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The Right Kind of Fool

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Thirteen-year-old Loyal Raines is supposed to stay close to home on a hot summer day in 1934. When he slips away for a quick swim in the river and finds a dead body, he wishes he'd obeyed his mother. The ripples caused by his discovery will impact the town of Beverly, West Virginia, in ways no one could have imagined.

The first person those ripples disturb is Loyal's absentee father. When Creed Raines realized his infant son was deaf, he headed for the hills, returning only to help meet his family's basic needs. But when Loyal, now a young teen, stumbles upon a murder it's his father he runs to tell--shaping the words with his hands. As Creed is pulled into the investigation he discovers that what sets his son apart isn't his inability to hear but rather his courage. Longing to reclaim the life he abandoned, Creed will have to do more than help solve a murder if he wants to win his family's hearts again.

384 pages, Paperback

First published November 3, 2020

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About the author

Sarah Loudin Thomas

14 books513 followers
I’m a Christian, wife, fundraiser and writer living near Asheville, NC. I grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV. I used to say “rural WV,” but realized that’s largely redundant. I LOVE my home state and the fact that I’m the seventh generation to grow up on the family farm. My love of the Appalachian Mountains informs my writing. I want you to be as wild about these hazy, blue mountains and the wonderful people who live in them as I am.

I’ve been married for nearly 25 years and I not only love my husband, I really, really like him. We started our journey together with three big dogs–Crockett, Precious and Sammy. We now have one small dog that requires more energy than the first three did together.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 154 reviews
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,031 reviews2,555 followers
April 10, 2022
The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas
Pilar Witherspoon (Narrator)

It's 1934, Beverly, West Virginia, and the Raines family has been fractured for almost ten years. When Loyal Raines was four years old his dad, Creed, did something that he thinks caused his son to become deaf. He and his wife were devastated but handled the situation in different ways. Creed quit his job as sheriff and pulled away from his family and the town until he was eventually living full time, alone, at his cabin in the hills. He still supports his family financially, takes care of things that need to be taken care of in the family home, goes to church and town functions with the family for Delphy and Loyal's sake, and pays for Loyal's deaf boarding school. But he stays apart from his wife Delphy and has never learned to communicate with his son, who is thirteen at the start of the story.

Loyal's mom, Delphy has a rich, but lonely life with her son. Loyal is adept at both sign language and reading lips and Delphy learned sign language, too. Delphy can't help sheltering her son though, because she feels that he is all she has left and she is afraid that he'll not be able to cope out in the world without her protection. Loyal wants to be a normal kid, he wants to go to the school in town rather than be sent to the deaf boarding school every year. He's a smart boy who misses his father and feels like he must have done something wrong for his father to not want to live with him and his mother. He barely remembers being able to hear and he doesn't feel like he's all that different from hearing kids, if only his parents would let him be among hearing kids.

Things change one hot summer day when Loyal finds a man's body. The first person Loyal thinks to tell is to his father, up in the hills. As Loyal tries to "tell" his father about the body, Creed realizes that his son can "talk", that he has a lot to say and that he can communicate if Creed will just pay attention and learn sign language. He had no idea his son could read lips so well, really had no idea of the person his son had grown to be. This wasn't some invalid, someone to be pitied, and Creed begins to see that he really wants to be with his wife and son, if he hasn't damaged his marriage too much for his wife to take him back.

I loved watching Creed work his way back into Delphy and Creed's life. You can see that Creed and Delphy still love each other and want to be with each other but the mountain of hurt Creed much climb to win back Delphy's trust and heart is high. Their verbal give and take and the verbal give and take between Creed and his best friend, the present sheriff of Beverly, are my favorite parts of the story. And then there is Creed's relationship with his son, which barely existed until the tragedy of the dead man. So much happens in this hot summer and Creed doesn't want to mess up this second chance of being a husband and a father, if he can just get things right this time.

