This is a compelling novel. No, there is no suspenseful action that makes you turn pages. Nor is there intense emotion that propels you to the next page. It is just one of those novels that, when you finish, you sigh and say, “That was a good novel.”
The novel centers on Perla, who has come to the town of Wise unwed and with a five year old daughter. The other main character is Casewell, a young man who befriends her. Shortly after Perla arrives, a terrible drought plagues the town. The blame is set squarely on Perla by the local preacher and the town's gossiping citizens.
There is so much to think about in this novel, where do I start?
Perla has a gift from God but others don't understand and call it witchcraft. Perla feels the burden of a misunderstood gift from God. She struggles with being faithful to her gifting, rejecting the harsh words of others. And I am reminded of the times I may have misunderstood God's gifts, especially when they are so different from my own.
Perla is not accepted into the close knit community. She is different and obviously a sinner. I am reminded of the times I may not have accepted someone else because they were “different.”
In the novel the town drunk gives forgiveness easily while the righteous hold on tight. The righteous are quick to judge Perla, too. Her sin is so obvious in the person of her sweet five year old daughter. Judging someone else's obvious sin is so much easier than admitting the well hidden ones we have within.
Yes, there is much to think about in this novel. A good discussion guide is included so this would make a fine choice for reading groups.
The Lord works in mysterious ways. In reading this novel you will be reminded of some of them. And the “miracle in a dry season"? Well, there were so many, I'm not sure which one the author meant.
Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fund-raiser for Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth and Families. She has had free lance articles and poetry published in several magazines. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband live in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more at www.SarahLoudinThomas.com.
Bethany House Publishers, 304 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.