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Little Faith

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,507 ratings  ·  711 reviews
In this moving new novel from celebrated author Nickolas Butler, a Wisconsin family grapples with the power and limitations of faith when one of their own falls under the influence of a radical church 

Lyle Hovde is at the onset of his golden years, living a mostly content life in rural Wisconsin with his wife, Peg, daughter, Shiloh, and six-year old grandson, Isaac. After
ebook, 336 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Ecco
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Adrienne No sex or violence, but there were a couple F words thrown around unnecessarily, but not gratuitously.

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  3,507 ratings  ·  711 reviews

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Nickolas Butler
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Without a doubt the finest book I'll publish in 2019. ...more
Larry H
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"How do you disagree with someone you love so fiercely?"

By and large, life has been good to Lyle Hovde. While he and his wife, Peg, dealt with the crushing grief of losing their infant son, they had the good fortune of eventually adopting a baby girl, Shiloh.

The teenage years were difficult, and there was a period during which she was estranged from them, but now she has returned home to their rural Wisconsin town with her six-year-old son, Isaac, in tow.

Lyle and Peg are doting grandparents, and
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

This was definitely a story that tugged at my heart. It is based on a true story that happened in my home state of Wisconsin. The information is in the author’s notes at the end of the book. This book was a 4 ½ rounded up to a 5 for amazing character development and descriptive writing.

Oh there were so many things I loved about this book. First off the characters! Lyle is in his golden years and quite happy now that he has his daughter and grandson back in his life. He fills
Diane S ☔
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
One of those quiet books, with some great, well rounded and hard-working characters. The kind of book that gets under your skin and into your heart. Rural Wisconsin, Peg and Lyle, long married, retired, feel fortunate to have an adopted daughter, Shiloh. Their grandson Isaac, eight, a joy in their lives, and when Shiloh moves back home with her son, they are over the moon.

Peg, a firm believer, regular church goer, the complete opposite of her husband, who struggles with believing in a higher po
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

When this book was recommended by Ann Patchett in her newsletter, I knew I had to read it. And am I glad I did! Marialyce and I read this together and it gave us much to discuss and ponder.

Peg and Lyle are a hard-working salt of the earth couple. They live in a small town in rural Wisconsin where everyone knows their neighbor and they help each other out when trouble strikes. They live simple, contented lives. The story is told mainly from Lyle’s POV. As his inner life and struggles ar
This story begins in Spring, goes through the ensuing seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter and back to the following Spring, but wanders back a bit in time, revisiting old memories which helps establish the events that took place in the years before.

”One Mississippi . . . two Mississippi . . . three Mississippi . . . ”

Lyle Hovde counts while his grandson, Isaac, hides tries to find a place to hide in this small cemetery. Lyle, who is ”patient as a dusty cabinet clock in a dining room corner.”

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
It is often difficult to look back upon a life and see all its pitfalls and unhappiness. However, for Lyle Hovde, and his wife Peg their life seems one of contentment. Their daughter, adopted when she was just days old is home again with her six year old son, Issac. The Hovde's had lost their son to illness when he was just a baby so they doted on Issac. It is Issac's grandfather through which this story is mostly told, and he adores Issac. Peg is a religious god fearing woman while Lyle has iss ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

How can it all be random, chance, a beautiful cosmic accident? How?

Here’s a dramatization of what I imagine it would look like if I ever attended a Nickolas Butler meet-n-greet . . . .

Little Faith is only my second experience with this author, but I’m most definitely willing to say damn this fella can write. The story here centers around Lyle and Peg – retirees residing in rural Wisconsin. Their daughter Shiloh has recently r
J.K. Grice
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
There's an old saying that there are two things you never discuss with other people....politics and religion. Sometimes that can be true, even among close friends. Other times it can make for lively conversation between two people. Either way, politics and religion can be touchy subjects to navigate without getting a bit passionate and letting your true colors show. And that's the way it should be. Care as much or as little about either topic and go your own and let live.

That has alw
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family, own, christianity, 2020
”They were different in any number of ways, but they were both kind, and of course, kindness is a great measure of one's ability to befriend and perhaps love other people."

Little Faith opens with the questioning and banter that can only come from a boy of five and his grandfather. Their talk is frank, honest and touched with love because that's where it comes from. After a game of hide and seek in the cemetery, they pause to scrub down a headstone and a large piece of Lyle's (the gra
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Loved it but the ending was a little though there wasn’t an ending.
Jessica Woodbury
A thoughtful entry in the Quiet Midwestern books, pleasantly reminded me of Kent Haruf. But mostly I really enjoyed the look at faith and conflicts because of faith. This is a particular interest of mine, something I'm writing about myself (and why I have a "religion" shelf on goodreads). It's uncommon to see modern fiction really dwell on this topic in a way that feels empathetic.

Lyle has gone to church his whole life though he doesn't consider himself a particularly religious man. But he's fo
I adore this author, even more now than before. After winning his Shotgun Lovesongs out of the blue and then surprisingly loving it, I was excited to find this one on audio. It touches on so many topics I enjoy reading about, the characters are wonderful small town folk, and I thought the audio narrator was pitch perfect. This story could well have been written by the late great Kent Haruf, and I mean that as the highest form of praise for Mr Nickolas Butler. The ending was vague but there are c ...more
Dale Harcombe
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars.
Lyle Hovde lives with his wife Peg in rural Wisconsin. Despite some troubles years up with their adopted daughter Shiloh when she was growing up, Lyle is pleased to have Shiloh back home along with her five year old son Isaac. What does concern Lyle, is her involvement with a church that is far different to the church which Peg and Lyle attend. While Peg has a faith, Lyle mostly goes along out of habit rather than a deep abiding faith of his own. When the pastor at Shiloh’s
No one writes about the Midwest and the people who live there better than Nickolas Butler.
(3.5) Butler follows in Kent Haruf’s footsteps with this quiet story of ordinary Midwestern folk facing a series of small crises. Lyle Hovde worked for an appliance sales and repair shop for 30 years until it closed down. Now in the autumn of his life, he is the only hired help at a local Wisconsin orchard but is more interested in spending time with Isaac, his five-year-old grandson. Lyle has basically been an atheist since he and Peg lost a child in infancy, which makes it all the more ironic ...more
Martie Nees Record
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Genre: Psychological Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: March 5, 2019

