About the Book
Title: The Simple Soul of Susan
Author: Noel Branham
Genre: Romance, YA, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary
Release Date: October 11, 2017
Susan Combs had long ago found the love of her life. The only problem was the other party still didn’t know he had been found.
Every day Susan saw Calder Hurtz, her next door neighbor and childhood best friend. They always enjoyed the short drive to school down the dusty streets of their small Texas town. She was happy in those perfect moments, for her life at home was most imperfect. The challenging homestead she inhabited was also the favorite subject of local gossip.
But one autumn day she overhears Calder and another boy having a conversation. This occasion of accidental audience sets Susan’s life on an unforeseen path. In the seasons to come, her future will be changed by two hospitalizations, two confessions of love, and one betrayal.
Compulsively readable, The Simple Soul of Susan is an engaging, soul-endearing romance and a mesmerizing debut.
A nice debut novel by Noel Braham. The Simple Soul of Susan read pleasantly throughout. There were instances where I felt things were somewhat drawn out, especially in the first quarter of the book. However, once that bridge was crossed I found the story more than enjoyable.
Both main characters were relatable and eventually lovable. Susan had my heart from the beginning as her personality reminded me of myself at a younger age. She has a beautiful heart that is unfortunately smothered with suffocating insecurities, and a low self-esteem. Initially I didn’t like Calder’s character, but eventually understood his flaws to be mere traits of youth. Once Calder’s personality matured, his true soul shone through, and he finally realised which people were most important. He saw through all of the superficial friendships … people who hung around only for what they could possibly gain. In fact Calder’s soul was bestowed with simplicity, which for a long time he was too proud to acknowledge.
“Neglect is the absence of love , and it can cause more pain than hate.”
Noel perfectly demonstrates the importance of pure, trustworthy, friendship in any relationship. Human love is never perfect, and most important to understand is that there is never instant love … not the lasting kind. But when we combine God’s unconditional love with sincere, trustworthy friendship, we are able to have the most perfect relationship humanly possible.
Susan waited hopefully, most of her life for Calder to notice her the same way she noticed him. But as with all good things, they only happen if they were always meant to be, and in God’s excellent timing. Yes, Susan’s soul was perfectly simple, but so was Calder’s … it just took him longer to realise it.
“I don’t know what I’m trying to say either. But I want to be part of your life. I want you to be a part of mine. I want to sleep closer to you than forty feet away for the rest of my life. I want to fish with you every Sunday afternoon and catch armadillos with you every night until I’m too old to walk. I want to buy you flowers every Valentine’s Day and write my name on the tag, …”
Often young people like Calder who have such a competitive nature that they would do anything to gain an edge or to win, soon realise that they are only competing with themselves. Hopefully they can manage to change the way they do things before it’s too late.
Simple, uncomplicated, unselfish, is always best, after all Jesus did say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, if anyone does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, he will never enter it.” ~ Luke 18:16-17 I suppose that’s because the simple, innocent, and unconditional love of a child is the closest to that of our heavenly Father.
This would be a perfect book for young people experiencing all of these confusing feelings, but also a great book to remind us oldies of the importance of sincere, honest companionship … necessary elements to any relationship.
How about you? What do you think? Are earthly, material qualities and possessions a necessary part of a healthy, loving relationship? I would love to hear from you
I received a complimentary copy of this sweet book from the author via CelebrateLit. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review, and all thoughts are entirely my own.
Click here to purchase your copy!
About the Author
Born and raised in a small Texas town, Noel Branham started her career in digital communications after graduating with a degree in English. An award-winning communicator, she now writes from her residence in Florida about things closest to the heart: home, family, and love.
Guest Post from Noel Branham
Fictional Romance: A Real Relationship Killer?
You’ve heard it before… All romance novels give readers unrealistic expectations of relationships. Yep. They totally do. But I think most of the time, with life in general, we have unrealistic expectations not only of others but of ourselves. We live in a world where there is always something else to try, buy or satisfy our ever-evolving aspirations of happiness and fulfillment. So here are three things to remember while reading romance novels that will lead to having deep, meaningful, romantic, relationships in real life:
- Happiness isn’t fulfilled expectations. When you expect yoursignificant other (SO) to see you and romantically sweep you off your feet while pulling flowers from behind your back and force feeding you chocolates… you may have some unrealistic expectations. Would it be nice? Sure! But there is always something more they could do to make you happy, feeling loved, satisfied, etc. It’s a bottomless pit of desire and implied anticipated actions. We have to realize that no matter how many things we want out of a relationship, we can never receive them all… because realistically, we could never live up to the things expected of us either. Romance is a two-way street.
- Happiness is the unexpected, fulfilled. Wait… how can you fulfill something that isn’t expected? You can’t. And that’s what makes it so great. Your SO fills your car up with gas, takes you out for a date for no particular reason, watches that Victorian-era PBS drama with you even though they can’t understand the accents… When we get rid of expectations for ourselves and others we are able to really enjoy the things and people we already have and anything else is simply adding to lovely life that we already possess.
- Happiness in relationships is what you make of it. Just not feeling the love anymore after five years together? Was it that you chose the wrong person? Was it something they did? Something you did? Love can be a feeling and an action. Your relationship doesn’t have to be defined by feelings. Feelings fade. They aren’t realistic. They change with time as people change with time because all people change. But actions… actions are what you choose to do on a regular basis. They are a daily intentional choice (made by you) to care for another person. You can control your actions, but not so much your feelings. Funny thing is often times your actions create feelings you never thought you could have.
If you are looking for a romance novel with a bit more realism to test out these principals, check out The Simple Soul of Susan. You can have the realistic expectation that you won’t be disappointed 🙂
To celebrate her tour, Noel is giving away:
Grand Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card
First & Second Place Prize: eBook copy of the Simple Soul of Susan!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cee4/the-simple-soul-of-susan-celebration-tour-giveaway
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