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"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

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"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Book 277: MIRACLE IN A DRY SEASON Review

Miracle in a Dry Season (Appalachian Blessings #1) by Sarah Loudin Thomas
ISBN: 9780764212253 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781441264114 (ebook)
ASIN: B00GHXRQYC (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers


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.


Being a woman in Appalachia in the 1950s was hard. Being a single woman with a child born out of wedlock is unimaginable, but that is exactly the situation Perla Long is in. Perla knows that she made a mistake and she has sought forgiveness for those mistakes. She regrets her sins but will never regret the birth of her daughter Sadie. Perla left one small West Virginia town to travel to Wise, West Virginia to life with her aunt and her husband. As the newest addition to the town's population, there are people that are way of her. When things become even harder in this town, Perla becomes the convenient scapegoat. 

Ms. Loudin Thomas has followed her novella, Appalachian Serenade, with the first novel in the Appalachian Blessings series, Miracle in a Dry Season. Perla Long and Casewell Phillips are both people of faith. They differ only in that Casewell is held in high esteem in the community and Perla is viewed with hostility, superstition, and fear. With a little help from Perla's daughter, Sadie, Casewell and Perla become good friends. It is only because of this friendship and the support of her aunt and uncle that Perla is able to survive in Wise. When the drought worsens and Perla's gifts of being able to create food to sustain the community becomes questioned, Casewell steps up in support of his new friend. Can people overcome ignorance, superstitions, and fear with tolerance, faith, and love? 

I really enjoyed reading Appalachian Serenade and was eagerly to read Miracle in a Dry Season. I found Appalachian Serenade to be an intriguing inspirational novella that could be enjoyed by people of any faith. This didn't quite hold true for Miracle in a Dry Season. Don't get me wrong, Miracle in a Dry Season is another well-written and intriguing story and yes it can be classified as inspirational, but it is decidedly more Christian in its presentation. Although I enjoy reading books about characters that face day-to-day battles and only survive because of their strong faith, it may be difficult for some non-Christians to read and appreciate a story with a decidedly Christian bent. Does this mean non-Christians can't read Christian fiction? No! It just means that some people may not be able to appreciate that angle of the story. Did I enjoy the story? Yes I did. Will I continue to read this series? Yes I will, simply because Ms. Thomas is an amazing writer and has created characters that are realistic in a setting that is familiar. The people in the Appalachian Blessings series are people that are dealing with poverty with a sense of grace. The community of Wise, West Virginia is one where people may be wary of strangers but they help one another willingly even if means going a little hungry or without sleep. This isn't quite Mayberry with its idyllic charm, but it does bring to mind that type of small town feel. If you want to read a well-written story set in beautiful environment with realistic characters of strong faith and a clean romance, then Miracle in a Dry Season is just that book. I look forward to the next book in this series, Until the Harvest, scheduled to be released in 2015.


Watch Ms. Thomas as she discusses Miracle in a Dry Season:



Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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