right before her gran passes away, Cassidy promises to go through the attic’s contents with her friend, Grace, who is Eunhee’s granddaughter. As the two friends sort through the attic, they find long-hidden secrets. Through heirlooms and the secrets they hold, Cassidy and Grace learn more about the strength, determination, and faith of their grandmothers, inspiring them to find their own place in the world. 

This sweet book took me on a journey to get to know and understand these characters. I felt like I was going through their struggles and triumphs right along with them. The setting and scenery of Helen’s house and beautiful garden, that later became Cassidy’s, captivated and inspired me. After the book ended I was wishing I could live in that fantasy a little longer! 

Heirlooms is a touching story that speaks not only of pain and loss but of hope and healing. It encourages and inspires growth, not just for individuals, but also for communities. Thank you to NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers for an advanced reader copy. All opinions in this review are all my own.
Was this review helpful?
This may well be my favourite Sandra Byrd book! 
Heirlooms is a heartwarming story of family, both typical and the kind you happily make with friends along the way, and beautiful friendships. Of women helping women. The dual story lines connect the early to mid 1900s and the present day, with interesting, relatable characters, and a beautiful mix of past and present. It is a dual/split time story; two story-lines, two time-lines and two sets of best friends with so much depth it felt like I was reading two separate life stories.    I would absolutely highly recommend this one!    

Many Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced read in exchange for my honest review
Was this review helpful?