It’s 1954 and Perla Long’s arrival in the small town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.
Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor…until he meets Perla. She’s everything he’s sought in a woman, but he can’t get past the sense that she’s hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla’s unique way with food brings both gratitude and condemnation, placing the pair in the middle of a maelstrom of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.
Perla smiled and began to walk again. “But if you can see your way clear to accept me as I am, maybe others will, too.” She glanced at him, a faint twinkle in her eyes. “When I first arrived here, I heard you described as a pillar in the community.”
Casewell felt his face burn hotter. But this time what he felt was more shame than anything. When she’d first arrived, he would have agreed with her, but now…
“No more than you’re really an angel, I guess. Folks are mighty quick to slap labels on people around here.”
“I think it makes them feel safer.” Perla glanced up at the stars beginning to show. “People like to know where they fit, and it’s easier to find your own place if everyone else is safely in theirs.”
They walked the rest of the way to the Thornton’s in silence. Casewell stopped at the bottom of the steps and watched Perla make her way up onto the porch. She turned at the top to wish Casewell a good-night. The light from inside the house cast a halo around Perla’s hair, and Casewell had to smile. She might not be an angel, but she couldn’t help looking like one.
She seemed to hesitate, then spoke. “Thank you, Casewell. I felt like maybe you judged me harshly after I told you about Sadie. Somehow, after this evening, I feel, well, I guess I feel like you’ve forgiven me. Like you’re not going to hold my sins against me anymore. I appreciate that.”
Before Casewell could reply, she turned and disappeared inside the house.
Publisher: Bethany House, 2014
My Review ~ Candice Sue Patterson
This story took my breath away. From the very beginning, the author pulled me into the story, the setting of the Appalachian Mountains, and the raw, real characters became as dear to me as family. I loved how the book was told mostly from the hero’s point of view. This was his story. And his journey of discovering how to forgive and love others through Christ gripped my heart—shown in ways unique to other Christian fiction books I’ve read with similar themes.
The book’s cover fit the tone of the story perfectly.
Sarah’s debut novel is brilliant. Her writing is simple yet beautifully poetic with phrases like, “All too often sorrow and joy come skipping into your life holding hands.” I look forward to what she brings next.
Don’t miss Sarah’s free e-novella Appalachian Serenade featuring Delilah and Robert Thornton, and introducing Perla and Casewell.
Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, releases August 2014 through Bethany House. Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.
A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.
Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle–the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reading.
For more on Sarah and her books visit www.SarahLoudinThomas.com