Book Review + Giveaway: A Song of Home

10 Jan

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.

Susie Finkbeiner is a novelist from West Michigan. She is the bestselling author of A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (Kregel, 2015), A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression, and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (Kregel, 2017)

She is also the author of My Mother’s Chamomile (WhiteFire, 2014) and Paint Chips (WhiteFire, 2013).

Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her good friends, and quiet moments to read and write.

 

My Impressions:

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner speaks to the issue of home and just how tenuous the concept is. Set in the mid-1930s its historical setting is spot-on showing the depth of research undertaken by the author. But its message is universal, making this novel more than just genre fiction. I fell in love with main character, Pearl Spence, in the first book in the series. Her voice is strong in spite of her young age. This third installment is no exception and earns a highly recommended rating from me.

It has been a tough year for Pearl Spence. The death of her older sister, the relocation of her family from dust bowl Oklahoma to the abundant and green Bliss, MI, and the seeming abandonment of her mother impact her inner life and insecurities. Confused by the adult world that continues to influence her life, Pearl copes as best she can, escaping into books and creating stories to work through the situations that surround her. But she never loses her hope that someday home will be real.

A Song of Home is told from the first person perspective of 11 year old Pearl. The language and insights are pure preadolescent, but Pearl has lived through enough trauma to make her older and a bit wiser beyond her years. Pearl’s interactions with family and friends are important in understanding what is happening around her, but it is her introspective voice that adds depth to the novel. Pearl collects stories, images, and beliefs of what a home should look like as she tries to maneuver the ups and downs of life. Finkbeiner created a vivid world in which Pearl lives. Swing music, dances, government relief, and deeply rooted prejudices are important elements in the story.  Most of the issues explored in the book are relevant today, making this novel a good choice for book clubs. Biblical stories and allusions are woven throughout and show the foundation on which Pearl establishes her life — a foundation that sometimes is rocked, but never crumbles. I have loved every book in this series, and A Song of Home is the crowning finale. I am sad about this, because Pearl, Ray, Daddy, Mama, Aunt Carrie, and Bert have become like dear friends. As I finished the last page, I thought how wonderful a book 4 would be, perhaps one set in the early years of WWII. *hint, hint*

A Song of Home really needs to be read as part of a series, so I suggest you begin with A Cup of Dust then progress through A Trail of Crumbs. And because all three are currently available, you will have no trouble binge-reading to your heart’s content and delight!

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Giveaway!

I have an extra copy of A Song of Home to give away. Just leave a comment to enter. The giveaway runs through 1/24/18.

 

 

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9 Responses to “Book Review + Giveaway: A Song of Home”

  1. Susie Finkbeiner January 10, 2018 at 10:58 am #

    Thank you so much, Beckie! As always, you shared an incredible review and I am grateful!

    Like

  2. Danielle Hammelef January 10, 2018 at 12:28 pm #

    I enjoy reading historical fiction and haven’t read a book set in the 1930’s. This book is set in my home state, so that makes me want to read it even more.

    Like

  3. Burma Turner January 10, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

    I love stories narrated by children. This sounds like a book I would love. Thank you for the chance to win. 🙂

    Like

  4. isisthe12th January 10, 2018 at 6:46 pm #

    A Song of Home sounds like a good read. Thanks for the chance.

    Like

  5. Suzanne Sellner January 10, 2018 at 9:01 pm #

    The reviews of Susie Finkbeiner’s books have been outstanding, so I’m eager to read some of her historical fiction.

    Like

  6. Cheryl Barker January 13, 2018 at 10:39 am #

    Would love to win Susie’s A Song of Home. Need to find out what happens after A Trail of Crumbs! 🙂

    Like

  7. hopeinbrazil January 20, 2018 at 8:38 am #

    I really enjoyed this review. I have Cup of Dust on my Kindle already, so you’ve made me bump it up to the top of my TBR list.

    Like

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