1950’s

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas



MY REVIEW:

I adored the author’s debut series so I was excited to have the chance to read the first book in her latest series. It is somewhat different than her Appalachian Blessings novels but I still found the well-rounded characters and vivid descriptions that captivated me in the first books.

I liked Judd Markley from the start and hoped that he would find the new beginning and success in South Carolina that he desired. It took me a bit longer to like Larkin. It took getting past her spoiled little rich girl exterior and getting to know her true heart for me to care. Once I saw the real Larkin, I could see the light in her that attracted Judd.

“The Sound of Rain” is a story filled with tragedy and triumph, hopes and dreams, and learning to walk the path the Lord has laid out. It was encouraging to see Judd and Larkin find their way down that very path despite the hurdles set before them. It was also gratifying to watch how the Lord used circumstances to soften some very hard hearts and use them to restore lives and relationships.

This wonderful story is further enhanced by the gorgeous cover. I especially liked the three dimensional reflective raindrops on the front. Looking forward to the next book in this series. I hope you will check it out for yourself.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required.All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

In the Dark of the Mine, In the Face of Rising Water,
In the Shadows of the Hills, Faith Will See Them Through

Judd Markley knows he can never set foot underground again. The mine collapse that nearly killed him and claimed his brother’s life means leaving West Virginia forever. Although that hard Appalachian world is all he knows, he puts it behind him and heads for the open sky of the thriving town of 1954 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Larkin Heyward’s life in the beach town is uncomplicated, mostly volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more and being more–maybe moving to the hills and hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she’s never even met someone who’s lived there–until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father’s timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a hurricane that changes Myrtle Beach forever, Judd’s and Larkin’s dreams pull them in divergent directions. It will take a significant sacrifice to keep them together–or maybe, it will take a miracle.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: © Kristen Delliveniri

Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fundraiser for a children’s ministry and has written for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as The Asheville Citizen-Times. She is the author of Miracle in a Dry Season, Until the Harvest, and A Tapestry of Secrets. She holds a BA in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina. She can be found online at www.sarahloudinthomas.com.

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas



MY REVIEW:

I was privileged to have the opportunity to read a pre-release galley of Sarah Loudin Thomas’ first novel “Miracle in a Dry Season”. I am almost at a loss for words to express how much I liked this book. I most assuredly will purchase a printed copy once it is available. I intend to add the entire series to my keeper shelf so that I can read them again.

I’m not absolutely certain what it was about this book that caused me to like it so much. The author’s way with words was extraordinary, her characters almost stepped off the page, the setting was perfect, and the story was filled with scripture without being heavy-handed. I absolutely loved Perla, a young mother who had never been married and who exhibited a certain unusual way with food that may have caused her more social problems than her obvious sin. Her constant willingness to serve others and her love for her daughter was inspiring. Then there was Casewell, who despite his initial reaction to Perla’s past, quickly found himself helping and standing up for her as she tirelessly worked to help feed their community during a severe drought. Casewell’s integrity and faith were a highlight of the story.

Oh, there are so many lessons in this story that apply to our own lives! And each lesson is illustrated in such a kind and gentle manner within the context of the story that it is nearly painless – that is until the reader realizes that the guilty character could be herself. Wonderful examples of faith, forgiveness, and servanthood permeate the pages of this book and could be examples for each and every one of us.

I could not find a thing about this novel that was not absolutely perfect. I believe it may be the best one I have read in a long time (and I read every day and have many favorites). I highly recommend this book and hope everyone will pick up a copy when it is finally released. Love, love, love it! Quotation from Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

A digital copy of this book was provided for review by
Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group through NetGalley.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Miracle In A Dry SeasonIn a Drought, It’s the Darkest Cloud
That Brings Hope

It’s 1954 and Perla Long’s arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor…until he meets Perla. She’s everything he’s sought in a woman, but he can’t get past the sense that she’s hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla’s unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

Read an excerpt from “Miracle in a Dry Season” HERE.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sarah Loudin ThomasSarah Loudin Thomas is a fund-raiser for a children’s ministry who has also published freelance writing for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as The Asheville Citizen-Times and The Journey Christian Newspaper. She holds a bachelor’s in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more at www.sarahloudinthomas.com.

River’s Call by Melody Carlson



MY REVIEW:

I always enjoy books by Melody Carlson and am constantly amazed by her versatility and the sheer volume of her work. “River’s Call” and the preceding book of The Inn at Shining Waters series “River’s Song” were a bit different from the other Carlson novels I’ve read. Set in the late fifties and the sixties with a remote setting free of many modern distractions, both novels have a laid back nostalgic feel to them that appealed to me.