Pub November 3rd 2020 by Recorded Books
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 14 books513 followers
February 19, 2020
The day I give one of my own books less than five stars is the day I quit writing! While my stories are never quite as perfect as I want them, I'm always in love with the characters and what they have to share. And while this story is really about a 13-year-old boy who's deaf and how he demonstrates courage, resilience, and love in the midst of a murder investigation . . . my favorite part is Creed and Delphy. I've never felt as though I'm all that good at writing romance--until I wrote about the romance between an estranged couple who are slowly beginning to remember what they love about each other. Oh, this was fun to write! Plus, I've got a little crush on Sheriff Virgil White--bald head and all!
Profile Image for Anna.
1,080 reviews88 followers
September 24, 2022
West Virginia, 1934.
Thirteen year old Loyal Raines has been sheltered by his mother since a childhood disease left him deaf. When he sneaks off one hot summer day to swim in the river one hot summer day and discovers a dead man, his life is forever changed. The impact is also felt by his family and the residents of rural Beverly, West Virginia. Yet from the tragedy also comes healing, new friendships, restored relationships and renewed faith.
A wonderful coming-of-age story that reminds us to look beyond the surface to see the beauty beneath.
Profile Image for Rachel McMillan.
Author 24 books1,018 followers
September 6, 2020
A gorgeous tapestry of words and a cadence recalling Delia Owens,Chris Fabry and Charles Martin inform this character driven piece set in 1930s Appalachia. When a deaf teenager finds a dead body he is unexpectedly reunited with the father who abandoned him and his mother long ago. And as family is reforged so are secrets of a small community exhumed.


More than just a mystery, though the shooting ( inspired by a historic one ) definitely has many tenets to untangle, this is a book of quiet wisdom and of love: a couple reunited, a father learning to love his son through his fears of inadequacy and a love for the still, beautiful land of the ridges and mountains, customs and quirks of small-town West Virginia.


While Loyal and his mother Delphy are lovingly dimensional, this is Creed's story. It takes a talented pen to weave in the compassion needed for this man whose selfish actions in the name of protection drove him away. As it takes the same gift to sew in the grace that Loyal shows his father again and again. In a quiet look, in an exchanged hug, in the slow but sure way that Creed begins to learn his son's new language

Expertly researched, skilled and soft,The Right Kind of Fool winnowed into places this reader hadn't known she wanted to discover and unravel. And like the best kind of books, I will live with these characters now and wonder about them and how their worlds go on and on without me now that I've closed the chapter I was allotted to see of their lives.


Profile Image for Jolene - .
506 reviews13 followers
November 11, 2020
The Right Kind of Fool is the first book I have read by Sarah Loudin Thomas. I am so glad that I gave this story a chance. I fell in love with Loyal, Creed, and Delphy right at the beginning. Not only were the characters highly interesting, but their unique family situation and town culture drew my attention. Add in a murder and my interest was hooked. Even though it took me nearly a week to read through the book, I never lost interest or forgot where I was in the story. Every evening, it felt like a treat when I picked up this novel to read.

Surprisingly, I empathized and identified deeply with Loyal Raines, a deaf teenage boy on the cusp of becoming a man. Both his and his parents’ struggles and character development felt authentic. As their complicated relationships strained and strengthened, I rooted for things to work out for all involved. To my surprise and pleasure, plots twists that felt natural and right kept things fresh. I appreciated the inspiring themes of loyalty, honesty, and overcoming fear that permeated this novel.

