The Simple Soul of Susan
by Noel Branham
Publication Date October 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Clean Romance
Setting: Texas Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 15-18
Written for: High-School/Young Adult, Adults
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.
I would like to thank Celebrate Lit for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
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The Simple Soul of Susan was unexpected. I’m not sure what I was expecting, so please don’t ask me that. I guess I could say it fulfilled point #2 from author Noel Branham’s guest post below.
I knew just from reading the acknowledgements I was in for a treat. The author said something about her aunt’s exceptional kindness that she was probably unaware of, as those who are kind are generally unaware of that fact. How very sweet and true!
I did laugh out loud at parts, but for the most part I was holding back tears. My heart was invested in the story and was touched by Susan’s lonely life. Yes, she had Calder’s family and his friendship, but she was still so very alone, especially at school. Susan was quiet and very shy. Unless some girl was trying to find out how to get closer to Calder, the others overlooked and ignored her. She wasn’t bullied. That would have required them actually to acknowledge her.
The “simpleness” of Susan was in her dreams and needs. All she desired was to be loved and to live in her small town the rest of her life. And though it wasn’t specifically mentioned, also the opportunity to serve those around her. I can’t imagine her being content if she wasn’t allowed to do that.
The Simple Soul of Susan touched my soul and lingered in my mind like a refreshing melody. I am so glad that I read it and look forward to more books by this author.
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 your significant 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 🙂
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To celebrate her tour, Noel 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