Room for Hope. Kim Vogel Sawyer has taken a rather uncommon (at least in my world) occurrence and created a compelling story that rivals anything she has written to date.
The Era: Mid-1930's Depression, when folks don't have a lot of extra money to be spending on things, when hoboes abound because there is no work to be had.
Here's the premise: Neva's husband Warren owns a mercantile in Buffalo Creek, Kansas, and then he goes out and sells goods around the area, picking up more stock in Beloit, Kansas, and coming home every other month to help out in the "brick and mortar" store. While he is away, Warren and Neva's twins, Bud and Belle, help out--Bud in the store, and Belle in the apartment. When the day comes he is supposed to come home, he doesn't show up, but a deputy from another town comes with a wagon load of furniture, three small children, and a note from her husband expecting her to take the children in. The deputy also brings news of Warren's demise.
Twist #1: The children belong to Warren, by his "wife" in the other town. It takes Neva a good, long while to bring herself to accept these children and take them into her heart.
Twist #2: Arthur Randall wants the space Neva's mercantile takes up to expand his furniture emporium. He comes off a bit abrasive and Neva's hackles go up and she gets abrasive right back in his face. (Go, Neva!)
Twist #3: The deputy. Jesse Caudel, who brings the children and furniture to Neva is now the sheriff of Buffalo Creek. Jesse takes an interest in the children, in Neva, and in her black licorice whips.
It seems there is a lot going on in this novel, but it is all necessary movement for the plot. There is no stone left unturned for the story and there are plenty of surprises in store for the reader of this book.
Neva is one woman who lived out her Christian life in a way she hopes will please God. She put out a kettle of all the left-over food after dinner for any of the hoboes who came through town and the hoboes marked her shed with a sign for other hoboes to see. She stood up and told the truth, even when it hurt her, her family, and her husband's other children. She served Thanksgiving dinner to a hobo who stole from her as an act of mercy before he was carted off to jail.
Kim has surpassed her other writings (at least the ones I've read) and written a five star book that should be nominated for some kind of award. I am not sure who is in charge of things like that, but I hope they read my blog and take note.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a hobo sign for a kind lady on your fence post.
WaterBrook Multnomah has provided the galley that I read and required nothing more than my honest opinion. In exchange, I received nothing more than the galley to read. My thanks to WaterBrook for the fine publishing they do.