I recommend The Right Kind of Fool to readers who enjoy historical fiction driven by relationships possessing tension, growth, and commitment. I found this book fascinating and I look forward to reading more novels by Sarah Loudin Thomas. 5 Stars!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
Profile Image for Paula Shreckhise.
1,051 reviews78 followers
November 5, 2020
“Maybe he didn’t have to be normal. Maybe all he needed to be was the person God made him.”
Loyal is deaf and struggles to fit in with the hearing world. He longs to make his father proud; but his father, Creed, is absent much of the time. Creed feels guilt about the fever that took his son’s ability to hear.
In 1934 West Virginia, this story follows the Raines family as they try to capture what is normal after a man is found shot in the nearby woods.
This was a very easy to read story that pulled me in from the first page. It was underpinned by a Christian World View and told how a young teen found his place in his family and his community. Rich with description of a time gone by, it showed how neighbors interacted and how a boy could make friends by first being a friend.
As with all books by Ms. Thomas, this was well worth the read.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
Profile Image for Jocelyn Green.
Author 28 books1,164 followers
March 3, 2021
What beautiful writing! The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas picked me up out of my armchair during an Iowa winter and plunked me down into a West Virginia summer. I felt the heat and humidity, the dirt beneath my nails as we dug for ginseng plants on the mountain. I loved this story of one family, broken into three pieces, coming back together again. Creed, Delphy, and Loyal each have their own character journeys, and it was a joy to watch them converge. Thirteen year-old Loyal, who is deaf, makes a charming and sympathetic protagonist. I'd highly recommend this for readers who love family stories, Appalachia stories, young protagonists, unique protagonists, or anyone who enjoys historical fiction in general.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,649 reviews69 followers
November 12, 2020
I think I'll start this review with a quote because it reminded me of what my mom uses to say to me all the time I was growing up. And you know what? She was right in more ways than one.
"God doesn't let us get away with anything. He just leaves us to make our own beds and lay in them, whether we like it or not."
In other words God is letting us make our own choices whether bad or good.
I think this saying goes perfect for this story in West Virginia 1934.
Thomas writes this so very well that she made me go all in from the very beginning to the end. Even afterwards these characters won't let you go.
Thomas also writes with precision making her characters seem real especially with Loyal. ( I love this name. It's very unusual. I kept wanting to call him Royal lol)
In my opinion he's the true hero of this novel. I've enjoyed in getting to know him. In some ways, I feel like he's the brother I never had.
Loyal's parents made my heart sing as well...I loved reading about these two and watching the many changes that were happening to them. Well, really the whole family.
I even loved the secondary characters because they were what made this novel so very wonderful. Some people don't like change even if it's for the good. I don't like change. I mean even though I made a decision that was where the quote from the beginning of my review came into play.
I also am thinking that people can be afraid of different or in something they don't understand.
Fear is a major factor and it can drive people to do something they don't normally do..
Well, just wanted the author to know how much I enjoyed this book and spent most the night trying to finish this book. It was such a meaningful and beautiful story. I love the mountain people's
language. I think this what really made the story come alive for me.
I'm giving this title 5 stars.
Reason; the beautiful cover, a story well written, the wonderful characters that came alive for me
and because the author has provided a few snickers throughout the novel.. I like a novel that is serious but yet with a little humor added to it.
Thank you Sarah Thomas for another great story from the mountains! I hope there's more in the future!
I highly recommend this novel.
Really and truly y'all need to read this.
My thanks to Bethany house/Netgalley for a copy of this eBook. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All.opinions are my own
Profile Image for Faye.
1,650 reviews
January 11, 2021
A poignant tale of family, growing up, friendship, and forgiveness.

The summer of 1934, 13 year old Loyal Raines discovers a dead body, disrupting his small town community as accusations fly and tensions rise.

Loyal is a 13 year old boy kept on the outside looking in, deaf from a young age, he can see things that others can't hear. I loved how he grows in confidences and courage under the guidance of a father, and opening his silent world to others by teaching them sign. He is clever and intuitive, eager to please and fit in with the hearing world. One of my favorite parts of this book was his friendship with Rebecca, a girl similar in age who has a speech impediment, I loved how she embraces Loyal as he is, seeing all the things that he can do rather than the things he can't.

The book also follows Loyal's parents Delphy and Creed as they are forced to confront the things that fractured their relationship. I loved how Creed comes to admire his son, as he sees him connecting with others, and courageously protecting his friends and fighting for truth.

This is a beautiful story of family and forgiveness, coming alive against the backdrop of the West Virginia Mountains during the Depression. Loyal is an incredible young man, not shying away from the challenges of the hearing world. Compelling and mysterious, with well developed characters and a grippingly poignant plot, with strong themes of faith, forgiveness and courage. This was well worth the read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader.
1,036 reviews120 followers
November 6, 2020
I get so consumed with Thomas' books. She is one of the few writers that just has a way with words, that pull you in and you get so lost in the book.
This book was set in West Virginia which made it even better. The Characters were some of the best I have read in a while.
I highly recommend this 5 star read and I hope that you grab an extra copy for your best friends stocking.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.
Profile Image for Mimi.
475 reviews55 followers
November 4, 2020
When I was in my 20s I decided to take some sign language classes to see if I even liked them. Oh my word, I LOVED them. Honestly, I had wanted to become an interpreter, but life got in the way. Anyhow, that is really what piqued my interest with The Right Kind of Fool. How does an author pull off a deaf character?

Oh my goodness, Sarah Loudin Thomas pulled it off beautifully! I was incredibly impressed by how she incorporated explanations of the signs (yes, I caught myself doing them as I read). I must overthink things because I thought that to explain the signs it would be too in-depth and clunky. Nope, the author made the signs simple and they fit smoothly into the story.

