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The Simple Soul of Susan

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Love hopes for the simple things to last forever, even though life itself does not.

When Susan Combs discovers a heart-breaking truth from the boy she has loved her entire life, she must make a life-altering choice. Will she still cling to the simple, small-town life she has always cherished, or will she chart a new path by overcoming this unforeseen trial?

Calder Hurtz hope
Paperback, 305 pages
Published October 2017 by Noel Branham
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Average rating 4.40  · 
Rating details
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Meghan Lloyd
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an enchanting story of love, betrayal, and redemption! The author truly did a remarkable job showing the progression of the characters over time and hooking the reader with the real-life situations that I'm sure every reader can relate to. In this story are mini tales of unrequited love, embarrassing relatives, school bullies, and friendships won and lost. The relatability and genuine honesty of Noel Branham's book moved me and made me wish the story was never-ending. It's a rare book t ...more
Susan Roebuck
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely, quiet read. Just the sort that you need when you're sick of murders and thrillers. Susan (aren't all the best people called that?) is the simple soul, living next door to an identical house in Texas where her "second" family live. She's grown up alongside the son of that house, Calder who, when the book begins Susan is rather sweet on.
The title is ambiguous. Yes, Susan seems to have a simple soul - she's kind, honest, frank and rather lonely. Without complaint she's been looking a
Melanie (Paperback Darling)
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“‘No, I got it.’ Calder busted outside and ran to the door. But Susan was too quick, and for the first time that night she attempted to open the door herself. But the handle wouldn’t move; the door was broken just like the door on her dad’s truck. Calder came around and opened it from the outside.
‘Why is your door broken?’ she asked.
‘Because I broke it.’
Susan frowned. ‘How did you break–?’
‘Not how. Why. I broke it so that I could open it for you. As many chances as I get.’”
– The Simple Sou
Angela Thompson
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The author takes readers into the characters' worlds. From the very first pages of this book, the author immerses the reader in Susan's small, rural town--and all of the characters and personality that come along with it. Readers are pulled into the story and the setting in so many ways throughout the book that they feel that they are part of Susan's life and her small town world.

The Simple Soul of Susan offers a lot of realism. Sometimes when you read a romance novel--you find yourself saying,
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The only words I can say for Noel Branham's book is that I am feeling all the feels. This book will take you to some pretty sad places in life. Susan is the "outcast" in her class at high school. Her parents have abandoned her in one way or another and she is being raised by her uncle--a man disabled by a very serious accident. At this point of her high school career, instead of her uncle taking care of her, she's taking care of him. She often gets left out of events among her peers, but when sh ...more
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susan and Calder

I already written a review on It can be found under Candace Peterson. I wish to thank Goodreads giveaway and Noel Branham for a complimentary ebook copy in exchange for an honest review.

The review note wiped out my review I had written on Goodreads. Below is a new review of the novel.

Susan Combs and Calder Hurtz have been best friends since grade school. Their families have lived next door to each other since forever. Matter a fact, Tia and Ji
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Simple Soul of Susan is a novel by Noel Branham. This is a really good novel and it is well -written. It is evenly paced and the characters and setting are very realistic. Noel has put a lot of emotion in the book and it comes through very clearly. At first, you feel sorry for Susan, but soon come to admire her courage and bravery in facing daily life with spirit and determination to succeed. Calder, on the other hand, you feel a little antagonistic towards as it seems he uses his friendship ...more
Kristin Spencer
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book squirreled its way into my heart instantly. The feeling that it gave me transported me back—via nostalgia—to what it felt like to read books as a pre-teen girl. Susan is an amazing protagonist. There were so many times when I cried for her. Calder is great character as well, but I feel like his mom—Tia to Susan—kind of stole the show. There are so many wonderful characters in this book. If you are looking for a Christian story with mentions of the Bible and Jesus, you will be disappoin ...more
A very sweet, old-fashioned feeling story. The Simple Soul of Susan by Noel Branham was an easy and fun read; the storytelling was charming and the characters catch your interest right away.

A small Texas town. A girl with an old-fashioned soul. A boy next door - her childhood friend who has secretly been the love of her heart for years. A hilarious group of ladies in the nursing home. A captivating little adventure.
I think what I enjoyed most about this book was the authenticity of it. It was wr
When reading the synopsis, you may think this story is a simple friends to lovers romance but The Simple Soul of Susan is more than a simple love story. This story starts when Susan is a teenager in high school dealing with typical high school drama. For Susan though she has an extra caveat to deal with because her best friend is the most popular guy in school that all the girls swoon for. Most girls either despise Susan for her closeness to Calder Hurtz or they feign friendship to pump her for ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book about the life of a remarkable young woman in small-town Texas. The author does such a wonderful job evoking a sense of place; the descriptions of the town and its inhabitants make you fully experience her life in Walnut Springs. The main characters are people you love and root for, but they have realistic flaws too. Their romance has many twists and turns that keep you from guessing what will happen next. The minor characters are also well written and add humor and hear ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
First thing's first: Noel graciously provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All of these opinions are my own.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book--not because I was doubting her writing ability, but because it's always nice to come across a debut, independently-published author with so much potential. Branham's writing flows naturally, making this an easy, quick read. Plus, it was just a good, old-fashioned story
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Simple Soul of Susan by Noel Branham

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 on the blog.

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
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
Such a lovely, feel-good book, it’s hard to believe this is Noel’s debut novel.

After a month of horror and thrillers, this book was the perfect palate cleanser moving into the cold months of winter.

My Thoughts…

First of all, thank you Noel for sending me your lovely book for review. It was a joy to read and I just love the cover which I understand you designed as well. It’s beautiful!

