Review: What Momma Left Behind, by Cindy Sproles

book coverSynopsis

In the face of overwhelming obstacles, she’ll need courage, grit, and a tender heart

Worie Dressar is seventeen years old when influenza and typhoid ravage her Appalachian Mountain community in 1877, leaving behind a growing number of orphaned children with no way to care for themselves. Worie’s mother has been secretly feeding several of these little ones on Sourwood Mountain. But when tragedy strikes, Worie is left to figure out why and how she was caring for them.

Plagued with two good-for-nothing brothers–one greedy and the other a drunkard–Worie must fight to save her home and the children now in her begrudging care. Along the way, she discovers the beauty of unconditional love and the power of forgiveness as she cares for all of Momma’s children.


Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic advance copy of this book from the publisher, the words and opinions below are my own.

There are some Christian historical fiction writers whose newest novels I cannot wait to read. Cindy Sproles is one of that select group. I have read her previous novels, Mercy’s Rain and Liar’s Winter, and loved them both. In my mind, they were both five star reads. I was excited to get a copy of What Momma Left Behind, even if it was an electronic version marked “not final text.”

Cindy Sproles is from Appalachia, so her books are set in the Tennessee part of that area. It’s not an area I’ve visited. Yes, technically western New York, western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are all parts of Appalachia, and I have lived in two out of those three locations, but I always got the feeling that where I’ve lived is not quite the same as where these books are set. But Sproles writes in a wonderful local dialect and, when I read her new book, I could hear Worie in my head clear as day.

The story itself is powerful. It’s about family secrets, and the power of good and evil. It’s about trust, bitterness, and forgiveness. It details the harsh realities of mountain life and death, and gives a different perspective on orphan trains other than the one I’ve read about in other Christian fiction tales. The narrative provides examples of a class divide we try not to think about. Worie has more in common with the former slave, Ely, than the white people in the city who look down on her homespun ways.

I read What Momma Left Behind in one sitting. There was no way I could pick up anything else until I finished. Worie spoke to me and I had to listen. Cindy Sproles has done another amazing job at turning a story about hardship and strength into something beautiful. Without a doubt, this is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

Product Information

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 02 June 2020

Book Information


Cindy Sproles photoAuthor Information

Cindy Sproles is an author and speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and the cowriter of the popular He Said, She Said Devotions written with her cofounder, Eddie Jones. She is a novelist and best-selling author. Cindy’s devotions and articles are published in Christian newspapers across the eastern seaboard, including having been used to represent legislature for the protection of the elderly. She is a speaker to women’s conferences addressing not only the heart of women but also their biblical responsibilities to their families. As a teacher and speaker for Christian Writers Conferences, Cindy teaches writing skills and how to write placing God in the forefront.  She is a contributing author to and is the Executive Editor for and the Managing Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ imprints: SonRise Devotionals and Straight Street Books. She is a certified life coach and mentor, an eldercare specialist and a special needs advocate. Her book, New Sheets – Thirty Days to Refine You Into the Woman You Can Be is being used to help raise funds for Hope House, an abortion crisis center, and her novel, Mercy’s Rain, is giving a voice to children who suffer sexual child abuse. Cindy is also the coauthor of He Said, She Said – A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion. She is the mother of four adult sons and lives in the mountains of East Tennessee with her husband.

Cindy Sproles’ Website

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