Tag Archives: Susie Finkbeiner

Top 10 Tuesday — Authors I’d Love to Meet

2 Oct

When I started this book blogging gig 9 years ago, I had no idea the great fun it would be. Never did I imagine that I would get to meet favorite authors in person! Can you say fangirl? I have had the pleasure of hosting author meet and greets, attending book events, and interviewing authors, many face to face. So when That Artsy Reader Girl challenged us to list the authors we would love to meet, I already had a list ready. I’ll get to meet some sooner than later — my book club is traveling to meet Lindsey P. Brackett, author of Still Waters, later in the month, and I am finally getting the chance to attend the Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat next spring. Woo hoo!

Make sure to check out That Artsy Reader Girl to discover which authors other bloggers dream of meeting.

 

10 Top Authors I Want to Meet

(all info is taken from the authors’ websites or Goodreads)

Karen Barnett

Fueled by a passion for research and learning, and a secret desire to travel in time, author Karen Barnettcreates historical romances that draw readers deep into a story. She’s fascinated that even though human history is constantly changing, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The point where those two facts collide forms the basis for her writing–finding those moments when an ordinary person brushes up against the eternal.

A graduate of Valparaiso University and Oregon State University, Barnett’s debut novel, Mistaken, was released in 2013 and earned her the Oregon Christian Writers “Writer of Promise” award and a Cascade Award for best historical fiction. She also won the coveted “Writer of the Year” title from the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2016.

Karen spent several years working in outdoor education as a park ranger and naturalist for Mount Rainier National Park and Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park before becoming a stay-at-home mom and professional writer. She spends her free time hiking, taking photographs, dragging her kids through dusty history museums, and decorating crazy birthday cakes.

Karen lives in western Oregon with her husband, two teenagers, and three mischievous dachshunds.

To connect with Karen follow her on Facebook (KarenBarnettAuthor) and Twitter(KarenMBarnett).

Lynn H. Blackburn

I started writing in 2009 and my first book, Covert Justice, was published by Love Inspired Suspense in 2015. Hidden Legacy followed in 2017, and Beneath the Surface, the first book in my Dive Team Investigations series with Revell hits stores in March of 2018. The remaining books in that series will follow in November of 2018 and July of 2019. And hopefully a new series will come after that!

I write romantic suspense for a couple of reasons.

  1. I love romance. Happily ever romance where no matter how hard things have been, two hearts find each other and will cherish each other forever. I believe the reason romance is so popular is because our hearts were made for the Truest Love. No human relationship can ever compare to the eternal and all-consuming love God has for us, but I’m so glad we get to enjoy a little bit of heaven on earth with another person who has committed to stay with us no matter what.
  2. I love suspense. Not because I’m tough, but because I’m a huge chicken! In my books, I can be so much braver than I really am. I can be tough and defeat the bad guys and run into burning buildings. And my characters can wrestle with so many big questions — why God allows bad things to happen and how we can trust Him when it seems like He’s dropped the ball.

When I’m not writing, I lead a crazy busy life! I was born in Hendersonville, North Carolina and still claim the Blue Ridge Mountains as home. But I found my way to Clemson University for engineering school and married my college sweetheart, Brian, as soon as I graduated. We’ve been married for twenty years, have three children—Emma, James, and Drew—and live in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina.

Our daughter, Emma, has Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome and for a lot of years I considered myself to be a “therapy” mom. Having a child with a disability rocked our world, but God was both patient and faithful as we wrestled with our new reality. Being Emma’s mom has changed me in ways I never could have imagined and many things God has taught me about himself find their way into my books. Emma is a joy and a challenge — just like any other teenage girl! She loves her school, her friends, her books, and her electronic devices.

I adore having boys. They are so loud and so fun! James is our deep thinker and sports lover. He regularly asks questions I can’t answer and can tell us football scores from three years ago. We’re pretty sure he’ll make a great lawyer or a sports commentator! Drew is our youngest. He’s our comedian and our warrior child. He keeps us laughing and keeps me praying that God will use him as a champion for truth and justice.

After the boys came along, no one was more surprised (or reluctant) than me to find that God was leading us to homeschool them. I still have no idea how that happened, but I love it and count it a privilege to have them at home with me during this season.

