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The Summer Kitchen (Blue Sky Hill #2)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  1,192 Ratings  ·  218 Reviews
From the author of A Month of Summer, an inspiring new novel in the Blue Sky Hill series about one woman's effect on a struggling Dallas neighborhood.

With her adopted son missing and the rest of her family increasingly estranged, Sandra Kaye Darden is drawn to the little pink house where her Uncle Poppy once provided security. What begins for Sandra as a simple painting p
Paperback, 354 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by NAL Trade (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jun 30, 2009 Ed rated it it was amazing
The Summer Kitchen is Lisa Wingate's new exciting and inspirational book! It is one of those straight through books-Can't put it down until finished.

Seventeen year old Rusty and his twelve year old sister, Cass Salley Blue, runaway from home just after their mother's funeral, to avoid foster care. Barely earning enough to keep a place to live and food on the table, they end up in a dilapidated apartment in a struggling section of Dallas. SandraKaye Darden is preparing her deceased uncle's little
Jul 03, 2016 Susanchitter rated it really liked it
Her perfect life was shattered. Was it perfect or was it just a facade? Did she shelter her children too much that they did not have the skills to cope reality? As her life she knew it was falling apart, a new and different one was taking shape. Did she have the courage to look at the truth and change?
Apr 15, 2015 Liz rated it it was amazing
I love Lisa Wingate's books. Are they sophisticated "literature"? No. They're stories that make you feel good. Stories about ordinary people, just trying to do the best they can. There's a thread of Christianity running through them, but it never knocks you over the head--it's a subtle sort of Christianity, the truest kind--people trying to love one another.

I also enjoy the shifting perspective of the alternating first person narrative. As the story barrels along, you look forward to the back-a
Nov 26, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
While this book won't knock anyone over with a highbrow writing style, it is nevertheless well written and the characters and events are satisfyingly true to life. It's clean enough for a church library, without shying away from realities like drugs, abuse, and kids who dumpster dive to survive. It touched my heart and reminded me to look around my neighborhood to see who might be falling through the cracks and need some help. I'll definitely read more of Lisa Wingate.
"I knew we were crumbling . . . but I didn't confront it. I did what I'd always done. I covered everything over with a layer of frosting, so the neighbors wouldn't see the fractures."

Two families - one traditional the other not - experiencing rippling effects from life-changing events; both on a collision course for seemingly nothing but more heartache. But when these families actually collide with each other through SandraKaye and Cass Sally Blue, overcoming past and present fissures and fract
Sep 11, 2009 Margaret rated it really liked it
The Summer Kitchen has 2 amazing characters. both of them dealing with difficult circumstances who live totally different lives. How they meet and connect by way of peanut butter snadwiches is a wonderful story that wil touch your heart. an easy read but very worthwhile as it will make you think.
I had never read this author before but will look of more of her books.
Cathy Daniel
Apr 15, 2015 Cathy Daniel rated it really liked it
I think I loved the first book more but I loved this book as well. I also love that this series takes place right by where I live! These characters are so real I feel I can hop in the car and visit them anytime :)
"There is a purpose for broken houses and broken people"
Mar 01, 2015 Leslie rated it really liked it
The subject headings assigned to The Summer Kitchen (not to be confused by any other books by the same name!!) indicate that the book is about the psychological aspects of bereavement, about family, about runaways, city and town life, intergenerational relations, and lastly, life-changing events. Hmmm. From those subject headings it would seem that the plot of this book runs all over the place. And in some ways, I would agree. But we teach the children to identify what the story is MOSTLY about ...more
Feb 25, 2016 Alison rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story about everyday people and the challenges they face. The story goes back and forth between the views of two different people, Sandra Kaye Darden a Mother of two and the wife of a Dr., who has lost her purpose in life and a young girl Cass, who along with her brother are trying to stay clear of being sent into foster care after having lost their mother. These two are brought together and a friendship forms when Sandra sees some kids diving in dumpsters looking for food, ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it
Loved this gentle, but thought provoking book. Well-to-do SandraKaye Darden's oldest son, Jake, has left college to return to his native Guatemala from which he was adopted by SandraKaye and her husband. Left behind is their biological son, Chris--talented musician, struggling academic trying to fill the dream his father had for Jake--to continue the line of Dr. Dardens. SandraKaye's mother and sister are addicts but she has escaped that life due in great part to the love and care of Uncle Poppy ...more
Sep 26, 2010 GoldenjoyBazyll rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
When a tragic event befalls Sarah she is thrown upside down. Her elderly uncle is murdered and her adopted son decides to go and look for his birth parents while the rest of the family just avoids one another in an effort to try and act like nothing has happened. Sarah is getting her Uncles house ready for sale.... cleaning/ meeting w/ real estate agent/ painting.... the house is a rough section of town and as she goes back and forth she cannot help but notice the individuals that are living amo ...more
May 29, 2013 Theresa rated it liked it
I could not decide whether to give this novel 3 stars or 4!

