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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.
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.
Linda N. (Dallas, TX)
The Homecoming of Swan Lake by Jenny Winfield
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.
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.
Jeanne M. (Vancouver, WA)
You Can't Go Home Again
"The Homecoming of Samuel Lake" is a well told family tale with characters I came to care about; what will happen to each of them?; how will their individual lives impact the other family members?
John D. (Garland, TX)
Worth a read
Tom Wolfe once stated "You can't go home again," and while this is not true literally, it is true in the sense that things will not be the same.
In this "homecoming" nothing stays the same, but is ever changing. I enjoyed reading the changes which made the book interesting and engaging.
At first, I didn't think I would be able to finish reading this book. There was just something about the writing style that threw me off. I decided to continue reading and I'm glad I did. The best part of the book is the likeable (for the most part) characters encountered along the way plus the fact that I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. Its not a great book but it is worth a read.