As a family, we’re active in our church, love to read, spend time outdoors, hang out with our extended families, workout at our CrossFit box and cheer for Clemson — Go Tigers!

Lindsey P. Brackett

Award-winning writer, Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own great works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has also published articles and short stories in varying publications. In 2015, she joined Splickety Publishing Group as Editor of Web Content, and in 2017 she migrated over to Firefly Southern Fiction as a general editor. Her popular column, Just Write Life, appears bi-weekly for The Northeast Georgian and weekly in The Elberton Star.

Her love of family ties and southern places prompted her first southern fiction novel, Still Waters, a four-star Romantic Times review being called a “brilliant debut”.

She makes her home at the foothills of Appalachia with her husband and their four rowdy children. They lose library books, brew strong coffee, and quit homeschool.

Contact her on social media or email: lindsbrac@gmail.com.

She’d much rather talk to you than wash the dishes.

Rachel Dylan

Rachel Dylan writes legal thrillers and legal romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. She enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. Rachel writes the Atlanta Justice Series which features strong, female attorneys in Atlanta. Deadly Proof, the first book in the Atlanta Justice series, is a CBA bestseller, a Daphne du Maurier Finalist, a Holt Medallion Finalist, and an FHL Reader’s Choice Award Finalist. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids – two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. She is represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.  You can find Rachel at http://www.racheldylan.com.

Susie Finkbeiner

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).

Her next two novels will release in 2019 and 2020 with Revell Publishing.

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.

Jody Hedlund

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Dani Pettrey

A consummate world traveler: Africa, South America, Australia—been there, done that.

A die-hard thrill seeker: heli-skiing, cave diving, storm kayaking—if it’s extreme, she’s there.

A bullet-dodging, high-speed-car-chasing, treasure-hunting adventurer.

An antiquities theft investigator, FBI agent, archaeologist, forensic anthropologist, and a detective who tracks down justice for a living.

Okay, not really, but her characters are. And, that’s why she loves the passion God has placed in her for telling stories.

In real life, Dani Pettrey is a wife, former homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, son-in-law, and 2 super adorable grandsons.

Just in case you’re curious…The real Dani does love traveling. She’s been to some amazing places (Greece, Hawaii, the Keys) and there are many more she hopes to visit in the future.

And while she’s not quite up to sky-diving, cave diving or heli-skiing (too high, too enclosed, too cold!) she and her family love hiking, canoeing, wave jumping and a ton of other outdoor adventures a little further down on the risk scale.

Jill Eileen Smith

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, and the Loves of King Solomon series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Catherine West

Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children and one beautiful granddaughter. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew). Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com

 

Jaime Jo Wright

If I were to summarize my life in three words, my instinct is to say: “I love coffee”, and leave it at that. But, I realize that is rather shallow and a tad obsessive. So, summarizing who Jaime Jo Wright is can be a challenge.

I love life. I always have. God has blessed me, even in severe trials, such as the loss of three of my babies. He has never failed, never given up, never gone easy on me, and always disciplined me with a loving hand. (and trust me, when you have my personality which pushes boundaries and considers rules to be negotiable, you need discipline). Our ship was joined by a little Tinkerbell in 2009. Our CoCo has tamed the pirate exponentially better than I ever could. Peter Pan came along in 2012 and whisked me away to Neverland where we refuse to grow up and make mischief on a daily basis.

 

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Congratulations 2018 Inspy Award Winners!

2 Jul

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Inspy Awards! This blogger-based award seeks to honor the best in Inspirational fiction, both in the Christian and secular markets. The Inspy Awards are unique in that books are nominated by readers and judged by book bloggers, insuring that not only are these books highly readable, but demonstrate excellence in faith-based writing. If you are looking for a great reading experience, you definitely need to check these out!

2018 Inspy Award Winners 

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

True to You by Becky Wade 

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John’s already dating someone and Nora’s not sure she’s ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

 

Debut Fiction

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano 

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance – and perhaps even her father’s death.

 

General Fiction

A Trail of Crumbs by Susie Finkbeiner

“I believed it would have been a sin to stay inside when God had sent us such fine weather. According to Pastor Ezra Anderson, sin was the reason we’d got in the dusty mess we were in. The way I saw it, that day was God’s way of letting us know He wasn’t mad at us anymore. Just maybe He’d seen fit to forgive us.”