This book started out strong for me, but after about 2/3 of the way through, I kind of lost interest for a while (to be fair, it could be because I am in the middle of a lot going on right now with family life!)

However Lisa Wingate always has something new to teach us, and in that way this novel did not disappoint.

The Summer Kitchen has two main characters with very differing circumstances. Cass, a pre-teen, is trying to find her uncle s
May 29, 2010 Barb rated it really liked it
Good, but not great! Could have used a bit of editing down. Characters are well defined and sympathetic. Told in first person by two women - one middle-aged experiencing losses that have turned her family upside down, the other a 12 year old posing as 17 in order to avoid questions about why there is no adult in the family, brother is 17, posing as 20 for same reason. The older woman, SandraKaye, discovers hungry children in the area of her deceased great uncles house and begins bringing them sa ...more
E. Ce Miller
Jun 11, 2015 E. Ce Miller rated it liked it
In Lisa Wingate’s “The Summer Kitchen”, SandraKaye’s family has fractured in the wake of her uncle’s mugging and murder. While looking for a renewed meaning and sense of purpose (and probably, a good bit of distraction) in her life, she SandraKaye throws herself into myriad tasks and projects at her uncle’s old home, and finds herself drawn into a situation she never could have predicted.

On the other side of town, Cass and her brother are on the run, since their mother passed away of cancer and
Apr 16, 2010 Mich rated it it was amazing
not sure what is up with me and these 'feel good books' but i loved this one too! would definatly recommend it. no its not phenomenal literature with big character devlopment,etc its just a good old down to earth story. keeps your interest, and its just GOOD! go get it!
Aug 15, 2015 Jackson rated it liked it
Easy to read and somewhat of a thriller in parts, I wonder whether the use of the term illegals for undocumented immigrants came from the author or the characters. It is perhaps the sort of term a rural Montana child might use, but the doctor's wife also refers to people in that manner. Perhaps as the series goes on things will change? I am going to find #1 Blue Sky Hill and see if I can determine what is going on -- the author seems to deal with many aspects of poverty in a sympathetic manner, ...more
Janet Jenkins
Jul 12, 2009 Janet Jenkins rated it it was amazing
Just finished it and really enjoyed it. I like Lisa Wingate's books.
Diana Cooper
Apr 14, 2016 Diana Cooper rated it really liked it
Love this author
Apr 01, 2016 Megalion rated it it was amazing
I read this book because of a fellow Shelfarian's review (alison d). Her words made me think of the books by Fannie Flagg and Lorna Landvik and Cathy Lamb that I love and I'm always on the lookout for more excellent authors who are masters of weaving ensemble community focused stories. By this I mean stories that center around one to three characters in the first person but feature many other engaging characters that weave together often into a sense of community.

Maeve Binchy also is a master of
Aug 17, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-fiction
SandraKaye's perfect life is shattered. Her uncle, Poppie, was murdered, one of her sons has disappeared, and her other son is struggling, while her husband has detached himself by working more at the hospital. Unable to face the reality of life, she decides to fix up Poppie's home, which her mother has put on the market.

