4/18/2015: Yay! I've been watching for this book all week--a perfect Saturday treat for it to land in my mailbox today!
Review to follow... :)
4/20/20154/18/2015: Yay! I've been watching for this book all week--a perfect Saturday treat for it to land in my mailbox today!
Review to follow... :)
4/20/2015: Among Sarah Loudin Thomas's many strengths as a writer is her honest rendering of human beings. Her characters have the same dark and hidden places in their hearts and minds as all the rest of us. It's simultaneously comforting (yay, I'm not the only one!) and alarming (wow, what's ugly on them surely looks no better on me...)
This is one thing that makes Until the Harvest, and indeed the entire Appalachian Blessings series, so addictively readable. The town of Wise, West Virginia is populated with well-intentioned people who are also insecure, full of doubt, and occasionally judgmental and self-justifying in the very same breath. This mirror of humanity makes an apt canvas for grace.
Henry Phillips is in the dead-middle of that awful phase of young adulthood--convinced of his rightness, ignoring wisdom at every opportunity. "I'm 22," he seems to say. "I know what I'm doing."
"And I'm 49/74/90-something," the other characters might reply. "I know what you're doing too, son."
That phase is an especially lousy time to lose a parent. (view spoiler)[Casewell?! Nooooooooo!! (hide spoiler)] With grief clouding his already not-especially-keen judgment, Henry totters on the decision point of what kind of man he's becoming, and he's not too interested in hearing anyone's opinion of what his Dad might have wanted for him or expected of him. He is easily swayed by his sense of obligation, but youth often speeds him through the process of considering his options or examining what is truly necessary or advisable.
Margaret Hoffman manages heartache by funneling it through her hands, creating order where she can in the midst of life's mess. She probably won't sit and pray you through an illness--but she'll bring a casserole and scrub your bathroom while you're laid up. Considering her disappointing relationship with her parents, her younger sister's Type 1 diabetes, and the freckles that make her feel ugly and unlovable, it's not hard to understand how she came by this manager personality.
Margaret is part of a life that will be lost to Henry as he travels farther down a certain road, and there's little or nothing in Henry's chaos that Margaret can organize. And the two of them don't like each other, anyway. Until they do.
And then there's Mayfair--the twelve-year old sister with diabetes and a wonderful and dangerous ability. In Miracle in a Dry Season, Perla had a gift that felt like a curse, and this time around, Mayfair has a gift that comes with a price. I love that this comes through a child, because I believe that children have a capacity for sacrificial love that is harder for adults. Mayfair's part in the story is its essence: (view spoiler)[love is healing. Love heals. (hide spoiler)]
Until the Harvest is a clean read, dealing tactfully with the social character of the Seventies without skirting the kind of trouble a man could find if he went looking for it. The message is clear and well-timed: when any character gets a dose of God's Word in this book, they really, really needed to hear it.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher. My opinions are my own.)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Several times now, I've compared this little book to a pack of gum: small enough to fit in my purse, but up to a good bit of chewing. At least, that iSeveral times now, I've compared this little book to a pack of gum: small enough to fit in my purse, but up to a good bit of chewing. At least, that is my explanation for why it should have taken me upwards of four months to read a book of less than 100 pages.
As with Kathleen Norris' work Acedia & me, this resonated with me in ways and at times that I knew were aligned by God: this thought for this moment in time. I journaled some more personal thoughts on the content privately, but for the purposes of review, it's difficult to rate a book like this one. More than most, I was aware as I read of how what I brought to the reading influenced how I received the author's words. (This is always true, though not always evident.)...more