Despite the difference in setting, “River’s Call” did not lack in human conflict and interaction. I am glad that I had already read “River’s Song” because it contains the background information that helped me to understand some of the reasons that certain characters related to each other and/or acted the way they did. I really liked both Anna and Clark as well as Clark’s mother but heartily disliked both Anna’s daughter Lauren and her paternal grandmother Eunice. Lauren was a spoiled and lazy young woman who was interested in nothing but herself and Eunice was a bitter old woman whose manipulation and control contributed to Lauren’s problems. Her interference when Lauren found herself unmarried and pregnant created all kinds of problems.

I have found that Carlson’s novels are usually filled with wisdom and life lessons that are a direct result of faith in God. The message was not as prominent at first in “River’s Call” but it emerged strongly before the end with an excellent example of forgiveness and reconciliation.

I was sorry to find that some loose ends were left hanging but that just makes me eager to read the final installment of the series “River’s End”. I can’t wait for it’s release.

This book was provided for review by Glass Road Public Relations.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

What happens when the ties between generations are severed?

It is the 1960s and Anna’s daughter, Lauren, is confused, broken-hearted, and pregnant. The difficult situation seems to bring out the worst in the selfish girl. When Lauren chooses to stay with her manipulative Grandma Eunice, Anna worries her daughter will never become a mature adult and the relationship between Lauren, Anna and Eunice becomes even more strained. However, when she hits the lowest point in her life, Lauren returns to her mother, the river, and the Inn and Shining Waters. As time passes, Lauren, now a mother to her own defiant teenager, faces a new crisis, one that puts the entire family at risk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melody Carlson published her first book in 1995 and she has been writing prolifically ever since. To date, Melody has published over 200 books, making her one of the top 20 most prolific authors of all time. With total sales of over 5 million her award-winning books include: Homeward, Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon; Limelight; the Diary of a Teenage Girl series; the True Colors series; and the Carter House Girls series.

In her professional life, Melody has worn many hats: from pre-school teacher to political activist to senior editor. Currently, she writes full-time, and freelances from her home. She has two grown sons and lives in Sisters, Oregon with her husband, Chris, and Audrey, her yellow lab. They enjoy skiing, hiking, and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

River’s Song by Melody Carlson



MY REVIEW:

I thoroughly enjoyed a trip back in time to the late 1950’s through the pages of Melody Carlson’s River’s Song. This slow paced but quickly read story is beautifully simple yet wonderfully complex.

A naive young girl when she married, Anna Larson spent the next twenty years verbally abused, manipulated,  controlled and taken advantage of by the mother-in-law who despised her. She continued to live with and serve her mother-in-law after her husband’s death because the woman’s lies convinced her that there were no other options. Only when she ventured to her mother’s home on the Suislaw River to settle her estate, did Anna realize just how unhappy she had become.

With the encouragement of friends, both old and new, memories of her parents and grandmother,  and the peace she finds on the banks of the river, Anna’s true identity begins to emerge. Rather than return to the domination of her mother-in-law, Anna decides to remain at the family property that now belongs to her. It is there that she finds the healing that she needs and even more.

I can always expect at least one practical or spiritual lesson in life when I read one of Carlson’s books. Several are present in River’s Song, most of which are revealed in the retelling of the stories of Anna’s grandmother. A strong message of forgiveness is a primary theme.

I loved the setting of River’s Song and enjoyed the characters. I look forward to visiting with them again in the next volume of this series.

 

A digital copy of this book was provided for review by NetGalley.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Her relationship with her daughter in shambles and tensions mounting with her mother-in-law, Anna Larson returns to her childhood home on the banks of the Suislaw River to sort out her parent’s belongings and put the pieces of her own life back together.

Embracing her native heritage for the first time since childhood Anna transforms her old family home into Shining Waters Inn, a place she hopes will give her family a new beginning.

River’s Song is Book One in the Inn at Shining Waters series.

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melody Carlson published her first book in 1995 and she has been writing prolifically ever since. To date, Melody has published over 200 books, making her one of the top 20 most prolific authors of all time. With total sales of over 1.4 million her award-winning books include: Homeward, Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon; Limelight; the Diary of a Teenage Girl series; the True Colors series; and the Charter House Girls series.

In her professional life, Melody has worn many hats: from pre-school teacher to political activist to senior editor. Currently, she writes full-time, and freelances from her home. She has two grown sons and lives in Sisters, Oregon with her husband, Chris, and Bailey, her chocolate lab. They enjoy skiing, hiking, and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

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