Cass is 12, pretending to be 17, while her 17 year old brother is pretending to be 19. After their mother's death, they ran away to escape their creepy step father. Trying to hi
Jun 20, 2013 LaDonna rated it liked it
Not entirely sure where I came across this one; thinking it may have been in a bag of books that my grandmother gave me. I wish I would have realized it was one of a series as I would have tried to track down the first one in advance as I like to read series in order, however, it is definitely a stand alone story and I don't really see myself taking the time to find the rest of the series. I'm not sure that giving it three stars is really fair, as it was very well written and did grip me enough ...more
Another very good book by Lisa Wingate, again told from various points of view. This one tells the story of Sandra Kay and Cass Blue. Sandra Kay grew up with a basically unhappy childhood, but many happy memories of time spent in the little pink house owned by her Uncle Poppy. They neighborhood, and house, have fallen into disrepair, and Uncle Poppy had been murdered. Sandra's family is falling apart; her adopted son blames himself for the murder and has disappeared. Her other son wilts under t ...more
Wonderful story of a woman going through a devastating lose. Rather two loses. And then really more.

She initially starts her journey by just trying to fill time to get through a rough period. But she finds herself drawn into something most people leave to city programs and government.

She cannot ignore the painful existence of people she suddenly notices. Once she is aware of how they are living she feels that even though she is only one person she must do what she can for these few.

As the story
Oct 09, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 20, 2009 Kim rated it liked it
I only liked this book. It seemed at book club that I was in the minority, they all seemed to really enjoy it. For some reason, I just wasn't that drawn into the characters' stories. It was more a chore to read than a delight. I found nothing in it really compelling. The characters I most enjoyed were the children being cared for, 3 year old Opal and 17 year old Christopher and Teddy the grown man with disabilities.

It seemed that the emotion the author was trying to elicit was sympathy for the
Feb 05, 2010 Cindy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 30, 2011 Becca rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Sweet, tender and easy to read, this is a well-conceived story about a wealthy suburban mom who gets outside of her own brokenness to make a difference in a community. (Think "The Blind Side" without the melodrama) The author does a nice job of telling the story from 2 very different voices and makes the moral of the story appear cleanly without any preachy, guilty overtones. The character of Cass was very compelling. This is an example of how Christian fiction can be done well.

The writing has
Dec 26, 2014 Audrey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is such a warm and wonderful book. It made me cry a few times and I fell completely in love with the characters. It is a story of hardship and redemption and I loved every word of the book.

This is a book about child neglect and how real families are formed, this book is just filled with so much love and hope I want to read the other books in this series.

This is the first book by Lisa Wingate I have read and it won't be the last!
Michelle J
I liked it. In my reading journal I had to write from a quote a character stated that, "There is purpose for broken people." This I find so true but for some of us it is the struggle and fight in finding that purpose while learning lessons on the way. Resilience was another concept I got out of this book which is such a fascinating subject to study and understand.
Jun 09, 2010 Jill rated it liked it
I'd like to give this 3 1/2 stars - pleasantly surprising. My copy says on the front that the author is as "good as Nicholas Sparks" - if I was Lisa Wingate, I'd be ticked. Nicholas Sparks is sappy; the literary equivalent of a big-budget popcorn movie that's all bang, but no buck. (Completely off topic: if Miley Cyrus is the best you can do for a movie, it ain't good.) I was fully prepared to dislike this book, but found myself putting off chores to keep reading. I was particularly appreciative ...more
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Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Good Hope Road, The Language of Sycamores, and Drenched in Light. Her work was recently honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa and her family live in Central Texas.
More about Lisa Wingate...

Other Books in the Series

Blue Sky Hill (4 books)
  • A Month of Summer (Blue Sky Hill #1)
  • Beyond Summer (Blue Sky Hill #3)
  • Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill #4)

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