Sunday, September 11, 2011


Author:  Jenny Wingfield
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  5/5
(absolutely outstanding)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  76

From NetGalley:

Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at "the old home place," 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. The children embrace the reunion as a welcome escape from the prying eyes of their father's congregation; for Willadee it's a precious opportunity to spend time with her mother and father, Calla and John. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core: John's untimely death and, soon after, the loss of Samuel's parish, which set the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.

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 it is Blade Ballenger, a traumatized eight-year-old neighbor, who soon captures Swan's undivided attention. Full of righteous anger, and innocent of the peril facing her and those she loves, Swan makes it her mission to keep the boy safe from his terrifying father.

With characters who spring to life as vividly as if they were members of one's own family, and with the clear-eyed wisdom that illuminates the most tragic-and triumphant-aspects of human nature, Jenny Wingfield emerges as one of the most vital, engaging storytellers writing today. In The Homecoming of Samuel Lake she has created a memorable and lasting work of fiction.

Just finished and just amazed.  I loved this book.  Being that I was reading this eBook on my iPad (bedtime read = little spurts), I wasn't making a lot of progress - until I got to about 1/3 of the way through.  I, then, decided that I simply wanted to read more and zoomed through the remaining 2/3 during the day.  I just couldn't stop.  

The book has so much to offer.  It is filled with a family of terrific characters that in one way or another touch your heart.  You just can't help but let them in.  There is also tension, a bit of quiet mystery, and of course, daily life that is hard to turn away from.  Simply stated:  The Homecoming of Samuel Lake was never dull.  There was continual action of one sort or another, and I had a hard time moving my eyes from my iPad back to the big screen football games.  Now that's impressive!  (Not the Michigan game, though!  All eyes on Michigan!!!  Go Blue!)  This "best read" is now on my list of "must purchase" so I can add it to my personal bookshelves.

My thanks go to Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for sending me this eGalley.

My Random Question:  For those of you that have read this book and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Bradley), what are your thoughts about Swan vs Flavia?  I LOVED Swan and did not care for Flavia at all.  Do you see similarities or are there glaring differences?  Just curious.


  1. I have this netgalley as well so I'm excited to hear how good it is! You know it's great when you want to buy a copy specifically as a keeper for your shelf!

  2. Wow, any book that would keep your eyes from football must be good!!

  3. This sounds like just the kind of book I would enjoy. I have added it to my reading list. Thanks for the review! Annie

  4. Jenny ~ Definitely! :) I look forward to your thoughts.

    Bermudaonion ~ Yes, indeed. I was engrossed for sure.

    Annie Joy ~ There's much more to it than I shared. I hope you get to it and love it.

  5. I bought this in the Borders closeout. After looking at your review, I'm so glad I did!

  6. Tricia ~ What a great purchase! :) I saw it the last time I was in, but didn't buy it. I wonder if there's still a copy waiting for me. I'm going to check tomorrow.

  7. One of my favorite reads this year too. I can't tell you how cool it is that you loved this one as much as I did!!! Hands down...SWAN!!

    Wasn't that game amazing!!??? We were getting out-of-control at my house. State won, Michigan won..the Lions won..right now Michigan rocks!!!

  8. Now that's a heckuva book!

    ps: One of the guys on my crew is a happy Michigan guy today....

  9. Staci ~ Every family member's story was captivating, and I ran the gamut of emotions with them.

    "Out-of-control" could describe us as well! :) Quite a weekend of wins - wonderful!!!

    Vickie ~ Yeah, Michigan is just beaming right now. It feels soooooo good! :)

    I'm reminded (9-11 tributes) that we really do need to rejoice in the good times, because they are not all good.

  10. Tricia ~ Guess what? I got it! Borders had three copies left, and I bought 2 (one for a friend)! :)

  11. Any book you rate a 5/5 goes on my immediate TBR list. I hope to get to this in the coming month. Great review, Joy!

    BTW, I enjoyed The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, but gave up on the 2nd in the series. I was listening to it, though, so it could've been the reader. I doubt I'll bother with anymore in this series.

  12. Les ~ I know you'll like it. I can't wait to see how much! :)

  13. I listened to this last month and am in the process of trying to write my review. I absolutely LOVED it! 5/5. Best book of 2012. Best book since The Help. Fantastic on audio. I need to buy the book!!

    1. Les ~ HOORAY!!! I knew you would like it, but wasn't sure how much. I'm tickled pink that you loved it as much as I did! I bought a copy for myself (HAD to have a hardcover for my shelves as I read it as an eGalley), then bought a couple for friends at the Borders clearance sales. I just gave one of them away a couple of weeks ago, and she still hasn't opened it! I keep telling her to carve out some time and start reading! :) (She's been sewing costumes for a local theater. I think she can forego a costume or two, don't you? Who would notice?) Anyway, I'm so so happy it was a winner for you!

  14. I need to buy a copy, too. Won't wait for the paperback. This one's a keeper!


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