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.
Kathryn W. (Beaumont, TX)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was refreshing to read a novel about Southerners who were interesting people, and not gothic misfits. Obviously Ms Wingfield knows the habits of her Methodist characters well and integrates that part of their lives into the development of the story. I think Swan Lake is both brave and delightful.
Ellen S. (Mundelein, IL)
THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book! It reminded me of a cross between To Kill a Mockingbird and Huck Finn. Ras Ballenger is an unbelievably demonic character in this twist on the classic morality tale of good vs. evil. The protagonists simply cannot comprehend the extent of his evil until it is almost too late. As Swan's fate was hanging in the balance, I was holding my breath and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I'm not the most spiritual person by nature, but I closed the book believing in Swan's mice. To me, Toy was a 'Christ' figure; suffering for the sins of others, offering himself up in exchange for their redemption. The conclusion is satisfying, tying up all the loose ends, and leaving you on the perfect note.
Nancy A. (Woodstock, Georgia)
Compelling and Satisfying Read
The story and characters will quietly find their way into your heart, and stay there, as you are drawn along in this tale of a family's love and the astonishing evil they witness that motivates them to act and, ultimately, causes profound changes in their lives, because "once you change one part of a thing, all the other parts begin to shift". This book packs an emotional wallop and, while there is much for a book club to discuss, it is not for youngsters or pre-teens. It has the potential to become a much-loved best seller.
Iris F. (West Bloomfield, MI)
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake
Every once in a while a book comes along that takes you on a ride and touches your very soul. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake has that rare quality. Set in Arkansas in the '50's and beginning with a family reunion, this is a family saga that is rich in character development and plot without ever becoming overbearing or tedious. The characters were interesting and the various plots held my interest through every page. This is a book I will treasure and will enjoy recommending to others.
Irene M. (Ashland, OR)
This novel was a real "page-turner." I finished it in two days. Besides having a very unusual, but memorable cast of characters, (although the father, Ras is somewhat overdone) the plot has many twists and turns, which certainly hold a reader's interest. I'm a city girl and don't know anything about rural Arkansas, but the author's description brought home to me the hardship of living in difficult and uncertain conditions and the joys of a loving family. I certainly look forward to Jenny Wingfield's next novel.