David V. (Wayside, NJ)
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
This book started out with a bang, literally. Based on the beginning I thought it would be an interesting read, but something seemed to be missing. It gave a good depiction of life in rural Arkansas and focused on a somewhat dysfunctional family. Some of the characters were interesting buy many seemed to be part of the plot just to fill gaps in the narrative. One of the characters was particularly well-drawn. He was a truly evil person who another character described as "Satan's stepson". The story moved along but became somewhat boring and predictable. I also felt the title is misleading since, for me, Samuel Lake is a rather minor, under-developed character. The story never really seemed to reach it's potential as an interesting novel.
Regina F. (TOPEKA, KANSAS)
I could hardly put this book down. Wonderful debut book by Jenny Wingfield. Wingfield does a good job of captivating the reader in this tale of good vs evil. This is an emotionally charged book, with several breathtaking moments, and one moment that left me sobbing for thirty minutes (the only time I put the book down). This is some of the best storytelling I've read in years and the book has the potential of becoming a great movie. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
Susan B. (Coventry, RI)
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake
I had mixed feelings about this book until I was about one third of the way through. I felt that it was too quiet for me. but then 'the plot thickens' and it picks up speed and races to the finish. I was breathless when I got to the end. I'm glad that I persevered!
Gayle M. (Billerica, MA)
Enjoyable Summer Read
Reminiscent of 'To Kill a Mockingbird', the book centers on the precocious daughter of the title character. The book starts out slowly, giving the reader time to get to know, and like, the members of the Moses and Lake families. But once the plot takes off, its hard to put the book down. Overall a good read with well developed characters, and a villain that you just love to hate.
Martha D. (Poway, CA)
A Perfect Southern Read
What's not to love about great Southern literature? Especially during the summer. I loved the story, the characters, the setting. Like any really good story I don't want to give too much away. I always think the beauty of a great tale is having it unfold before you page by page. I don't think I'm misspeaking to say you'll be carried along by this story and won't want to put the book down until you're done.
Linda N. (Dallas, TX)
The Homecoming of Swan Lake by Jenny Winfield
The story set in the lazy summer days of rural Arkansas in the mid '50s is rich in regional idioms and quirky characters. Three generations of Moses who abide by the family rules of "no lying, no stealing and no tormenting of animals or small children," find their lives tragically changed only to rise in the end above their challenges with deeper understanding of what it means to love and be loved. Swan, the main character and a young member of the Moses clan, absolutely charmed me with her spunky imagination, rich insights, and deep empathy reminiscent of Scout in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and Huck in THE ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN. A wonderful read and a real keeper.
Nancy F. (carmel, in)
Homecoming of Samuel Lake
I was impressed by the author's ability to make her characters three dimensional, almost as if I was watching a film. Having grown up in the urban east coast , both this setting and period in history, were totally unfamiliar.
I enjoyed this book as it carried me along a character driven story which made me re-evaluate
the definition of family and how our lives can change with just one small adjustment in the wheel of life.
This would be an excellent selection for book club readers who really enjoy getting to know a novel's characters on a personal level.