A Song of Home Review

I love reading. In case you didn’t know that. December was a hectic month for many different reasons, and I found myself falling behind. But…with a vacation starting today at 5:00pm, I’ve got over a week to catch up. How exciting!? To start things off, I’m sharing with you a book by the fabulous Susie Finkbeiner today. Do you know her? She is so sweet. I actually first met her at CFRR earlier this year. I didn’t really know about her before that (I know, gasp and I’m terribly sorry, but making up for it now!), but she was so sweet and a delight to talk to. I wrote down her name and the name of her books and off I went to check out who this sweet woman really was.

Guess what I found out? She’s a wonderful story teller – I know what you’re thinking. DUH! Of course she is. But I also found a powerful story in A Song of Home. It has parts that will touch your heart, make you shake your head, and maybe even grunt. Yes, I said grunt. You’ll know why when you read the book 😉 Thank you Susie for the chance to read this wonderful story! Reader friends, I do hope you’ll check it out if you haven’t already!

About the Book
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Pearl Spence has finally settled into a routine in Bliss, Michigan, far from her home in Red River, Oklahoma. Like all the other kids, she goes to school each day, plays in the woods, and does her chores. But there’s one big difference: Mama is still gone, and doesn’t seem to have a thought for the family she’s left behind.

Escaping from her worries is another part of Pearl’s new routine, whether that’s running to Aunt Carrie’s farm, listening to the radio with Ray, or losing herself in a book. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her favorite place on earth–until she discovers swing dancing. The music transports Pearl to a whole other world.

When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn’t the happy occasion Pearl had imagined. Mama is distant and Pearl can’t figure out how to please her. And the horrible way she treats Daddy is more than Pearl can bear. Seems life would be better if Mama would just stay away.

Finkbeiner’s portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt readers. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won’t be disappointed!

My Perspective

Pearl’s story is full of fun, loss, sorrow, anger, hope, and more. Susie Finkbeiner has done an outstanding job of filling this book with emotions that draw you deep into the storyline. Pearl has so much to endure in her young life, and you can’t help but feel sorry for her at first. But then you read on, and see what a truly strong and amazing young woman she is. Sure she has her faults, but given the circumstances I’d say she did pretty good.

Although I love Pearl, I think my favorite character was Opal. She was a delight to read about and I loved the way she interacted with Pearl, kind of taking her under her wing after Mama left. Their discussions about swing dancing were probably my favorites – just a way to lighten the mood and bring some joy into the storyline. I truly respected her character too. When Mama returns, and (unfortunately) kicks Opal out, she handled it so well. When Pearl came to visit her she did not at all bad mouth anyone, but instead held her head high. She was a fine example of how to act and present yourself.

Although out of order, I am going to go back and check out the first two books in this series. It was such a delight to read and I can’t wait to see how it all started! If you have not read any of Susie’s books, I encourage you to give them a try. Her beautiful writing style will captivate your heart and leave you wanting more!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

Susie Finkbeiner

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it’s a congenital condition, one she’s quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels).

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner’s bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie’s socks off). Pearl’s story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018).

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She’s a junkie. She couldn’t quit if she wanted to.

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