It is seldom that a book as resonant as Until the Harvest comes along and enriches the readers through the reading. Sarah Loudin Thomas has put together a great novel that really spoke to me. The novel takes place during the mid to late seventies (years I was coming of age, myself), which was a rather turbulent time. The US was still coming out from under the Watergate scandal, Viet Nam had been declared a decided defeat, and the sexual revolution was picking up steam and rolling forward.
Henry Phillips was home from school for the Christmas holidays when his father suddenly dies in his sleep. Henry makes the decision to stay home instead of going back to school. In the process, he gets involved in running moonshine for Clint Simmons. Clint's son, Charlie gets Henry involved in transporting marijuana, without Henry's knowledge of the drug. One of Charlie's escapades lands Henry in trouble thinking he'd gotten a girl pregnant.
Margaret Hoffman is the daughter of a social climber, and works as a housekeeper for Henry's grandmother, Emily. Margaret's mother sees Margaret's work as beneath her and insists that she either move out or quit her job. She will not be held in the contempt of her peers for Margaret's life and work. All Margaret ever wanted was to live on a farm and grow things. With a bit of finagling, Margaret gets her parents to allow her little sister, Mayfair, to come live with her.
Mayfair Hoffman is a tender-hearted young girl who has a special "touch" when it comes to helping others. The only problem is that when she helps someone, it causes a significant drop in her blood sugar and makes her pass out. One incident (with the milk-cow, Bertie) sends her into a diabetic coma and keeps her in the hospital for about a week.
These are just a few of the obstacles Henry and Margaret have to overcome to find that they truly belong together and that they truly love each other.
In reading some of the blurbs about this book, it is the second in a series by Sarah, but I do have to say that this book can and does stand alone quite well. The rural setting and the farming atmosphere is familiar to me and enhanced my enjoyment of the book. To see Henry wake up and take stock of his life is a sparkling gem in this story. The events keep the reader engaged and the characters are compelling. Changes in some of the lesser characters of the book are satisfying and well-thought-out. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, but no moonshine or marijuana.
My thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.