Authors Showcase: The Chapels on the Hill by Virginia McCullough

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The Book: The Chapels on the Hill

The Author: Virginia McCullough

The Story: Sonia and Aaron didn’t marry for love, but love found them and took them by surprise.

When tragedy struck, Sonia and Aaron’s reason to be together seemed to slip away, along with the love they once shared. Both believe they’ll find closure at an event dedicating a music pavilion to their son, allowing them to say a final goodbye and freeing them to commit to new relationships. But instead of finding peace, memories of the life they shared with their son, Matt, stir up unexpected feelings, prompting them to relive both sweet and painful times of their shared memories of the life they shared…

And they can’t forget Matt’s special gift…

By age five, Matt’s cello teacher declared him a child prodigy. But life with a prodigy can become complicated and even strains Aaron and Sonia’s marriage. Sonia is forced to balance her commitment to Matt and his music with running Chapel’s Botanical Garden, a business she created to save Aaron’s family’s land. Aaron’s law practice leads him to high-profile cases all over the country. Aaron is concerned about music dominating Matt’s childhood, but he eventually understands his son’s gift is already leading him to a life far away from their home in Lady’s River, Wisconsin.

When Matt is taken from them unexpectedly, Aaron and Sonia turn in different directions, eventually going their separate ways. It seems to be working…or is it? For Sonia and Aaron, only a trip through the past will allow them to redeem the future—perhaps even find a shared future again.

About Virginia McCullough:

Virginia McCullough
Virginia McCullough

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia started her writing career when her family moved to the coast of Maine and she began writing articles on many topics, including family living, children’s literature, business, and women’s issues. Her work appeared in a variety of magazines including Baby Talk and Marriage & Family Living. During the years her family lived aboard a sailboat, she wrote about boating and cruising and her articles appeared in magazines such as Cruising World and Sail.

Virginia broke into book publishing with her first coauthored books, TMJ Syndrome: The Overlooked Diagnosis, with A. Richard Goldman, DDS and Touch: A Personal Workbook (Open Arms Press), with Greg Risberg, M.S.W. Many more coauthored books followed over the next 25 years. She is now the author of several independently published fiction books. Her fiction explores themes of love, healing and second chances.

Review by techwow:

The Chapels on the Hill is the emotional journey of Aaron and Sonia Chapel as they cope with the tragic death of their seventeen year old son Matt after a post 9/11 plane crash.

Set in Lady’s Fingers, Wisconsin on the Chapel family’s tourist garden, readers are treated to a skillfully woven series of flashbacks showing Aaron and Sonia’s relationship spanning the decades from 1984 to 2006. From their unexpected pregnancy and abrupt wedding, to the trials and tribulations of raising a musical prodigy, Aaron and Sonia find love and navigate parenthood as a team until tragedy strikes.

Losing their only child, Sonia and Aaron are consumed with grief. Sonia tries to find solace in creating a memorial for their son to keep his memory alive while Aaron would rather continue to investigate whether the plane crash was an act of terrorism. In The Chapels on the Hill, Virginia McCullough masterfully explores the aftermath of the Chapels losing the son that brought them together.

Review by Light:

I read Island Healing and instantly became a fan of Virginia McCullough. She’s done it again with The Chapels on the Hill. For me, it’s the depth she reaches with her characters. They become alive, and I end up genuinely caring what happens to them.

I think about them during the day, while I’m making dinner or doing yoga or whatever, and worry about the situations they’ve found themselves in and the people they’re dealing with (Dottie’s arc is beautiful). In Chapels I loved the twist with discovering Sonia and Aaron’s story in the present and past simultaneously.

It made the decisions they made that much more relevant. I can’t imagine the pain they felt with their tragedy, yet they came through, they survived, and moved on to become even better. That’s a good read.

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