Jenny Wingfield's debut novel The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is a real gem !
Set in rural south Arkansas in the 1950s this story is about the Moses family and when good and evil cross paths and its consequences, but above all else it is about the love courage and struggle of a family and rural live.
I loved the title of this Novel and was intrigued to see where this story was going and Jenny Winfield’s tale really flows from the opening line . ( I really love a novel with a good opening line).“ John Moses couldn’t have chosen a worse day, or a worse way to die, if he planned it for a lifetime”
Samuel Lake is a preacher who has lost his ministry and goes to live with his wife's family in rural Arkansas with their 3 children and the story unfolds from here and we spend the summer with the Moses family and go through happy sad and some cruel times with them.
This is a character driven story and I loved watching those characters develop and come alive, I could feel their emotions throughout the read and I fell in love with Swan, I loved her courage and how she took Blade under her wing, I enjoyed the character of Willadee, such a good person and so quiet and yet so strong. I loved Toy for the way he watched out for the kids and the family and I could go on and on about all the wonderful ( and not so wonderful) characters in this book but think I will leave that for a bookclub discussion.
This is one of those books that made me exclaim out loud, there is a lot of happy times and a lot of sad times throughout this story. Some people may even find this a tough read but it is a terrific story and a real page turner. Jenny Wingfield does not spend time on long descriptive passages she has a story to tell and she just gets on and tells it and what a great story it is.
There is also wit in this Novel and I found myself underlining sentences as I was reading as they had me laughing out loud.
I loved every single thing about The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, from the sweet Southern charm to the likable and dislikeable characters to the sense of time and place.
This is certainly one for my favourites list.