The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

10 year old Benedict has been moved from one foster home to another, and he’s hated every one. When he arrives at Sunshine Ranch, he doesn’t bother unpacking. What’s the point? But his new foster parents and siblings are very different from what he’s become used to. David and Martha Credence strive to instill love and Christian values in their family and it inspires hope in each child. Benedict is not into “religion,” but Sunshine Ranch is the home he’s secretly been yearning for. Still, he fears it’s all just a little too good to be true, and his sentiments are validated when he learns that they may lose Sunshine Ranch. Can the Credence children help save the Ranch? Will faith keep them together? Or will Benedict’s dream be shattered?The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch is a story about a family devoted to God. It relays the personal journeys of all the Credence foster children and their struggles to overcome past and present pain and adversity.In this novel, the confidence of the devoted is challenged, but an even deeper understanding of God and His love are revealed.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:12-13)

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch has received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval.

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch is available at many online and offline retailers such as Barnes & Noble and, and through distributors such as Ingram and Baker and Taylor, as well as directly through the author.

I love T.M. Gaouette’s style; its very contemplative, almost poetic. I instantly felt connected to the characters and their problems; they felt so real. This book broke my heart and healed it at the same time; when I finished it, I curled up in a ball and hugged it while I cried my eyeballs out (yes, I am a book hugger.) T.M. Gaouette really knows how to pluck your heart strings. ( Read the full review at The Humorous Bookworm )

The minute I started reading this story, I suspected I was going to need a kleenex box nearby. I was right. From page one I was pulled into this moving novel about a young boy in the foster care system, unwanted and hurting, and how God draws him to Himself by incredible and quite surprising events. Benedict and sweet little Melanie stole my heart from the beginning, and the other characters were well done. The author’s description is marvelous, and the story transported me, from the school principal’s office in chapter one, to Miss Ratchet’s dingy and abusive apartment, and of course to Sunshine Ranch, where adventures awaited our young hero and his companions. Some of the twists and turns caught me totally by surprise.
This book is very different in flavor from Gaouette’s Tanner Rose series. This one is for a younger audience, but in all of her books, the author gets straight into the hearts of her kids. I look forward to more of Gaouette’s stories! I hope she considers a sequel to this one! (Susan Peek, author of God’s Forgotten Friends series)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch” by T.M. Gaouette. I enjoyed getting to know each of the foster children, especially Benedict. The book drew me in, and I couldn’t wait to explore the lives of the characters. The author did an excellent job of allowing readers to step into Benedict’s shoes and experience his pain, fear, longing, sadness, and eventually happiness. The bittersweet ending left me wishing for more. (Andrea Jo Rogers, author of Saint Michael the Archangel Academy series)

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch appealed to every emotion: there is joy and sadness, richness and loss. T.M. Gaouette delivers a powerful story with an emotional wallop, filling her pages with surprises and suspense, mystery and romance, pain and growth. Unquestionably, this novel is a page turner.

I would recommend this book for family reading. Biological progeny and foster children, biological and foster parents can see themselves somewhere in the pages of this book. It will especially benefit students preparing for careers in social services. I enjoyed reading this story because its characters deeply touched me. I pray that many couples will follow the example of David and Martha Credence and provide a loving home for foster children. (Read full review by Don Mulcare -Catholic Writers Guild)

This book took me completely by surprise. From the amazing dialogue to the raw emotions it portrays and captures it is a wonderful read from the first to last word. I know a number of foster children. I have seen them come and seen them go. This book captures their lives, their experiences and their hopes. The book was incredibly moving. Having known so many kids who have gone through the foster system knowing some of their stories and some not so much this book captures children when they are vulnerable, when they are reactionary and when they fear hope. But hope and love is what many foster children need most. (Read full review by Steven McEvoy, Book Reviews and More (also posted on Catholic Dads Online)




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6 thoughts on “The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

  1. Even those this book is geared towards tweens, it is a must read for anyone who works with children, and especially anyone who works with foster children,
    It is a well written book about what is can be like to be a foster child in the system. Many of these children are shuttled from one family to the next with little to no warning. Many carry their few possessions in a plastic trash bag. What a terrible feeling that must be, and what kind of message are we giving these children! This book give insight into the life of a 10 year old boy who is in the foster care system. It accurately portrays the feelings and emotions that many of these children have to deal wit; and how those feelings and emotions shape their reactions to things. The book shows how with love, understanding, patience, and a reliance on God, these children’s lives can be transformed.
    It is a book you won’t want to put down.