This was quite a unique story. With Loyal finding a dead body everything changes for him and those he knows. It was incredibly easy to be pulled into the little West Virginia town of Beverly. The way the author wrote the story, you feel as though you've already been part of the town because of how well she writes the relationship of the characters.

There are a lot of facets to the story and so many layers to peel back. With the murder, we follow along as the Sheriff, and what seems like his merry band of misfits, tries to unravel the mystery without all of the pieces. As the reader, we see pieces, but do they lead us to the murderer or away? Not only that, the relationship between Loyal and his father is a fascinating one to watch unfold. Creed has been so hands-off that when he's forced to spend time with Loyal it's interesting to see how he goes about it. And then there's Loyal and, well, everyone else. It seems as though Loyal has been, for the most part, sheltered from the townsfolk. They know him. Know of him. They don't KNOW him though.

When you live in a town as small as Beverly, you know that people have history. Most people know what people are up to and what their past relatives have been up to. There are reputations that come into play and certainly muddy the water on who might be the guilty party.

I also had a huge appreciation for Delphy, Loyal's mom. She learned sign language so they could communicate, sent him to a deaf school, and was for all intents and purposes a single mom. They had an incredibly tight bond so when Creed starts doing fatherly duties after being so distant for many years, I could understand how difficult it was for her. Her desire to keep Loyal safe.

This is going to be one of my favorite books of the year and I'll definitely be suggesting it to my book club for next year since we're taking a break for the next 2 months. I really can't recommend this book enough!

*I am on Sarah's launch team and received this book from her. This is my personal opinion.
Profile Image for Maureen Timerman.
2,751 reviews467 followers
October 20, 2020
I loved this story, a mama bear with her claws out, no a human mother that wants to wrap her thirteen year old son in a tight cocoon, and why? Well, Loyal is deaf, he seems to be brilliant, but because he can't hear his mother protects him constantly. I can see why she is feeling that way, but this boy is now stumbling on manhood, and the first time he spreads his wings, he ends up finding a body.
You will love Loyal's Dad Creed, and see the blooming relationship between father and son, and why now? He feels responsible for the loss of his son's hearing.
This story is rich in small town life, and during a time of revitalization in this country, and greed.
I loved how this boy blooms and spreads his wings, including making friends, and making others see him beyond his disability!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.
Profile Image for Lucy.
872 reviews57 followers
November 10, 2020
This one just worms its way into your heart and stays there. I would have finished it in one setting if I hadn’t just had cataract surgery and had inflammation that kept me from reading much at one time. I’m kind of glad as it gave me a chance to savor the beautiful story and ponder on it. I loved the second chance that Delphy and Creed have at putting their marriage back together and how it is woven seamlessly into the main story of Loyal their deaf son who finds himself stretching and growing after finding a dead body. Adding sweet Rebecca was genius as she added something special to Loyal’s story. The story flows effortlessly like the Tygart River. It was a joy to picture this story as I lived in Beverly in the late 1950’s as a small child. The time, place, and characters all resonated with me. This should be a must read as this author never disappoints and just keeps getting better with each inspiring story she pens. Exceptional read.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,787 reviews98 followers
January 17, 2022
4.5 stars
"Any fool can play a trick. Courage is holding your head high when they do."

Loyal Raines has survived his share of tricks, along with whispers behind his back, over-long stares, and even cruel indifference. A childhood fever took his hearing, but in no way did it affect his ability to communicate if a person truly wanted to hear him out. For years Creed Raines' guilt over his son's disability had driven a wedge right down the middle of Loyal's family, but on a hot summer day Creed was the first person Loyal ran to tell . . . . . . about a dead body.

The murder of an outsider has rocked the small town of Beverly, West Virginia. Creed Raines has been deputized in the search for the killer, and Loyal's knowledge of the case has been erroneously marginalized; no one considers how much he might have seen that day along the river bank, so they haven't even asked. As the investigation takes multiple twists and turns, Loyal is forced to make some of the most difficult decisions of his young life while carrying an underlying desire to make his father proud, and to show both of his parents that he is not a child anymore. Can a tragic event actually become a blessing for a family that so desperately needs restoration?

Blending the nuances of mountain culture with the unshakable truths of honesty and justice, this lovely story merges story and character so perfectly that its readers will want to climb the mountain themselves in order to move from the audience to the stage.

