SONG OF SUGAR SANDS A SUGAR SANDS NOVEL BOOK 2 Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.
Acadia Powers knows herself to be too selfish, too sinful, and too skeptical in her faith to marry a preacher. And yet she does. God truly does work in a mysterious way. Acadia nearly lost her faith at an early age due to what she saw as the hypocrisy of her parents’ generation. In college—where the novel begins—she meets and falls in love with Peter O’Neil, who is fervent in his faith and wants to share the good news with the world. Can she reach deep enough inside, or beyond herself, to find what she needs to keep on trying, or has she made too many mistakes already?
Set in the late 1970s, SONG OF SUGAR SANDS is chronologically the first novel in the Sugar Sands series. The protagonists, Peter and Acadia, appeared as minor characters in JOY AFTER NOON, which was Sugar Sands Book One (set in the early 1980s). The two novels stand alone and can be read in either sequence. I wrote SONG OF SUGAR SANDS first, but published JOY AFTER NOON first.
SONG OF SUGAR SANDS is a novel about—in the words of William Faulkner—the human heart in conflict with itself. Who hasn't, at least occasionally, struggled with doubts about her faith in God or about God's personal interest in her life? Acadia Powers' faith wavers at an early age as she observes her parents behaving in a manner she views as hypocritical. She has about given up on God when, in college, she meets and falls for Peter O'Neil, a student with a commitment to sharing his faith.
SONG OF SUGAR SANDS is the story of their romance and the first rocky year of marriage. It is a love story, but also the story of Acadia's struggle to come to terms with issues of faith. College student Acadia Powers is a late bloomer who is just learning to enjoy her newfound attractiveness to the opposite sex when she and Peter O'Neil meet at a college party. In that first meeting, Acadia discovers Peter's interest in spreading his beliefs, but believes she can cure him of what she views as an unhealthy obsession. She knows herself to be entirely the wrong sort of person to even think of marrying a would-be preacher.
Nonetheless, Peter's faith in Acadia proves almost as unshakable as his faith in God; and, after much debate, she agrees to marry him. After graduation and a simple wedding ceremony, they enjoy a brief honeymoon before moving to Sugar Sands, Alabama, where Peter has accepted his first preaching assignment, and Acadia takes a job teaching high school.
Acadia's misgivings about herself in the role of a minister's wife resurface as the challenges facing the couple begin to mount. First, one of her students attempts suicide after confiding her problems in Acadia. Then, when Beatrice Wood—the woman who has helped Acadia to survive this far—reveals that she has terminal cancer, Acadia almost quits. She must learn that her strength doesn't come from herself, or from Beatrice.
Throughout Acadia is haunted by the memory of certain things she did before meeting Peter, things she has never confided in him. Acadia's sense of identity is threatened as she first strives to be who Peter wants her to be, and later, for a time, who the church members want. As she loses sight of who God wants her to be, she questions who she is, where she's going, and whether there is hope for her or for her marriage. Eventually she begins to identify with the blind man, whose sight is restored and recorded in Mark 8. When she confesses the sins that have haunted her, with her confession comes the beginning of hope. Still her vision is clouded. Like the blind man in Mark 8, Acadia learns to see clearly in stages rather than all at once.