“The Simple Soul of Susan” is simply put, a charming page-turner that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. The ch
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Do not let the title deceive you, this book is anything but simple. Susan may have her heart set on Calder since she was young, but she will grow into a strong young woman alone. Calder has never known the depths of Susan’s love, and takes years for him to truly see her for what she is worth.

This is a story that goes beyond first loves, and happy endings. It holds complex and layered characters that face adversity and hardships with unique perspectives. I really loved when Susan after reading Ca
Lesr Kew
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply beautiful. ;)

I am so glad I own this great book. it’s a sweet love story. Not unique in its plot, but told with such humor and charm, it’s hard not to like. Kinda like sweet tea. Every glass can be just as good.
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was so nice to read a book about a beautiful and uncomplicated character. Even though she was painfully shy, she had such wonderful hopes and dreams that every other girl has in life. Her life long best friend is her neighbor, Calder. The secret is that she's always been in love with him, but he doesn't know. I love Susan and how strong, kind, and loving she is. She has sacrificed so much her whole life taking care of others. People in the town and at school see her as strange and plain. Thos ...more
Deana Dick
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have discovered a new author to me and this story is written with such deep emotions I couldn't put it down. There is something about Susan that draws you in to her character and goes deep into your soul. I loved how independent she is and how dedicated she is to caring for her invalid dad. She hasn't had an easy life, but she never complains. Some kids at school make fun of her and I could relate to her immediately. When I was growing up, I was bullied in junior high and high school. I had ve ...more
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I was a goodreads giveaway winner of a kindle edition of this book. Susan lives on a ranch that has been in the family for generations. Calder lives on the neighboring ranch. They are the same age and have grown up together. She has always secretly loved Calder. They are now senior in high school. Susan's mother left the family and her father also abandoned her. She has been raised by and uncle she considers her dad. She is very shy and awkward and Calder is handsome and considered one of the co ...more
Donna Maestas
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a giveaway. It was a solid 3 1/2 stars. Sometimes it feels nice to read a book that’s just sweet; no violence, no war, no abuse.
Sue Brooks
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
WOW - another new author for me (Noel Branham) and OMG was I impressed with his writing.

In the small town of Walnut Springs, Texas, Susan Combs is seventeen, a senior in high school, and lives with her uncle who is confined to a wheelchair. Susan (with the help of her neighbors - the Hurtz family) takes care of her uncle. Susan is close friends with Calder Hurtz - who is also a senior in high school. They attend the same school in Walnut Springs ISD. The story covers things that happen during th
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: won-in-giveaways
I received a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

I could sum this up in three words: Nicholas Sparks lite. I felt like I was reading outtakes from The Notebook- the parts that got cut because they didn't add anything to the story. I like the two main characters, but the entire book is them talking about their childhoods or fighting with each other. When something does finally start to happen at the end, it's too late to start caring, and the epilogue is sloppy and rushed, with a bunch of n
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was not at all sure what to expect from the novel The Simple Soul of Susan, but I can tell you that after reading it, it was a lovely coming of age story about a young woman who has had more than her fair share of hard knocks in life. Susan is a quiet, poor girl living with her disabled dad and anticipating her graduation from high school. Her very best friend is her next door neighbor Calder who is actually the most popular guy in their small high school. Susan loves Calder and always believe ...more
Suzie Waltner
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love it when a book surprises me, and The Simple Soul of Susan did just that. I went in expecting another run-of-the-mill YA read. Yes, there are the mean girls, the subtle gossip the popular kids spread about those lowest on the high school food chain. And yes, this is a romance but there is so much more to it.

Susan Combs and Calder Hurtz have lived next door to each other their whole lives. They are friends but it seems now that they are in their final year of high school, their friendship i
Phyllis Krall
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susan has lived next door to Calder for all of her life. They grew up together in a small town in rural Texas. Susan spends a lot of time at Calder’s house since his family looks out for her as she cares for her ailing father and tries hard to study so she can graduate high school. Susan is an introvert and only shows her true self to Calder. He is popular in school while she is an outcast without any friends. Romance develops between the two when it is almost too late. Susan has always had feel ...more
Samantha Osborne
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
More than a bit sappy-could there have been more tears??-but an easy read. I received a free kindle copy from Goodreads.
This book sounded so interesting. It had a sweet endearing synopsis that tugged me in just a little. Let me tell you a story about assumptions. Based on the synopsis I built in my head where I thought this book was going to take me. I was so very very wrong. Wrong wasn't all bad but because I had assumed certain things I had to reevaluate my expectations. I had to put the kabosh on my preconceptions of where this story would take me and settle into the story that was there. You know though, pepp ...more
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Simple Soul of Susan is SO good! I mean “the kind of book you will re-read a bunch of times and tell everyone about” kind of good. It’s exceptionally fast-paced (I read it in a day), well written, and gripping. I have nothing but praise for this fabulous story!!!

Susan Combs is the main character, and she is STUPENDOUS. She enjoys the simple things (which is why she is called Simple Susan) and treats people compassionately. She is so mature for her age because of what life has thrown at her s
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an incredibly sweet book! This is the first book by the author I have read and it was definitely a worthy read. The book is written well and easy to read, the characters are believable and wonderful, the small town of Walnut Springs, TX is charming, and the plot is fun.

The author writes in third person perspective from Susan’s point of view. Susan is a gifted mathematician who is painfully shy and ostracized because of her family’s past and her simple way of life and the simple things she
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Born and raised in Seguin, Texas and surrounding area, Noel Branham started her career in digital communications after graduating with a degree in English. An award-winning communicator, she now writes about things closest to the heart: home, family, and love.

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