Publication Date: 10th July 2012 (1st published Jan 2011)
Book Source: Random House & NetGalley
Synopsis: Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at “the old home place,” a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. The children embrace the reunion as a welcome escape from the prying eyes of their father’s congregation; for Willadee it’s a precious opportunity to spend time with her mother and father, Calla and John. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core: John’s untimely death and, soon after, the loss of Samuel’s parish, which set the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.
In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken eleven-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But it is Blade Ballenger, a traumatized eight-year-old neighbor, who soon captures Swan’s undivided attention. Full of righteous anger, and innocent of the peril facing her and those she loves, Swan makes it her mission to keep the boy safe from his terrifying father.
With characters who spring to life as vividly as if they were members of one’s own family, and with the clear-eyed wisdom that illuminates the most tragic—and triumphant—aspects of human nature, Jenny Wingfield emerges as one of the most vital, engaging storytellers writing today. In The Homecoming of Samuel Lake she has created a memorable and lasting work of fiction.
I'm not ready to leave, it can't be over ... this is hands down, without a doubt, my favourite read this year and I can't thank my friend Staci enough for recommending it. You know when you come across a treasure that is too good not to share, a book that you want everyone to read and love just as much as you do. This is that book. To borrow words from The Homecoming of Samuel Lake ... it's "enough to make your heart fill up and burst"
Jenny Wingfield's writing is pure bliss ... it's all warmth and honesty, it filled me with joy, tugged at my heart strings, made my face ache from smiling, it made me sigh and giggle and cry.
The Moses/Lake family; Samuel, Willadee, Calla, Toy, "Moses Never Closes" "Moses honesty" and the irrepressible, sassy, brave Swan ... they marched straight into my heart. I love these people, I don't even want to call them characters, I feel comfortable with them, like I'm home.
just some of my favourite quotes:
Her parents certainly loved God. Swan did, too, she was sure, even though she bent His rules with some degree of regularity, and prayed only When It Was Important. She'd never been one to wear God out with small talk.
Swan said, "This means we're really poor, right?"
"Not really poor. Really poor people don't have enough to eat, and can't afford to go to the doctor when they get sick. There's a difference between being poor and being prudent."
Swan sighed. "I don't suppose there's any way to know how long we'll be prudent is there? Because I'd sure hate to be prudent at Christmas."
"It's hard to believe, but there are people in this world who are low enough" - he paused for emphasis - "sorry enough" - he paused again - "pure pig shit worthless enough to maliciously harm a child."
"Did you know flowers bloom better if you pick them?"
He shook his head solemnly.
"Well, they do. It's like you gave them a compliment, and all of a sudden they start doing everything they can to get another."
Jenny Wingfield doesn't shy away from addressing dark, heartbreaking issues but it's tempered with humour and a charming ambiance. Family, love, faith, hope, miracles and pearls of homespun wisdom that just gladden your heart (as corny as that sounds I swear it's true.) Ok time for me to stop gushing before I give anything away, the delight in this book is experiencing it all, yourself.
The Homecoming Of Samuel Lake has earned a special place in my heart
... keeping illustrious company with the likes of The Help, Best Kept Secret, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, Saving CeeCeeHoneycutt & Eternal On The Water.