During the Great Depression, city-dweller Addie Cowherd dreams of becoming a novelist and offering readers the escape that books had given her during her tragic childhood. When her father loses his job, she is forced to take the only employment she can find—delivering books on horseback to poor coal-mining families in the hills of Kentucky.
But turning a new page will be nearly impossible in Boone’s Hollow, where residents are steeped in superstitions and deeply suspicious of outsiders. Even local Emmett Tharp feels the sting of rejection after returning to the tiny mountain hamlet as the first in his family to graduate college. And as the crippled economy leaves many men jobless, he fears his degree won’t be worth much in a place where most men either work the coal mine or run moonshine.
As Addie also struggles to find her place, she’ll unearth the truth about a decades-old rivalry. But when someone sets out to sabotage the town’s library program, will the culprit chase Addie away or straight into the arms of the only person who can help her put a broken community back together?
Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, the words and opinions below are my own.
Words have power. It doesn’t matter if we’re speaking them, reading them, or writing them. Words can build up and destroy. They can inspire and deflate. They can start wars and end them. Would be writer Addie knows this. Words in books gave her an escape as a child, and now she wants to share them with others. But the absence of certain words spoken by her adoptive parents leads to a shock that upends her life. Then, after taking a job in Boone’s Hollow, she discovers that words can mean the difference between acceptance and exile. How can she turn things around so that words can be used for good?
Maybe it’s me, but it feels like Appalachia has been a popular setting for Christian historical fiction this year. I’ve reviewed a couple of titles, and this is the second I’ve read in as many months set during the time of the Great Depression. Kim Vogel Sawyer’s new novel takes readers into the hills, where poverty, prejudice, discrimination, and other hardships are considered normal, and where outsiders and different ways of living are regarded with suspicion. Every character has a story and depth to them: Addie was adopted, Emmett obtained a college degree and now feels alienated from his father, Bettina dreams of escaping her troubled home, and Nanny Fay’s behavior is a result of previous events in her life. Vogel Sawyer’s genius is in introducing characters in such a way that I formed an opinion before I got to know them and then had to revise that opinion: a perfect example of prejudice at work.
Kim Vogel Sawyer always writes good books and I think I’ve enjoyed almost each one I’ve read over the years. This is no exception. It made me think about how we treat others without being preachy about it. If I’ve one criticism, it’s that I wanted more. Secondary character Bettina, a young woman I disliked at first, is someone I’d enjoy reading more about. I feel she has more to tell, and I’d love for her to get her happy ever after. 4.5 stars.
Publisher: Waterbrook (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
Publication Date: 15 September 2020
Best-selling, award-winning author Kim Vogel Sawyer is highly acclaimed for her “gentle stories of hope.” Readers and reviewers alike are drawn to her books and the life lessons contained within the pages. Kim dreamed of being a writer from her earliest memories, and her little-girl dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer’s Return. Now with over 1.5 million books in print in six different languages, she praises God for blessing her far beyond her imaginings. When Kim isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling with her retired military hubby, quilting, performing in community theater, and spoiling her quiverful of granddarlings.
Kim Vogel Sawyer’s Website https://kimvogelsawyer.com/