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Monday, May 20, 2019

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About the Book

Book: Past Forward
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Release Date: April 19, 2017
Past Forward CoverAlone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.
The Finley women’s lives, while rich and full, aren’t easy. rejecting electricity and many other modern conveniences, they live purposefully and intentionally–alone and isolated from the world around them.
When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother dead.
From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.
The Past Forward series opens with Willow’s life-changing discovery and gently guides the reader through aspects of her life–the past weaving through the present and into the future. Experience her first morning in church, her first movie, and the culture shock of her first trips to the city. A birthday party and a street faire add welcome diversion from butchering, canning, and the beating of area rugs. Disaster strikes. Will she choose to continue her simple life, or will an offer in the city change it all? Find out in this first volume.

About the Author

ChautonaChautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona


December 1985. The time had finally come. After two months of living in a run-down motel in Rosamond, California, we were finally moving to our own place. Seventeen miles away.
Just off Highway 58, outside Mojave, California (about the place that Alton Gansky’s, Distant Memory opens), a huge billboard loomed. For the curious, it’s still there today. Aqueduct City.
For the record, there was no city. There still isn’t. Just a dirt road or three. Oh, and the aqueduct. In fact, that’s eventually how we got our water—stole it from the California aqueduct.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
At the edge of all those parcels lay our new land. Twenty-two acres of desert sand, creosote, sage, and a tiny, baby Joshua tree at the end of our long, U-shaped dirt driveway.
I took out that sucker with my first attempt at backing down the drive. It looked like a snake had slithered back and forth across the sandy strip of cleared dirt, and somehow I managed to run over the foot-high tree. It wasn’t often I managed to shock my mother speechless. That was one time. I now have mad back-upping skills. Thought you oughtta know.
On that land, my parents put an 18’ travel trailer.
We hauled in water in 55-gallon drum barrels—first from a friend’s house and later from that aqueduct. It was several miles closer. One of those barrels ended up on top of the trailer for showers. The water pressure depended on how full that sucker was. Navy showers? Ever had one? It goes like so:
  • Turn on water.
  • Make one slow turn under the water to get all wet.
  • Turn it off.
  • Lather up.
  • Shampoo hair.
  • Turn on water.
  • Turn off.
  • Work conditioner into hair.
  • Turn on water.
  • Turn off.
  • Get out.
  • Try to stop your teeth from chattering.
For the record, that chattering is no joke. When it’s twenty degrees out there, water gets cold. And we had no way to heat it.
Our plumbing also included a shovel. For… um… other plumbing needs. Winter was the worst and the best time for the call of nature. Worst because, well, 40 mph winds and twenty-degree weather. Best, because no snakes.
We used Coleman propane lanterns, a propane refrigerator (that sat outside our door), and eventually, a gas-powered generator. Once a week, Dad would fire that thing up so I could iron my church clothes. #darkages
For the curious, summer was blistering hot.
No fans (except for stiff cardboard we used arm-power to operate). No air conditioner. Not even a swamp cooler. Mom and I would go into town and read at the library when we just couldn’t take another minute in 112-degree desert heat. She’d drive me to Lancaster so I could go sit in an air-conditioned movie theater and watch another movie. If it came out in 1986 or 1987 and wasn’t pure smut, I probably saw it. Out of self-preservation.
Before long, I’d been relegated to the “porch.” That consisted of a redwood lattice “patio” enclosure in front of the trailer door. (For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I was the dictionary definition of “trailer trash” in some people’s books.) That space was eight feet wide and sixteen feet long.
I had a twin bed out there. When winter came, dad made sleeping out there more bearable by heating huge rocks in one of those 55-gallon drum barrels and wrapping them in old quilts. That went at the foot of my bed to keep my feet warm.
If only the wind hadn’t blown sand into my hair every night…
What does all of this have to do with Past Forward?
Just this. People have often asked why Willow would choose to live without electricity. Some have said you couldn’t live only five miles outside of town and be so isolated and reclusive.
I disagree.
We did it. By choice. Because it’s who my father is. And of all of my characters, Kari Finley, Willow’s mother, is the most like my father. The way Kari taught Willow? That’s exactly how Dad used to teach me—by making it a natural part of life.
I didn’t know it when I wrote the series, but Past Forward really does show exactly what kind of life my father would have chosen to live if he’d ever really considered it. The self-sustaining work, the emphasis on beauty, the isolation—all of it shows the kind of man I call Dad.
If you’d asked me as a kid what I thought of living out there in Mojave, I would have said I hated it. Not only that, I would have believed myself. But if you’d talked to me for a while, you would have figured out that I said that because I was expected to. No one thinks you’ll like living with almost nothing, in the middle of nowhere, especially as a teenager.
Looking back, though, I actually I liked it. Dad. Mom. Me. And Boozer, our dog. I’d tell you about her, but that’s a story for another day. Yeah, I liked my life there “out on the property,” as we called it.
Except for the Mojave green rattlesnakes. Not a fan of those. Not then or today.
Just sayin’.


The beauty of reading a book by Ms.. Havig is that she has the gift of bringing the story to life. I was so absorbed in Willow's story that everything around me faded away. I loved getting to know Willow and how strong she was. It was so much fun to read how she made her own soap, canned vegetables and fruits and lived off the land.  I could picture her out there in the hot sun as she worked in the garden and took care of her animals.I loved the way she lived and how carefree and innocent she was. 

It is not hard to believe that she didn't know how to ride an escalator or use a cell phone. Some may say she had been sheltered all her life. I think her mother raised a young woman who was able to provide for herself and stay away from the dangers that a city has. Her simple but hard working life appeals to me. The story does remind me of the summers I spent at my granddad's farm. He harvested wheat, had chickens and a garden full of bountiful fruits and vegetables. He hardly went to town and enjoyed farming. Just like Willow, he didn't have air conditioners and kept the windows open for the breeze to blow through.

The journals that Willow found that belonged to her mother was definitely eye opening. Her mother shared her heart in those journals and made Willow realize how hard it was at times for her mother. I loved how the author allowed readers to follow Willow as she discovers the city and all it has to offer. The movie theater incident was classic.. I won't spoil it for you, but it is typical Willow discovering something new. I loved her innocence at things like riding in a vehicle or just walking into a store to purchase something. Can you imagine what it would be like to sew all your own clothes, eat off the land and never go into town? 

Chad is a welcome addition to the story and instantly became a favorite of mine. He meets Willow under a tragic situation but quickly feels the need to protect her. He is a classic gentleman with a heart of gold It is easy to see the signs of deeper feelings he has towards Willow. After all, he seems to always find a reason to stop at her place. I rooted for Chad and Willow to get together and loved reading how at times Willow let her guard down with him. 

The story is the liberation and new beginning for Willow as she finds herself on her own in a world that has many up and downs for her. Her talents are endless around the farm and her ability to adjust to new friends is wonderful to witness. I admired her mother for raising a daughter who stands up for herself and can easily take care of a farm with sweat and hard work. Being isolated most of her life does bring challenges to her but her determination is refreshing. I will briefly mention that there is a little tug of war going on with Willow's feelings towards two men, but you must read the story to find out what happens. The big question is , will Willow continue to live on her farm, or will an opportunity draw her to the big city?

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Bigreadersite, May 19
Carpe Diem, May 24


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes a complete paperback set of Past Forward & a custom Past Forward Lavender Lemonade candle!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. This book sounds like a fantastic and fascinating read.

  2. I love this series so much I've read it twice!