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Susan Snodgrass.
1,980 reviews179 followers
October 13, 2020
'In many ways, God doesn't let us get away with anything. He just leaves us to make our own beds and then lets us lay in 'em.....whether we like it or not.'

Sarah Loudin Thomas's books are so full that they just won't turn you loose until the book is finished. Her first did that to me and they continue to have that affect.

Set in 1934 West Virginia, thirteen year old Loyal Raines, who is deaf, slips away to swim in the river on a hot day even though he's been told to stay home. Then he finds a dead body. His normally absentee father, Creed, tries to help, but the effects of this crime spread throughout the town in an alarming way.

Even though the murder is a central part of this story, what struck me most about it was the powerful emotions between Loyal and his father Creed...the man who thinks he's responsible for Loyal's deafness. The emotions Thomas brings in this story are heart-rich and deep. A captivating read as she takes us through the small town in depression WV and the reader is fully invested in the lives of the characters in the book. I know I was captivated. Well done! Recommended.

*My thanks to Bethany House Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. I received no compensation and the opinion here is entirely my own.
Profile Image for Tamara.
615 reviews12 followers
April 12, 2021
The Right Kind of Fool was exactly the book I needed to read right now. It was about having courage, faith in yourself, and loving those you do not understand. Loyal Raines is a deaf-mute and he along with his father Creed finds a dead man who has been shot twice. Loyal is just like the rest of us trying to find his footing but in the hearing world, and having his dad at his side, and knowing he is seen by him. I really enjoyed getting to know the Raines family there were many facets to this family, their love for each other, and belief in each other. The reconciliation between Delphy and Creed was was full of hope, endearing and so sweet.
Profile Image for Aminata Coote.
Author 14 books27 followers
September 10, 2021
When Loyal was told to stay home, he snuck away to the river and discovers a dead body.

Loyal was a great protagonist. He refused to let his inability to hear prevent him from finding answers to the mystery he found himself in. I found myself empathizing with the character as he considered how to make himself understood to his hearing counterparts.

I loved the characters in this book.  They seemed like people you already know. The woman with the absentee husband who devotes herself to the church, the father who works too hard, the child trying to prove his worth to a parent, the man seeking redemption in the eyes of the people he loves...we get a glimpse into multiple lives as we watch the mystery unfold.

Near the end of the novel, there seemed to have been a rush to wrap the mystery up so the focus could shift to other things.

There was a theme of sacrifice throughout this novel as there were a number of characters who were willing to give up their freedom or happiness to please the people they cared about. It brings to mind the ultimate sacrifice which Jesus made for sinners.

The Right Kind of Fool was a great read. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author.

I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publishers through NetGalley; a positive review was not required.
2,732 reviews1,724 followers
November 11, 2020
Impossible to define and indescribably good. Stunning, really. A plot with so many nuances you'll want to lose yourself in the story and breathe it all in.

There's a mystery -- a murder that needs solving and while that aspect of this novel is fascinating, the real attraction for me was the burgeoning relationship between estranged father and son. Creed has been a largely absentee dad since Loyal became deaf. The journey into his psyche was both fascinating and heartrending. And Loyal, on the cusp of manhood, trying to find his place in a hearing world and desperate to find his father's favor.

Brilliant isn't a strong enough adjective to describe the way the author weaves together all the elements of this plot. Layers of emotion, intrigue and heartbreak. And I haven't even touched on the redemptive healing of Creed's broken marriage.

Once again, Sarah Loudin Thomas has left me in a stupefied state of bibliophile delight.

Postscript: I listened to the audible edition narrated by Pilar Witherspoon and I have to say her rendering of the characters was just as brilliant as the story itself. The perfect marrying of talent to create a truly memorable listening experience.
Profile Image for Connie Saunders.
1,321 reviews90 followers
February 3, 2021
Author Sarah Loudin Thomas kept me totally immersed in this moving look at a family's efforts to do what is best for their hearing-impaired son in 1934 West Virginia. Loyal's mother and father have totally different views about their son and Creed Raines chooses to live alone in the mountains while Delphy and Loyal remain in their Beverly, West Virginia home. A murder in this small town changes all of this and Creed finally realizes that his perceptions of his thirteen-year-old son and his choice to abandon his family have been foolish, to say the least.

