37 out of 38 reviewers rated The Homecoming of Samuel Lake either 4 or 5 stars - one of our highest rated books ever!
Here's what they have to say:
I didn't just read this book - I inhaled it - devoured it (Sue P)! This novel has it all. A quick, sharp writing style that's softened by the down-home voices of the characters, laugh out loud lines... Oh, and a villain you'll want to take care of with your own two hands. Don't miss this book (Madeline Mora-Summonte)! I loved the story, the characters, the setting... you'll be carried along and won't want to put it down (Martha D). The author's descriptions brought home the hardship of living in difficult and uncertain conditions and the joys of a loving family (Irene M). The novel renewed my belief that the good in humanity can overcome evil (Christine E). Well done, Jenny Wingfield. Well done! (Amber B)
Many enjoyed Wingfield's complex characters and her vivid descriptions of the South:
I feel like I could drive up to the Moses homestead and immediately know everyone sitting around their supper table (Viqui G). Swan, the main character, absolutely charmed me with her spunky imagination, rich insights, and deep empathy (Linda N). I was impressed by the author's ability to make her characters three dimensional. This book made me re-evaluate the definition of family and how our lives can change with just one small adjustment in the wheel of life (Nancy F). It was refreshing to read a novel about Southerners who were interesting people, and not gothic misfits (Kathryn W). The story, set in the lazy summer days of rural Arkansas in the mid '50s, is rich in regional idioms and quirky characters (Linda N). Ms. Wingfield has done a wonderful job capturing the local dialect and putting all the emotion of her characters into words, which gives readers the feeling of being there, rather than just reading about it (Annie P).
And suggested comparisons to other books:
Swan is reminiscent of Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird and Huck in The Adventures of Huck Finn. A wonderful read and a real keeper (Linda N). This novel reminds me of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle in many ways: the rural setting, the practical people, the children, and a good mystery woven throughout the story (Annie P). The Homecoming of Samuel Lake has elements of The Secret Life of Bees, and is highly recommended (Patricia L). This was the best novel I've read in years. It had a similar feel to Leif Enger's Peace Like a River, which I would rank among my top five ever (Amber B).
While others were thrilled by the novel's suspense:
The plot has many twists and turns, which certainly holds a reader's interest (Irene M). As Swan's fate was hanging in the balance, I was holding my breath and couldn't turn the pages fast enough (Ellen S). I found it very hard to put it down, even when my family was complaining of famine in the kitchen and no one to pay attention to them (Annie P).
A couple had reservations about the book but ended up as fans:
At first, I didn't think I would be able to finish reading it. There was just something about the writing style that threw me off. I decided to continue reading, and I'm glad I did (John D). There were times when it was hard to read, yet I could not put the book down (Sarah N).
And many offered suggestions about who should read this book:
This is an excellent selection for readers who enjoy getting to know characters on a personal level (Nancy F). It packs an emotional wallop and, while there is much for a book club to discuss, it is not for youngsters or pre-teens (Nancy A). It's a great pick for Christian book clubs (Barbie R) and is an excellent summer read - especially if you are headed back home for your own family reunion. You are likely to identify someone that reminds you of a member of your own family (Robin W).
This review was originally published in August 2011, and has been updated for the July 2012 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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