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The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer

About the Book

Title: The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

A traveling librarian ventures into the mining towns of Kentucky on horseback and rediscovers her passions in this powerful novel from the best-selling author of A Silken Thread.

During the Great Depression, Addie Cowherd dreams of being a novelist and offering readers the escape that books gave her during her tragic childhood. When her adoptive father loses his job, she is forced to leave college and take the only employment she can find–delivering books on horseback to poor coal mining families in the hills of Kentucky.

The small community of Boone’s Hollow is suspicious of outsiders and steeped in superstitions that leave Addie feeling rejected and indignant. Although she finds an unexpected friend in an elderly outcast, the other horseback librarians scorn her determination to befriend Nanny Fay.

Emmett Tharp grew up in the tiny mountain hamlet where most men either work in the coal mine or run moonshine. He’s the first in the community to earn a college degree, and he has big dreams, but witnesses the Depression robbing many young men of their future.

Then someone sets out to sabotage the library program, going so far as to destroy Addie’s novel in progress. Will the saboteur chase Addie and the other librarians away, or will knowledge emerge victorious over prejudice? Is Emmett the local ally that Addie needs–and might their friendship lead to something more?

Inspired by the real WPA program that sent librarians on horseback to deliver books to hill families in Kentucky, Kim Vogel Sawyer immersed herself in Appalachian history to tell this captivating story.

My Impressions

A while back, some polls were taken of Christian fiction readers. Many said their favorite fiction book of all time was Catherine Marshall’s Christy. Now we are blessed with several Christy-like books on the market. Certainly, the Appalachia of times gone by has a nostalgic pull for readers.
Kim Vogel Sawyer’s depiction of the Kentucky hills and her proud, but superstitious people will sate some of the longings to know these people who lived by their own code of honor. It wasn’t enough to live in the hills, one needed to be born and bred in the hills, know the neighbors from birth, and adhere to the superstitions.


In 1936, Addie Cowherd and Emmett Tharp, near strangers, and separate of each other, leave college in Lexington, KY, and attempt to make their respective homes in Boone’s Hollow (pronounced ”Holler” by the mountain folk). Emmett is rejected because of his outside education; Addie, for being a total stranger to an area where being a stranger ”like to as not” can get you shot on sight.
Sawyer shows us throughout the story what life in the mountains could be like. Superstitions run high, distrust of strangers is learned early, family feuds are fed for generations, and anyone stepping off the mountain is seen as a traitor.
Stills hide in the trees, feeding addiction, which then, in turn, feeds abuse, yet neighbors refuse to break the ”code of honor.”


I couldn’t believe that at the end of the story, Ms. Sawyer had me loving the person she had shown unlovable. That’s talent! And those are characters- who can forgive that mightily! So much to learn, more than even reading, from the people of ”Boone Holler.”
My two favorite characters (who like to be too shy to take a bow) would be Emmett’s mother, Damaris, and Nanny Fay. They just might could be the backbone of the mountain.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. I also bought my own copy, to be sure I didn’t miss it. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.
Notable Quotables:
“…yawning during a sermon is most certainly a sin.”
“Just ’cause nobody else knows you done somethin’ extra special don’t mean it ain’t special.”
”She’d cracked that mirror herself so her soul could escape if the mirror captured it, but she didn’t want to take no chances by looking at herself too long.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Award-winning, bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer told her kindergarten teacher that someday people would check out her book in the library. The little-girl dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer’s Return. Kim’s titles now exceed 1.5 million copies and are available in six different languages. A former elementary school teacher, she now enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Kim’s passion lies in writing stories that point the reader to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. When Kim isn’t writing, you’ll find her traveling with her retired military hubby, spoiling her granddarlings, petting the cats, quilting, or–as time allows–participating in community theater. You can learn more about Kim’s writing and speaking ministries at her website, KimVogelSawyer.com. 

BLOG, Favorite, PB, Revell

What Momma Left Behind by Cindy K Sproles

53154863

About the Book

Title: What Momma Left Behind

Author: Cindy K Sproles

Publisher: Revell

Released: June 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Worie Dressar is seventeen years old when influenza and dysentery ravage her Appalachian Mountain community in 1898, leaving behind a growing number of orphaned children with no way to care for themselves. Worie’s mother has been secretly feeding a number of these little ones on Sourwood Mountain. But when she dies suddenly, Worie is left to figure out why and how she was caring for them.