Pearl Spence has been through more in her young life than most folks could handle. But through it all, her family has been by her side. They may not be perfect, but they love her and they all love each other, come what may. That’s one thing Pearl no longer questions.

But the end of her beautiful day signals the beginning of the end of her secure life.

Now her family is fleeing their Oklahoma wasteland. Pearl isn’t sure she’ll ever see home or happiness again. Are there any crumbs powerful enough to guide her back to the dependable life she once knew?

 

Historical Romance

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son . . . especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do — be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

 

Literature for Young Adults

Unraveling by Sara Ella

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about —l ike becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something — or someone — is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections — and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

 

Mystery/Thriller

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Gwen Marcey has done a good job keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here?

No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming — and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, Gwen’s ex-husband is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter.

As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

 

Speculative Fiction

The Divide by Jolina Petersheim

In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole’s Old Order Mennonite community fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it. Since then, Leora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters long enough for everyone to escape. Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder, who has courted her patiently. But she struggles to see herself as the bishop’s wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive and has now joined a local militia.

An unexpected encounter in the woods deepens Leora’s crisis, as does a terrifying new threat that brings Moses’ militia into the community’s shaky alliance with the few Englischers left among them. When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide between having faith and taking action. Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Bookish Baby Names

22 May

Do you ever click on the FB links that promise adorable, unique, vintage, or clever baby names. Yeah, me neither 😉 . Well, maybe sometimes, once in a while, always. I love those click-bait posts and always hope for the best. This week Top 10 Tuesday is talking bookish names, so I came up with my top picks for baby names you just have to use. Most are very unusual and won’t occur ten times on your kids class roll. I have tried to find the meaning of each name; in some cases it is very subjective. Let me know what you think of my picks.

Make sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover more great bookish names.

 

Top 10 Names You Need To Give Your Baby!

Girls

Adisa (the clear one) from A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

Anniston (resurrection) from How Sweet The Sound by Amy K. Sorrells

Aurelie (golden) from Lady Jane Disappears by Joanna Politano Davidson

Fairlight (the fair light of Christ) from Christy by Catherine Marshall

Isola (island) from The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Kaine (tribute) from The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Keturah (fragrance or sacrifice) from Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

Pearl (gem of the sea) from A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner

Persomi (no meaning found) from Child of The River by Irma Joubert

Vienne (life) from A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

 

Boys

Ace (unity) from Out of Circulation by Heather Day Gilbert

Aldric (wise ruler) from A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund

Boone (blessing) from Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble (Boone is the name of my niece’s youngest son)

Dawsey (sweet or pleasant) from The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Noble (illustrious) from Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

Qwill (scribe)  from Gathering The Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

Race (clean shaven) from Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Roman (a citizen of Rome) from The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Ryland (island meadow) from Life on The Porcelain Edge by C. E. Hilbert

Zane (gift from God) from Undercut by Heather Day Gilbert

 

Which one would you choose for your baby?

 

2018 Inspy Shortlists!

2 May

The Inspy Awards, the blogger-based awards program for inspirational books, has announced their 2018 shortlists. Whew! What a great bunch of books! Now it’s in the judges hands, and what a tough job they have. Congrats to all the authors! For more info, check out inspy.com.

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

A New Shade of Summer (Waterfall Press) by Nicole Deese

Then There Was You (Bellbird Press) by Kara Isaac

Jane of Austin (Waterbrook) by Hillary Manton Lodge

True to You (Bethany House) by Becky Wade

Just Look Up (Tyndale) by Courtney Walsh

 

Debut Fiction

 Still Waters (Firefly Southern Fiction) by Lindsey P. Brackett

Freedom’s Ring (Tyndale) by Heidi Chiavaroli

Count Me In (I21 Publishing House) by Mikal Dawn

Lady Jayne Disappears (Revell) by Joanna Davidson Politano

Stars in the Grass (Shiloh Run Press) by Ann Marie Stewart

 

General Fiction

Perennials (Thomas Nelson) by Julie Cantrell

A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (Kregel) by Susie Finkbeiner

