(A Tale from the Ohio Valley)
In the rich back drop of the farming cradle of the Ohio Valley, a peaceful lifestyle seems possible. Highly likely … at least on the surface. It’s 1973. And three young women want to discover their place in this male dominated world.
In spite of the economic slowdown Roberta "Birdie" Alexander is determined their family business will both survive and thrive. She'll back up that promise with hard work, and Alexander's foliage will become the standard for all of the Ohio Valley. Because if she works long enough and hard enough, her father will love her as much as he loves her older brothers. But Birdie’s dad seems determined to marry her off. In her Christian walk, Birdie approaches her relationship with her heavenly father in the same way. How much will she risk ... to hold onto her own will and secret sin of self-righteousness? Will losing her job wake her up? Losing a lifelong friend? A brother? Or will it take losing the very presence of God?
Sara Brubaker, an only child, was two-years-old when an Old Order German Baptist couple adopted her. She's become a beautiful woman, and works as secretary for Alexander's Nursery and Greenhouse. Now she's torn between wanting to live in the normal world of fun and fashion, and joining the Dunkards to truly belong with her adoptive family. She loves the country living and the peaceful lifestyle. But the Anabaptist people dress so old fashioned. Does she really want to look ... Amish? Then she learns her parents have been keeping secrets. Sara’s dad side-steps her questions. Was the deception deliberate?
Irene West, Birdie's lifelong Sunday school friend, misses having a father figure around … where is he anyway? She’s become very boy crazy, which causes Birdie to struggle with the friendship and Irene to struggle with life.
Birdie thinks it's her job to shame Irene into acting more like a Christian. Will Birdie overcome her self-righteous nature before it's too late … for Irene?
The three struggle to find their true identity, dreams, and paths in Christ. Can they forgive their fathers and find the courage to grab hold of a new dream?
In Sharon Lavy’s book, Dreaming of a Father’s Love: A Tale From the Ohio Valley, she brings us back a few decades to the early 1970’s where Birdie Alexander, the main character, wishes to work alongside her father in their family’s nursery business and pursue her lifelong love of working with plants. Now that she has graduated from high school as the valedictorian, her parents want to send her away from home to a four-year college so she can get a degree, while she wants to stay closer to home and study horticulture at a local institution. Doing this, she believes, will earn her father’s praise, something she’s never had no matter how hard she works to prove herself.
In her efforts to gain her earthly father’s love, appreciation and approval, and to make him happy, Birdie realizes she should have been seeking her heavenly Father’s love and will all along. She learns that following His will is more important than focusing on her own dreams and wishes or seeking for man’s approval and finds herself praying, “Let God be the one who gives me the father’s love I crave.” Through spending time with God and praying, she realizes she was making her dad an idol when God wanted to be the one she called Father. There is a good lesson in this book that we need to listen to Him instead of our own hearts.
Birdie isn’t the only one seeking approval and searching for answers. The secondary characters, Dax Billingsworth and Sara Brubaker, would like a few answers as well. Separated from his sister when he was only a boy when she was adopted into a family and he wasn’t, Dax has spent years wondering why he wasn’t good enough to be adopted too and why he was left alone to grow up in an orphanage without her. Sara Brubaker was adopted as a toddler by a family who doesn’t want to talk about it. Secrets abound! They are both on a journey to find the answers to their questions, and along the way, they discover God’s love and providence, and a special surprise awaits them at the end.
Filled with romance, a little bit of mystery, and a cast of interesting characters, this book is about family, finding God’s love, and is appropriate for teenage girls as well as adults to read. The storyline is sweet, conservative, clean and uplifting.