I loved the Raines family and the author's beautiful depiction of their emotions. Loyal's desire to simply belong. Delphy's desire to protect him from being hurt by other people that results in her being overprotective. Creed's feelings of guilt and his efforts to stay distanced from his boy. And then, as a tragic mystery enters their lives, Loyal's joy that his father is with him and they are communicating together!

There are so many reasons for me to love this book. A West Virginia setting that is so similar to my own Kentucky roots, the coming-of-age story of an extraordinary young teenager, a husband and wife trying to mend their marriage, and a mystery that kept me fully intrigued. I can't say enough good things about this amazing book and I would love to see it as a movie! I wish I could give it more than 5 Stars!

I received a book from the author and publisher. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.
Profile Image for Monica .
612 reviews45 followers
November 30, 2020
The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas is a sweet read with mystery, drama and a young man's story of coming of age.

Loyal Raines is a young teen who is supposed to stay close to home while his mother is at a meeting. Instead he decides to visit a nearby swimming hole on a hot day--and finds more than a cool dip in the stream. He finds a dead body. This not only shakes him up, but it shakes up his dysfunctional family life more than the fact that he is deaf.

The Right Kind of Fool is a historical fiction book set in the 1930s. This book has a lot to offer the reader in that it has a murder mystery with a few twists and turns. Then there is the drama of a family that has struggled since Loyal became deaf after an illness. Finally, it is a coming of age story that is sweet to read about a young man learning to make his own way in the world. The characters were all interesting and I enjoyed learning about them all. All in all, it is a good read that I enjoyed for all of these aspects. I also liked the spiritual messages that were subtley woven in throughout the story.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions within this review are my own.
Profile Image for Danielle Urban.
Author 15 books133 followers
January 9, 2021
The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas is a beautiful woven story. It features a family torn and separated. A father who made mistakes and is thinking about reconnecting but not knowing how. He misses his wife and child. A wife who misses her husband. No one knows he spends more time on the mountain than with her or their son. A son who is deaf trying to prove to be just as normal as the rest of the kids his age. All three of them are brought together when the son runs across a dead man. From there, father and son reconnect and the emotional vibes were epic. When the parents reconnect there is so much to be said and done before wounds could be healed. Forgiveness, love, and acceptance are the major themes inside this heartfelt read. I could not put this book down. It was sad, funny, and charming all in one. Overall, I recommend this book to all literary fans. This tale is a new classic.

I received this copy from the publisher. This is my voluntary review.
Profile Image for Abigail Harris.
Author 26 books176 followers
November 15, 2020
I'll be honest, I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't this... A powerful novel that sneaked it's way into my heart chapter by chapter.

The Right Kind of Fool is not your everyday murder mystery, no, it is so much better.

The father who didn't know his son, the mother trying to protect her son, and the boy who could no longer hear, each point of view was written in such a way that you will be pulled into a story of learning, reconciliation, hope, and a family's love.

I am so glad I picked up a copy of "The Right Kind of Fool" and it may have wiggled into a top ten favorite books this year...

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Becky.
752 reviews38 followers
December 21, 2020
This is the surprise read of the year for me! From the moment I met 13-year-old Loyal Raines, I was swept into this charming story. It contains family drama, danger, several sweet relationships, and a very intriguing murder mystery.

My absolute favorite aspect of this book is the burgeoning relationship between Loyal and his father Creed. It was so sweet watching them learning to communicate with each other. I also loved the mystery that runs through the story and how it resolved. Overall, this is an excellent read!

Disclosure of material connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Nora St Laurent.
1,360 reviews74 followers
October 24, 2020
This author brilliantly takes readers inside this fourteen-year-old boy’s deaf, mute world as Loyal tries to communicate with the hearing, who think that talking slower and louder will help him understand what they are saying. I felt for him as he is frantic for someone to realize the urgency of the situation.

Parents of special needs children often become estranged and play the blame game. Such is the case with Loyal’s parents Delphy and Creed. Creed used to be sheriff of this small town in Virginia until he ran away to the hills to be alone . Which had his wife Delphy throw herself into learning all she could about how to communicate with her son.

My heart ached for this young boy and his parents as they try to communicate with Loyal to find out what he saw. Loyal seeks out his dad, who finally understands he’s found a body in the woods. After this news spreads to this small community, his parents try to shield Loyal from the town’s ignorance and fear. The author has the characters and this situation spring to life as Loyal and his friends try to piece this puzzle together in hopes of tracking down the killer. My heart hurt for Loyal and his family as they faced this tragedy.

