Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Julie's Review: The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

Summary: Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken eleven-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core and setting the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.  With the clear-eyed wisdom that illuminates the most tragic—and triumphant—aspects of human nature, Jenny Wingfield has created an enduring work of fiction. ~amazon.com

Review: Every once in a while there are characters that you aren't going to be able to let go of and this is the case with The Homecoming of Samuel Lake. Even though the book is named after him, for me, Samuel Lake was a secondary character. It was more of what happened to him that spawned what happened to the rest of the family. Although it is typically not just one event that changes the course of lives but multiple events that happen concurrently. You see Samuel is a Preacher and he gets assigned a new church every year because he ruffles too many feathers during that year. But this year, Samuel isn't assigned a church and this throws him for a loop. At the same time, the Moses family, of which Samuel's wife Willadee comes from, experiences their own life changing event; the death of patriarch John Moses. The two events seemingly independent end up throwing the family on a path that would have previously not be taken.

The bones of this book is about family. It's about having faith in the others and finding faith in yourself even when it doesn't seem possible. It is most definitely a coming of age story for the young Lake children. It is about realizing there is evil in the world and to learn how to live life around it.

My favorite characters were the children, Swan, Noble, Bienville and Blade. Coming in a close second was their Uncle Toy. Toy was a man who had never known much happiness until the kids came into his life. This is how he found out what it was like to have unconditional love and to give unconditional love. He ultimately sacrifices himself for the good of the family. This is the part of the book that had my heart in my throat. It is the pivotal moment in the book. It is his decision that will change the Lake family's future.

Kids are resilient, wise and observant. They often see things that adults don't and come to terms with situations much sooner than most adults.

I can't wait to read Ms. Wingfield's next book. She definitely has a gift for creating characters and story telling. If you are looking for a book with some heart and soul to round out your summer, then look no further than The Homecoming of Samuel Lake.

Final Take: 4.75/5

Thanks to Random House for the copy via Early Bird Reads.



Designed 4 You by Sue July 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM  

Julie, I agree. This book was riveting! I read The Homecoming of Samuel Lake in one sitting! Jenny Wingfield is an amazing storyteller. As I hear it, she has a movie coming out as well, by the title "Dead Week". Looking forward to that as well!

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