When the story opens, Isaac is a young, black man about 30 years old. He is the right-hand man of Pete’s crop farmer father. Pete is about 12 years old and bereft with the loss of his dad. For a father figure, though, we have Grandpa Ned, to continue to lead the family and keep the farm in order. The story centers around Pete and his coming-of-age years. Racial and social class splits are prevalent in the story.
John and Dovey Pickett are father/daughter who have lost Dovey’s mom. That means Pete and Dovey share loss of a parent and they are drawn together. The story of Jacob and Rachel surfaces as John strives to know Pete and Pete’s character before he is comfortable allowing Dovey to spend time with him.
The overall story here is the mystery of Isaac’s disappearance and how it impacts a small, Southern town in the 1960s. There are encouraging scenes where Ned practices charity with dignity and folks come together to help one another. As expected, there are scenes of unfounded dislike for one set of folks versus another.
Thanks to Revell for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.
I have enjoyed everything about this devotional series. The exercises in how to study the Bible are welcome, along with the spiritual reflections. However, there’s a story here about 4 women and their walks toward God. This is a continuation of Mara, Hannah, Charissa, Meg and Meg’s daughter, Becca. These are real women with timely life issues. The reader can find themselves in the different characteristics of these women, making them relatable.
I will certainly be watching for more books by Sharon Garlough Brown.
Thanks to InterVarsity Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.
Adele has a harebrained idea to go to her uncle in NY to try and win a husband from among the area’s eligible, rich bachelors. The family name is besmirched in London and she needs to secure funds to keep the family afloat. It’s a selfless idea, but she puts herself in quite a pickle. Right away she is introduced to Mr. Conrad who is to be a newly-rich, slightly uncultured fellow who takes a liking to her. Adele could be just what he needs to find his proper place in society with a lovely, educated wife by his side. Mr. Conrad’s business ventures includes an exhibition of a high wire aerialist, Drew, who is scheduled to cross Niagara Falls. Is Adele really destined to marry Conrad or does God have a higher call on her?
I was torn about my like or dislike of the story. There were too many, hard to believe things happening such as her gambler brother showing up on the uncle’s doorstep. And, her brother’s change of habits.
Thanks to Barbour Publishing for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.
Leni Allbright and her mother live at the mercy of her post-Vietnam war father, Ernt, who has serious PTSD. Set in the 1970s, the book follows the family in their move to remote Alaska after Ernt inherits land and a ramshackle cabin. Convinced that Alaska will make everything better, the family sets off posthaste for the northern frontier. Ernt, though, has demons that are impossible to overcome and drinking doesn’t help. He abuses his wife when he’s in a dark mood. Alaska has lots of dark, challenging times with the long, dark winters. That sets him off at even more regular intervals. Leni doesn’t know a different life, but as she grows through her teenage years, she is pretty sure that her family’s lifestyle is not to be emulated. Ernt kicks into survivalist mode with the help of like-minded neighbors in Alaska.
The bright spots of this book are Alaskan neighbor, Large Marge, along with the one room schoolhouse where Leni can escape sure the days. The school, though, is short on other teens as only 3 attend there. Matthew Walker becomes a pal for Leni and eventually ends up as her love interest.
This was a page-turner book with blackness on so many pages. The reader roots for Leni to escape the madness that is her home. Her mother is not blind to the abuse, but she is tangled in the cycles of her husband’s abuse; sure that he really loves them.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.
Judd Markley heads away from West Virginia after surviving a coal mine collapse that took the life of his brother. Judd vows to live out his brother’s dream to explore more of the world. The trip takes Judd to Myrtle Beach where he quickly secures a job as a machine repair guy for the timber baron, Mr. Heyward. Into the picture comes the boss’s daughter, Larkin. She, though, has wanted for several years to leave Myrtle Beach and go to Appalachia to help the less fortunate that she is sure need her assistance. Her brother, Bud, estranged from the family, has gone before her and she longs to find him and join him.
Larkin reaches her destination, but it is not quite as she expected. It seems Larkin is the one who learns the lessons and her eyes become open to other ways of life that are enriching and fulfilling for its residents.
Predictably, Judd and Larkin fall in love. Thankfully, though, the love story is fresh and doesn’t get stuck in a formula.
Thanks to Bethany House for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.
Lovey (Eva) is called home to Oxford, Mississippi about 2-3 weeks in advance of her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. She knows there is a big party coming as she’s been working on it with her sister, Bitsy. However much she loves her parents, Lovey has been at odds with her sister since their teen years. Now in their mid to late 40s, the sisters are still grating on each other. Lovey resents Bitsy’s stance which keeps Lovey away from home and away from her niece and nephew whom she adores. Without a husband or family of her own, Lovey has tried to build a different life in Arizona. Professionally, she is a success. in love, though, she’s a mess.
Back at home at her parents’ request, Lovey reunites with her high school love through a landscaping project Lovey’s dad (Chief) outlined. Unfortunately the love is involved with another mutual acquaintance and that complicates things.
I know this sounds like a romance, but I would say it’s more about the marital love of Lovey’s parents, parental love, the missing sibling love between Lovey and Bitsy, and Lovey’s need to accept her situation and release herself from expectations.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with an ARC for a review in my own words.