Plagued with two good-for-nothing brothers–one greedy and the other a drunkard–Worie fights to save her home and the orphaned children now in her begrudging care. Along the way, she will discover the beauty of unconditional love and the power of forgiveness as she cares for all of Momma’s children.

Storyteller and popular speaker Cindy K. Sproles pens a tender novel full of sacrifice, heartache, and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

 

My Review

I want this over with. I want things back to the way they was. We didn’t ask for this mess.
And every minute that passes just pours more manure on top of us.” No, this is not
someone present-day talking about the Corona virus. This is 17-year-old Worie Dressar,
who in 1877 has watched both the flu and typhoid decimate her part of Appalachia. Now,
Worie’s mother is gone, and Worie’s faith is put to a fearsome test as 1877 proves to be
the hardest year of her young life.
Why should you pick up this book, what Momma Left Behind, by Cindy K Sproles? First,
it’s amazing to think sometimes that there was another time and place as arduous as this
year (2020) has seemed. There can be something comforting to see someone go through
something- a pandemic and separation from society, no less, and realize it’s possible to
come out alive and more mature on the other side. Oh, but the process!
Then there’s that quaintness about the speech patterns of the mountain people that pulls
you into the story faster than you can say “moonshine.” One example:
“Anger crawled up from the deepest part of me, hurt seeped outta my heart, and fear eat
at me like a hungry buzzard. Momma had left me in more ways than one.”
This novel is very reminiscent of Christy by Catherine Marshall. There’s even a young,
interested preacher. Pastor Jess is such a good complement to Worie. He has such a great
soothing way with people when Worie tends to fly off the handle.
What Momma Left Behind 1
I loved all, no, most, of the secondary characters. But all were well-drawn, even Calvin,
Justice, and deceased Momma.
Ely is a voice to be reckoned with. One part comfort, one part Scripture, one part reproof,
one part encouragement.
The children. They were my undoing.
I never knew what to expect around the bend, be it literal or figurative.
Sproles deftly diffuses more than one molasses-like sticky situation with humor and I
found myself laughing out loud. Sometimes the tears came. But then, I’d think how
strong the mountain women were.
As Momma would say, “Take a day to mourn your lot, then shovel it over your shoulder
and move ahead.”
What Momma Left Behind 2
The values of family, hope, and forgiveness shine above judgment and false self-
perception. You may move beyond this novel, but a piece of Sourwood Mountain will
forever rest in your soul.
Notable Quotables:

“I’d heard folks talk about lightnin striking twice in one place. I reckon it had done struck me twice and then some.”

“Them mountains, they’s like the hills and valleys in our souls. We can’t have one without the other, but we can figure the best way to
climb.”

“I thought trust was something you could find, but I’m seein it ain’t found- it’s gived.”

“…truth ain’t promised to be easy, but it is promised to always be right.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

Cindy Sproles is an author and speaker. She has cofounded ChristianDevotions.us and serves as managing editor for SonRise Books and Straight Street Books, imprints of 214Fl3syn+L._CR0,0,160,160_UX160Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas/Iron Stream Media. Cindy teaches at Christian Writers Conferences and ladies retreats and ladies conferences across the country. Her devotions are heartfelt and honest. Edgy and inviting. Cindy serves as the executive editor of ChristianDevotions.us, a writing mentor, and life-coach.She shares mentoring with best-selling author, Yvonne Lehman at Write Right. Author of four non-fiction books, Cindy’s Fiction debut novel, Mercy’s Rain(Kregel Publishing), was book of the year and her second novel, Liar’s Winter won numerous awards. Cindy’s 3rd Appalachian Novel, Revell Publishing, What Momma Left Behind, releases June 2,2020 She is a contributing author to CBN.com and InspireaFire.com and serves as the director of the Asheville Christian Writers Conference. Visit her at http://www.cindysproles.com or contact her at cindyksproles@gmail.com

Cindy is available for speaking events by contacting her at cindyksproles@gmail.com.