Pearl Spence is finally getting used to life in Michigan. She’s made her peace with the piles of snow that come with winter. She and Ray are making friends and figuring out how to fit in. Pearl has even discovered the library, a place she’d never heard of back in Dust Bowl Oklahoma. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her new favorite place on earth— until she discovers swing dancing.
Now Opal Moon, the family’s hired help and an expert in swing, is teaching Pearl the steps to this new style of dance. The sheer fun of the moves and music is a distraction from the fact that Mama is still missing, too caught up in her own grieving to spare a thought for her family.
When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn’t a happy occasion. Pearl must decide between forgiveness and bitterness—and when calamity strikes again, there are no easy answers.
Finkbeiner’s portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt the reader. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won’t be disappointed!
You can find out more about the book and read an excerpt here.
This is the third in the series following the life of Pearl Spence. You can read my review of the previous books: A Cup of Dust and A Trail of Crumbs. This book reads well on its own as the back story is subtly included in this novel. The previous novels are very good so I would suggest they be read to thoroughly enjoy this one.
Finkbeiner continues to create novels with a good understanding of human nature and why people behave the way they do. We see in this novel how Pearl's mother reacts to tragedies that are more than any one person should bare. We also see how people react to the racial tension in Michigan in the 1930s. In the midst of all the turmoil is Pearl, an eleven year old trying to understand all the adults are experiencing.
The main theme of the novel is perhaps best caught by something Aunt Carrie says. “Forgiveness is the hardest gift to give... It can cost us so much.” (166) Forgiveness is explored in this novel on many levels.
I do like Finkbeiner's writing style. It has an old time feel to it, like novels actually written in the 1930s. The every day life of Pearl and those around her is well portrayed in an entertaining yet insightful way.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the Author:
Susie Finkbeiner is a wife, mom, and author from West Michigan. She is an avid blogger (www.susiefinkbeiner.com) and is on the planning committee of the Breathe Christian Writers Conference.
Kregel Publications, 312 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. The "about the book" section was provided by the publisher.