Wuthering Heights meets The Andy Griffith Show — In her debut turn, author Ceil Warren paints a cast of characters with a backstory like Heathcliff’s and heart like Aunt Bee’s. Set on a single day in the New Englandish village of Stones End, the story centers on Arthur, the reliable but passionless bachelor who owns the town printshop and harbors a deep secret. As each kooky resident of the village is introduced, flashbacks illuminate the characters and the strong relationships that make this day inevitable. Warren has a flair for dialogue. The characters’ playful and compassionate back and forth swaddle the reader in a cloak of friendship. Until you see how it turns out for your friends, Arthur and the rest, you won’t be able to put the book down.
Westchester County, NY
Feel-good book of the year! A rare pleasure when an author takes the reader into the soul of a character. I cherished this richly woven, witty, soul-searching journey as Arthur struggles to shake off his past and take a path toward an unknown future.
Dutchess County, NY
Loved it! I was completely captivated by this wonderful novel celebrating life and all its messy complexities. Profound, witty, engaging story that constantly moves forward with fast-paced, hysterical dialogue, heart-stopping, heart-aching and stand-up-and-cheer moments. Turning Toward the Sun is filled with relatable characters: quirky, lovable, flawed. The story unfolds as 62-year old Arthur receives an unexpected letter which causes him to wrestle past demons, fight to keep a 40-year-old secret hidden and attempt to find an answer to a decades-old question. Will he find the redemption and answers he seeks?
I found Turning Toward the Sun a winning mix of intrigue and charm. Throw in an anthropomorphic bench named George, zany sass-talking friends, hilarious antics, life at its heart-wrenching best and love at its most tender moments and you have an utterly satisfying read.
In her first novel, Ceil Warren delivers a compelling narrative of one man’s struggle to replace bitter memories with hope for the future. I was captivated by the moving vignettes that serve as a reminder that we are all capable of compassion. In the end, I was first surprised and then serenely content with Arthur’s resolution and its unexpected consequences. He had finally taken his father’s advice which are words for us all to live by: ‘Let go of the day’s worries each night so there’s room for tomorrow’s joys.’
Westchester County, NY
This poignant, delightful book will be savored and remembered! Ceil Warren weaves a suspenseful web of long-ago love in a small bucolic village in rural Connecticut. A mysterious letter turns a routine day upside down packed with intriguing twists and surprises. Quirky characters, including a philosophical bench, offer deep insight into life’s challenges and meaning.
President, Bronx County Historical Society
I got so close to Arthur and his family of friends I could almost hear them breathe. I laughed, cried, and chuckled at the endless kindnesses, grace, and vulnerabilities of the characters who left a hole in my heart. Can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Dr. Wally D. Borgen
New London, NH
Arthur is determined to keep his forty-year-old secret hidden. His nosy, well-intentioned friends are equally determined to find out what he’s hiding. Who will emerge triumphant in this epic battle of wills? Don’t miss this one-day journey with Arthur as he struggles to answer one of life’s biggest questions.
It was exciting to read this novel of Arthur and his dilemma of a long-lost love. The author carries the intrigue of a mysterious letter with panache. The story line flows beautifully drawing the reader into the action. You cannot wait to turn the next page. I was captured by the richly developed characters who drew me to their quest of helping Arthur. Eagerly awaiting your next feel-good story!
Allow yourself the great pleasure of reading Turning Toward the Sun. You’ll give yourself the gift of a sunny day surrounded by fabulous friends. Truly heartwarming!
Westchester County, NY
Turning Toward the Sun by Ceil Warren
By Ralph Peluso, Literary Editor
Alexandria, VA – Boy, how time flies! The privilege I have of reviewing books is now going on six years. Each month I’m amazed by the unique talents of each author, and this month’s selection is no different.
In her first work, Turning Toward the Sun, Ceil Warren will make readers pause and think. She writes in a smooth and easy fashion, touching on deeply sensitive and personal topics. Secrets and regrets from the past, often held too close and deep, nonetheless surface and haunt.
Times are always changing, but resistance to change is never good for the soul. The heart is fickle, but true love shines through. Perhaps the saddest realization for readers is how fleeting time is. Holding grudges, especially with loved ones, never has a good outcome. When those loved ones are gone, all that is left is the guilt of not spending more time with them. One quote (among many) in the book that hits home is, “you cannot hold a memory.”
Ceil’s work has a happy ending. Her main character, Arthur, is a fusty man, older in stature than his age of 62. He proves nothing in life in insurmountable with the help of good friends during the tough moments. Arthur is a man who throughout life always chose the safer simpler path, the path more travelled. His quirky, caring friends have other ideas. They drag him protesting to face his fears and go for the brass ring. It’s a story of love, friendship, and redemption told with humor and heart.
Ceil’s characters emphasize people as important pieces in building the complex quilt of who we are. Her work draws you into the family fabric of the Connecticut hamlet community of Stones End, and navigates the trials, tribulations, and rumor mill of a small close-knit community.
“Wonderful people in my life kindled my inspiration. I’m surrounded by colorfully rich characters who fill me with joy and laughter. We get each other through all that life throws at us…celebrating the good and holding each other up through the bad,” Warren said when asked about her initiative for the book.
Ceil Warren is a native of the Bronx, NY, and her family has lived in places from Belarus to Newfoundland. She was the sixth child in a family of eight. “My parents were tired by the time I came around. I got away with a lot.”
As a teenager, she had a deep crush on George Harrison. There are bits of his great song, “All Things Must Pass,” in her work. Always a risk taker, she took to drag racing. “My Slant Six Duster sure could move. And my parents never found out.”
Ceil became a self-taught CFO and broke the glass ceiling. Warren says her life is blessed with close family and fabulous friendships that have withstood the test of time. I can vouch for the latter; my friendship with her dates back six decades.
“Life is made up of a million moments,” she writes. Make reading about Arthur, his friends and the search for love one of those moments. Available on Amazon. A terrific read for all. Solid 5 Zebra Stripes.
Authors in the D.C. Metro Area!
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