The author tells readers she first got the idea for this story when she learned of a murder that happened in 1932, West Virginia. The person who discovered the body was a young deaf-mute….”From that seed sprouted Loyal – a thirteen-year-old boy who’s deaf but not altogether mute. And he does indeed use American Sign Language, something that must have been an oddity in a small town in 1930s West Virginia.”

This story will have you looking differently at the world around you and how to communicate within our community and to others that are different. I liked how Loyal’s parents realized they had to let their son grow up. They couldn’t protect him from everything in this world (every parent has to learn that lesson).

This book is one that would work well for your book club pick. There is so much to discover in this story. If you haven’t read a book by this author, you’ll definitely want to experience this one.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required 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”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog www.bookfun.org
Profile Image for Adrienne.
1,988 reviews12 followers
October 23, 2020
Oh man, this book! This book! Right from the get-go it totally tugged at my heartstrings. I'm totally a character-driven reader, so if you don't give me good characters, you've lost me. Well, with this book, there are so many characters to absolutely fall in love with. There's 13-year-old Loyal, who is bright and loving and wants to fit in despite being deaf--and who also wants to both make his parents proud and do whatever he can to help them. There's Creed, Loyal's father, who blames himself for Loyal's deafness and has retreated from his family, living and working on a nearby mountain and only visiting his family periodically. There's Delphy, Loyal's mother, who is desperate to protect her son and who wishes her husband would come back while simultaneously wishing she didn't care about him so he couldn't let her down again. It's tough to pick which character to love the most; they all were so REAL and their pain and worries and hopes were so vividly portrayed. Take such beautiful characters and weave them together, and wow, what a great start to a story. I loved reading every single one of their interactions, as the three of them are trying to figure out how to interact with each other. They're all good people who are trying hard so you know it's going to turn out all right in the end, but it was still so touching to read each moment.
So, take amazing characters (I won't get into the secondary characters other than to say they were great, too) and then add in a really interesting plot (I couldn't wait to find out whodunit!) and a setting that is so well-written that you just immediately feel like you've slipped into West Virginia in 1934, and you've got one heck of a book!
This is one of those books that will stick with you. I adored it from start to finish. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year!
I read an ARC provided by the publisher via #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Libby May.
Author 3 books85 followers
November 30, 2020
Hello Treasures! Today I'm reviewing The Right Kind of Fool. This is a story about a young deaf boy and his dad! Let's jump right in. I had a couple of opinions on this story. XD

THE CHARACTERS
Mixed feelings on the characters. I really appreciated Creed and his character development. I appreciated him. I loved his mistakes and his working to fix them. His personality was intriguing. So I liked reading about him.
Delphy, however, was my least favorite in the whole book. She was an entitled needy woman. I think her insecurities were written in the wrong way that they seemed as though she though Creed OWED her all these things in life, and he was a selfish jerk not to have given them to her. I didn't appricate that in her character. I didn't like how she treated Loyal either. He wasn't a baby anymore. She was mean to Creed, and Creed was my fluff muffin.
Loyal was a spoiled child, but he had enough interesting parts to him that he made the story good. He threw too many fits. He got over upset about the littlest things, and he didn't have any self control. His knowledge in sign language and his active mind was good for the plotline.

THE PLOT
The first half of the plot was AWESOME. I got through three quarters of the book in one day. It was so fun! And that plot twist was like WHAT IN THE WORLD? I even told my dad that I had it figured out and there was still too much of the book left.
Unfortunately what proceeded after the plot twist was just meh. The book wouldn't be as good if there hadn't been the plot twist, but I feel like it was written because the author didn't want to write the plot conclusion with the complications it would bring before the plot twist.
The era was super confusing for me too. It was small town, they had cars, but there was only one sheriff, and the government men were buying land from settlers. So I think I'm just not well educated on the era that the author chose, but it felt like an odd mix of facts.

THE CONTENT
There was a murder, but it was not graphic. The murder was not described. There was also a fight and a couple people get shot. Still not graphic. Additionally, although there is no sensual or sexual scenes, Creed and Delphy are married, and he is drawn to her in the way a man is drawn to his wife. It's all sweet and appropriate, but it's there.

IN SUMMARY
I give this story a three and a half star rating. Michael and Rebecca and Sam and Virgil and Earl were all good additions to the story and the plot was good. I think this is gonna be one of those books I didn't love but a couple months from now I'll remember it and want to re-read. The sign language and deaf aspect was well written and handled and I liked that a lot. But quite a few things were a miss for me.

