About this book: (from the publisher) In 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.
About the author: (excerpted from her website) Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.
Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with their dog, Thistle. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reading.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: G
How I’d judge this cover: Two thumbs up. Nicely captures the era and atmosphere of the story.
Reminds me of… Linda Nichols’ At the Scent of Water; Carla Stewart’s Chasing Lilacs; Jolina Petersheim’s The Outcast.
Will especially appeal to…women who like Christian fiction with a homespun feel and acknowledgement of the supernatural.
Would I read another by this author? Yes. An author to watch.
This story matters because…it explores the nuances of judgment and acceptance, and how often the hardest forgiveness to extend is that to ourselves.
My take: From page one, I was taken with this debut author’s gentle voice. Her prose is clean and clear, and she has pulled together a host of well-crafted, real-life character, many of whom possess a definite growth edge. Especially Casewell, the main character. (Take note, by the way, that the MC is a man–an unusual choice for a novel of this type, but in this case, a very very good one.)
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While the story itself contains more telling (vs. showing) than I prefer, it also contains many points of beauty. I was particularly impressed by its themes of miracles and vivid portrayals of God’s tender love.
Oh, and did I mention its sweet conclusion? Lovely.
Thanks to Bethany House for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: * I have to remark here on the genre. Set in the ’50s, Miracle in a Dry Season is tagged by the Bethany House as Contemporary. And so it is, technically. Most publishers define Contemporary as any story set after WWII (though some make it the Vietnam War era and beyond). However, I just want to say that this novel has, to me, much more of a historical romance feel than a contemporary fiction one. Which may or may not be important to know.