Winter Suns, the second book in the Winter Seedlings series, is written from two rotating points of view. One of those belongs to John. I’m going to tell you about him and make every effort not to include spoilers for either book.
John is a teenager living in an abuse shelter which is really a huge Victorian farm house in Nashville, Tennessee. His mother runs it through an organization she has formed with her sister. He has lived in the abuse shelter since he was six years old. The farm on which it sits was purchased by his father who lives in a ten bedroom house built on the hill. Though John’s father had been homeless and unemployed when he met John’s mother, he is now wealthy and famous, as sometimes happens in Nashville.
There are two men John refers to as “Dad”. One is really his father, the other man is his father’s partner who has been in his father’s life since John was born. John’s mother and his two fathers have built a sheltered world where they can exist as the unique family they have become.
In an effort to keep John from being teased or bullied about having such a unique family, his parents send him to a private school. But nothing can protect John from kids pretending to be his friends just to get close to his dad. John learns to value honesty and true friendship. He weeds out the people who only see him as his father’s son, which leaves him with very few friends.
At the start of Winter Suns, John is almost sixteen years old. After a decade of living in a house with constant new arrivals of abused women and their children, John has come to despise the sound of crying. He understands why his mom does what she does. He is even, deep down, proud of her. But, the constant sounds of misery has made him nearly immune to it. Not only is he tired of the crying, he also resents the women for taking so much of his mother’s time and attention.
With his father gone on tour and his mother constantly providing therapy, heading group meetings, and preparing meals for the women, John feels ignored. His father’s partner works unusual shifts as a police officer and sometimes sleeps in the day, so going to the big house isn’t always an option.
John does get enjoyment out of working with Ellis, an old man who leases the land for hay, horses, and to grow pumpkins. John views the farm work as a means to get away from all the women, as well as a way to build up his muscles. He’s not very happy about ending up with more of his mother’s genes than his father’s.
John has lived his entire life around the richest kids in Nashville as well as those in most need. He can clearly see that he wants no part of either lifestyle. He really wants, more than anything, for his family to spend more time together, laugh together, and go places together.
He doesn’t know it at the beginning of Winter Suns, but his family hasn’t only been protecting him, they have also been protecting his mother. In their efforts to protect her, they have kept secrets from John. When John discovers these secrets, he feels even more alienated.
The day a backwoods girl from Kentucky shows up at their door and knows more about his mother’s past than he does, John’s life gets turned upside down. At first he sees her as just another abused girl, another woman to take his mother’s attention. But his expertise at tuning out other people’s pain doesn’t seem to work with her. He actually feels sorry for her, and maybe something more. His reaction to her scares him; his fear makes his resentment greater.
This girl says she wants nothing, but maybe he is right to think his life will never be the same.
Get the books here: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Roberts-Towe/e/B00O6U2N1E/