Thank you Sarah Thomas and Bethany House for sending me a copy of this book! A positive review was not required and all opinions were my own.
Profile Image for V. Palmer.
Author 3 books126 followers
November 28, 2020
The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas will startle readers with the quiet intensity of its profound message of hope!

The Right Kind of Fool is an adventure from start to finish! The story follows the three different members of the Raines family. What is possibly the most surprising and the most true to life quality of the story is that it contains a little of everything -- a coming-of-age story in Loyal, a second chance romance in Creed and Delphy's reconciliation, a murder mystery, a stirring historical setting, and an emotive, sensitive look at being deaf and learning ASL in the 1930s. While I can't say the conclusion to the mystery shocked me, I was satisfied with how it ended. Furthermore, I found the differences, similarities, and changes in the investigative process then versus now to be very interesting. However, I was particularly invested in Loyal's struggles and triumphs in addition to Creed and Delphy's reconciliation as these storylines abounded in quietly convicting truths that blossomed into profound messages of hope!

The title is an apt description of the personal journeys of growth on which the Raines family embarks. Loyal, Creed, and even Delphy discover that you can be a fool for a lot of bad reasons, but being a fool for the right reasons is an entirely different -- and altogether beautiful! -- thing! Very rewarding!

Four Stars ~ The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas possesses a quiet, simple beauty in a story overflowing with convicting lessons! The Right Kind of Fool is a standalone, but the author has other books in her backlist for readers to enjoy!

Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Jennia.
247 reviews7 followers
November 29, 2020
When Creed’s son is only four years old, he takes him on a hunting trip that ends with the boy becoming dangerously ill and losing his hearing as a result. Blaming himself, he retreats up the mountain and away from not only his family but from society as well. But when his now thirteen-year-old son, Loyal, discovers a body, Creed instinctively jumps into action not only to protect his son, but to help find the murderer.
The summary on the back of the book makes it sound like the story revolves around a deaf boy struggling to find equal footing among his peers and the citizens of his small town while also dealing with the dangerous repercussions of having possibly witnessed a murder. However, his father, Creed, is just as much the main character, and the reader is invited in to view his internal conflicts. Creed tries to make up for his past decisions, well aware that his suffocating feelings of guilt are what caused his family to fracture. Loyal, true to his name, never faults his father for his previous mistakes and is eager to strengthen their bond.
The murder serves as a catalyst for Creed to pick apart the man he’s become and the man he wants to be. As he spends more time with Loyal and better learns to communicate with him, he truly realizes how much he’s given up out of fear. Likewise, his wife, Delphy, puts aside many of her old grievances for the sake of her son and what’s best for his future.
Beautifully and compelling, this story immediately pulls the reader into Southern small-town life in the 30s. The characters feel like they are straight out of a classic film, their personalities sharpened and true to life while reminding us that our circumstances can shape us, but they don’t have to make us.
Thank you to Bethany House for the complimentary copy. This did not impact my review.
Profile Image for Phyllis.
139 reviews10 followers
July 19, 2022
Loyal Raines was so busy pushing against his mom’s overbearing protection that he stumbles upon a man shot dead by the river. What he doesn’t realize is that what he sees next and goes through during this summer vacation at home will forever change him, his relationships and his future. In fact, all of the primary characters in this story are changed by the events of the summer of 1934.

This coming of age story of a 13 year old boy who sees the world from a non-hearing point of view, is much more than just his story. The multifaceted characters include his mom and dad who have been separated by an emotional past and a fearful present, the mountain folks who would sooner shoot you than ask your name, and the colorful suspects and law enforcement who pop in to pull the story together.

This story reminds me of a Harper Lee novel, with slow paced anecdotes of life in a rural southern town. The investigation can be a bit frustrating for those who are used to more modern thrillers since the clues are given slowly throughout the story but they are well placed to drive the reader on. No one asks the witnesses for their entire account of what they know so many details are uncovered at different parts in the story. This is accurate for the way things were investigated in the 1930s.

Two-thirds of the way through this book, I had no idea where this story would go in the next 100 pages, but loved how it played out to a gratifying ending.

This book is suitable for teens and older with no inappropriate intimate scenes and no bad language. I received this book free of charge in a giveaway, with no expectation of a positive review.
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