This is a story about religious extremism and how it can destroy a family as well as a town. But this is not the loud and angry tale one might expect from such a premise. It’s a quietly and delicately penned. In many ways, Butler’s “Little Faith” reads like “Plainsong,” written by the acclaimed American author Kent Haruf. “”Faith" also has similarities to any novel written by Howard Frank Mosher, a much loved
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 enthusiastic stars

I was already a fan of Nikolas Butler after reading Shotgun Lovesongs, so I came to Little Faith expecting great things and I was not disappointed. Butler writes in a particularly midwestern cadence that feels honest and familiar. Better yet, he offers characters who are true, complicated and full of heart.

"Lyle held Peg’s hand even as he could hear her heart breaking, the way a cracked mirror falls in sharp shards, not all at once, but in that slow avalanche of fractures, so
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, arcs
Fantastic setting. Absolutely GORGEOUS, evocative descriptions of northern-Midwest farmlands, river valleys, fields and streams, and the people who live and love there. The plot itself held my interest and I cared what happened to the characters, but it felt just the littlest bit weak. The underlying concern for Shiloh and Isaac's well-being was there, but it wasn't supported by a strong enough foundation. We had Charlie tell us once why faith healer sects are dangerous, but I really think Lyle ...more
Lyle and wife Pat Hovde live an idyllic life in Wisconsin. Their estranged daughter Shiloh recently moves back home with her six-year old son Isaac. Soon Shiloh is insisting that her parents attend her congregation. Lyle has his doubts about the beliefs and practices of the church. After Isaac becomes gravely ill, Lyle is forbidden to take his grandson to a doctor and is told that God will do the healing. Based on true events, this story tests the boundaries of faith and family. I wished that Ly ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Butler's writing and storytelling. Pretty impressive to have 4 books out and all of them are very good to excellent, imo. Not my favorite of his but not disappointed in any way. ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Harper Collins for this ARC.
4.5 rounded up. This was a quick and very haunting read. Can't tell you how quickly I got invested in these characters. When that happens I always ask myself why. The main story teller is a man but we are in a similar age demographic and have some similar ways of looking at the world. This author himself is younger (More midlife than what I think of as later life--never use the word geriatric) but he does a wonderful job of describing thoughts and concerns
Kate Olson
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WISCONSIN GOLD. I'm a lifelong WI resident and actually live in the very area that Butler writes about in this book, so I may be a bit biased ;-) He does a fabulous job of honoring the Coulee Region and the story is so enveloping that I stayed up WAY past my bedtime reading the entire book in one evening. I remember well the true events that inspired this book, of a family withholding medical care from their diabetic daughter for religious reasons, and I feel Butler honored that situation while ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Butler has a really comfortable style of writing, and amazingly, I liked all of his characters, including the ones that were deemed 'bad'. After all, no one is all bad. And the plot was good-- as far as it went, which seemed to me to be no where. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of bad endings, or in this cases as well as many others, no ending. The story just stopped. OK. So what? This seems to annoy me, but maybe not other readers.

Since he has written another book, acclaimed as a Best Seller, I
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an intriguing story line with significant themes. When the only daughter of a loving couple becomes involved in a Pentecostal church with cult-like qualities, a church whose opposition to professional medical care could endanger their 5 year old grandson, what can they, what should they do? If they confront her, she cuts them out of the life of their grandson. If they don’t confront the situation, they could be unintentionally complicit. The writing was clear and engaging. The character ...more
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
This book will hit you hard and make you think!
Susan (aka Just My Op)
I read about fundamentalist and cult faiths for the same reason I read true crime – I don't understand the minds of the people involved, and I want to. And sadly, sometimes the two intermingle.

This story is different than others I've read because it's about an outsider looking in. A wonderful couple, Lyle and Peg, are losing their much beloved daughter and grandson to a faith healing church with a sketchy pastor, and it's breaking their hearts. But especially Lyle, whose lack of faith makes him
I’ve found a new author to follow! I so enjoyed this book and the writing style of Nickolas Butler. It’s descriptive without being overly so. I can easily picture myself in the scenes of the story, making friends with the characters. Lyle and his wife, Peg lost a child at a young age. They were fortunate to adopt a daughter and eventually have a grandson named Isaac. The relationship between the boy and his Grandpa is so sweet. I was so fond of Lyle’s elderly buddies Hoot & Charlie.
The ending w
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the storyline, but the ending was very disappointing with no closure at all.
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We all have huge TBR lists. One way I have of figuring out how to tame the beast is to only read one book from an author each year. But Butler tricked me! I read Shotgun Lovesongs not too long ago and never realized a newer book of his was climbing up my list unknown.

If I truly believed, I'd say God had it planned that way.

What didn't I love about this book? I loved the characters--grandparents, citizens of a dying town, a precious grandson, a charismatic preacher.

I loved the Wisconsin town on
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Nickolas Butler is the author of the novel "Shotgun Lovesongs" and a collection of short stories entitled, "Beneath the Bonfire".

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, he was educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. His work has appeared in: Ploughshares, The Christian Science Monitor, The Kenyon Review Online, Narr

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