The first book in the Flowers of Eden series introduced readers to Bryony Linwood, an orphan trying desperately to provide for her sisters in the shadow of the Great Depression. In Castles in the Clouds, we meet one of those sisters—Larkspur Linwood, a young woman who has a passion for teaching but yearns for something more than life as a small-town Arkansas schoolmarm.
Young and impressionable, Lark mistakes a college professor's interest for romantic love. When he offers her the chance to join his efforts to start a school in Kenya, she pictures herself bringing the light of knowledge to hundreds of African children eager to learn. But the menial tasks she's assigned at the school aren't so different from life on the farm where she grew up. Worse, her fragile heart is broken when she realizes her feelings for the charismatic professor are not returned. Miserable and deflated, she gives up and returns home.
Enter Professor Anson Schafer, whom she met briefly in Kenya. Partially blinded from an eye infection he contracted there, Professor Schafer cannot return to Africa. He has come to Lark's school to recruit teachers like her for a more modest venture—the founding of schools and relief efforts here in the U.S. for those struggling through the Depression.
Still stinging from her experience in Kenya, Lark is reluctant to risk leaving her familiar surroundings, but she knows how great the need has become, and—although this isn't the exciting life she'd envisioned—she finally agrees. As they work side by side, Lark begins to realize that the deepest satisfaction comes not so much from what you do, or where you do it, but from the attitude of your heart. She also slowly realizes that the gentle, determined Anson is the true love of her life.
Excerpt from Castles in the Clouds by Myra Johnson.
Larkspur Linwood has dreams of becoming a teacher. Even though they are still suffering from the Great Depression she is able to go to college for her teachers degree. Thanks to a wonderful couple she had a job at their store, along with a room to rent to help offset her expenses. She received funds from her sister for pay her college tuition. It looks like all was going well for her.
Larkspur catches the attention of her Professor due to her dedication and grades. He is handsome and
and has a way with words which creates new feelings in Larkspur beyond teacher student admiration.
He offers her and a couple of other women a chance of a lifetime adventure which would advance their teaching skills. This adventure will be taking them to Kenya, Africa to a missionary school under the tutelage of a Professor Schafer.
Schafer was highly overworked and sadly had a disease which was taking his eyesight. He was very kind and handsome but different than her Professor from the college. After finding her relationship with her college Professor was not reciprocated she felt naïve and became depressed then decided to return home to the disappointment of the Kenya Professor.
Professor Schafer ends up having to go to the States hoping he was leaving his Kenya school in capable hands. While he is in the States he decides with the help of a colleague to start a missionary school for the farmer's children whom were without schooling. He gets in touch with Larkspur in hopes of recruiting her as a teacher since she had not returned to college. Reluctantly she agrees to help.
Schafer and Larkspur slowly but surely to find a attraction and respect for each other. But Larkspur was as resistant as Schafer to feed into any romantic feelings due to her trust issues and his health issues.
Will they get past their issues in this Great Depression and the ever growing problem of bigotry among parents of potential students..
I loved this story remembering stories my mother and grandparents shared with me about their lives during the Great Depression. The names of the characters were right on for that era. When I was small I remember in the early 50's the attire my grandparents and great grandparents wore was still very similar to that worn during the Great Depression.
This author did an amazing job with this novel. I felt the hurt and the joy of the characters as I put myself in their place with in my minds eye as I read the book.
Thanks Myra Johnson!
I highly recommend this book.
I rated this book a 5 out of 5.
Disclosure: I received a free digital copy of this book from Franciscan Media via NetGalley for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review it is my own opinion.