The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

WOW, what a book!  Jenny Wingfield’s debut novel has all the makings of an instant classic.

From the publisher:

“The story of the Moses clan that gathers, as it always has, on the first Sunday in June, for an annual reunion on the sprawling hundred-acre family farm in Arkansas in the 1950’s. 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. As we follow the family through their own difficulties, Swan will make it her mission to protect Blade Ballenger, a traumatized eight-year-old neighbor, unaware of the peril facing her and those she loves.”

I almost think the title is misleading, it’s not just about Samuel, it’s also about his wife, Willadee, their kids; Noble, Swan and Bienville. Also, Willadee’s mother, Calla; her brother, Toy and his wife, Bernice. Also, central to the story are the neighbors, the Ballenger’s.  So many rich characters that just bring life to the story. You will fall in love with them, cry for them and laugh with them. This book will stay with you for a long time after reading it. I highly recommend this book.

 

The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain

This story is about moms, daughters, sisters and friends.

From GoodReads:

“Dear Anna,

What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I’m so sorry…

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle’s suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle, —her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family —described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn’t know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle’s friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives— and the life of a desperate stranger —with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.”

I flew through this book. I thought it was well written and had revelation after revelation. It kept you wanting to read more, right up to the end. The characters became more complex as the story unfolded and just when you think you understand…bam…not what you thought.  I definitely recommend this.