  2. Thought this was a well written book, with clear sharp characters, lovely visual scenes and a few surprises. The patience of Martha & David was beautiful and the way in which God’s love was woven into everyday life was the reason they were successful. Sometimes lemonaide takes time to accumulate lemons is longer than you think; The Lord teaches us patience and real family love with this delightfully written book. Good job, TMG !! And I especially LOVE the Cover picture!

  3. I just finished reading this book and I loved it! It’s geared toward tweens and young adults. There is a consistent theme of faith and trusting God throughout the book. It was a good read. I found myself wanting to find out what happened next, and all the while enjoying the careful threading of scripture references. It was a refreshing book and I’d highly recommend it.

  4. T. Rigione
    At every spare moment i had during my day, i managed to read a few chapters of The Destiny Of Sunshine Ranch. What a beautiful start to a book, it just tempted your fingers to keep turning the pages. The wonderful discriptive writing brought you into the story itself, sitting next to Benedict outside on the front porch and feeling his saddness and wanting to give him a big hug and saying “something better is round the corner and DO NOT give up, this is lifes
    journey and your in safe hands.” The children in the book you could relate to, as well as a few giggles along the way.
    The Destiny Of Sunshine Ranch keeps the readers wanting more.

  5. I will freely admit – even though this book is written for teenagers, I was taken in fairly quickly. The characters are well developed and likable, which made me want to see how things turned out for them. I usually have a pile of serious tomes stacked up for my free reading time, and most are non-fiction titles. It was an absolute pleasure to immerse myself in this story.

    In addition to a delightful read, there are a few uplifting messages revealed in these pages. For me, the most important was that faith is the only sure anecdote for anxiety. Coming in a closely behind were the ideas that God waits – and that where there is life, there is hope.

    I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a foster child, especially one who is moved from place to place. That is who this story is about. A lovable and diverse bunch of foster children and the couple who take them into their home.

    I loved how Ms. Gaouette presented each child as unique, with his or her own defenses and coping mechanisms. David and Martha Credence, (the foster parents) have a wonderful ability to understand these kids and assist them as they heal from their painful pasts. They carefully guide the group of young people towards faith, and help them to cope with new situations and emotions. Their capacity to love is amazing, and they have plenty for each of their charges. Sunshine Ranch is a refuge.

    Benedict is the main character, and he is introduced immediately. He’s only ten but he has had quite a rough life. When he arrives at the ranch he isn’t exactly sure what to make of it – or the oddly happy people living there. While the stories of the other children all intertwine through Benny’s, the focus always returns to him. He is a stubborn young man – bound and determined to avoid faith, refuse to trust, and to keep everyone at an arm’s length. He is determined not to become attached to this new home or it’s inhabitants, even though Sunshine Ranch is everything he has ever wanted or hoped for.

    Of course, just like the rest of us, this patched together family has it’s share of ups and downs, joys and heartbreaks, worries and woes. Through the characters we see the contrast between reactions based on faith, and reactions rooted in fear.

    Without being preachy, The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch illustrates the very beautiful passage of Scripture,

    I Can Do All things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me. Phillipans 4:13

    The story also shows the detrimental effects that come from holding on to all of our hurts and our worries. It is not an easy way to live! Thankfully, readers will also see the profound joy that accompanies conversion.

    I am sad to say, there have been times in my life when I have been like Benedict, and I know many Benedicts today. Many “Benedicts” will show up in the pews during these days of the Triduum – and I pray that this is the year they decide to stay.

    While the book is not drenched in Catholicism, it is clearly the faith of the Credence family and it is mentioned occasionally, throughout the pages. Even so, I think it would be an appropriate book for a teen of any faith to read.

    As a mom, I can easily recommend this novel for teens. The plot is interesting, and there is just enough turmoil to hold the attention of younger people. There are a few minor plot elements that could probably not happen in real life, but for the sake of the story, they work. When I’m reading or watching a movie, I allow a little bit of creative license – and these minor blips would probably not register with an average teenager.

  6. Pingback: Do you Carry the Burdens of your Past like Benedict? « tmgaouette

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