Life After (Waterbrook) by Katie Ganshert

The Space Between Words (Thomas Nelson) by Michele Phoenix

The Austen Escape (Thomas Nelson) by Katherine Reay

 

Historical Romance

A Note Yet Unsung (Bethany House) by Tamera Alexander

The Road to Paradise (Waterbrook) by Karen Barnett

Many Sparrows (Waterbrook) by Lori Benton

A Lady in Disguise (Howard) by Sandra Byrd

A Moonbow Night (Revell) by Laura Frantz

 

Literature for Young Adults

The Returning (Tyndale) by Rachelle Dekker

Unraveling (Thomas Nelson) by Sara Ella

For Love and Honor (Zondervan) by Jody Hedlund

The Lost Girl of Astor Street (Blink) by Stephanie Morrill

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (Thomas Nelson) by Mary Weber

 

Mystery/Thriller

The Enoch Effect (Waterfall Press) by Rick Acker

Death at Thorburn Hall (Bethany House) by Julianna Deering

Crown of Souls (Bethany House) by Ronie Kendig

A Portrait of Vengeance (Thomas Nelson) by Carrie Stuart Parks

Imperfect Justice (Thomas Nelson) by Cara Putman

 

Speculative Fiction

Raging Storm (Harvest House) by Vannetta Chapman

The Divide (Tyndale) by Jolina Petersheim

The Beast of Talesend (Indie) by Kyle Robert Schultz

The Girl Who Could See (Indie) by Kara Swanson

King’s Blood (Bethany House) by Jill Williamson

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Favorites of 2018 (So Far)

17 Apr

This week That Artsy Reader Girl of Top 10 Tuesday is letting bloggers have a Freebie. After much thought, I finally settled on sharing the Best Books I’ve Read So Far This Year. The books on this list all were given a Highly Recommended rating by me. Covering a variety of genres, these books offer realistic and endearing characters, are beautifully written, and share messages of hope, healing, and grace. I loved them, and I think you will too. If you have read any of them, let me know if you agree with my assessment.

 

 

 

 Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 (So Far)

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

The Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

On This Foundation by Lynn Austin 

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey

What book is your favorite this year?

Top 10 Tuesday: First Lines

6 Mar

Today I am recycling because that is what busy bloggers do when they are short on time and inspiration! 😉 This week That Artsy Reader Girl is challenging bloggers to list their Top 10 Favorite Book Quotes. I’m a slacker when it comes to keeping a journal filled with the wonderful nuggets I find in the pages of a book. But as I thought about the topic, I couldn’t help but think how it is the first lines that I almost always remember. I haven’t read (or rather re-read) Rebecca in a long while, but I can still quote that memorable first line — Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Another wonderful weekly meme I participate in is First Line Friday hosted by Hoarding Books (their tagline is it’s not HOARDING if it’s BOOKS — great, huh?). It has been lots of fun discovering new books and authors through first lines. So today, I will share some first lines from books that were fabulous reads. I hope that you find your next great book today!

 

Top First Lines

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

Christy by Catherine Marshall 

Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

Rule of Law by Randy Singer

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

Stars in The Grass by Ann Marie Stewart 

 

What’s your favorite book quote?

 

If You Liked Missing Isaac . . .

28 Feb

By The Book read Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse and loved it! This coming-of-age novel set in Alabama of the 1960s, was a quiet novel that had a dramatic backdrop, yet was more about ordinary people’s actions and reactions rather than the headlines of the time. In coming up with a list of books to recommend for further reading, I kept that in mind. Each of the following books are set in turbulent times, but have at their heart people struggling to make sense of the times in which they live and to make a difference in small ways. I hope you enjoy these novels as well.

Child of The River by Irma Joubert

A compelling coming of age story with an unlikely and utterly memorable heroine, Child of the River is a timeless tale of heartbreak and triumph set in South Africa at the dawn of apartheid.

Persomi is young, white, and poor, born the middle child of illiterate sharecroppers on the prosperous Fourie farm in the South African Bushveld. Persomi’s world is extraordinarily small. She has never been to the local village and spends her days absorbed in the rhythms of the natural world around her, escaping the brutality and squalor of her family home through the newspapers and books passed down to her from the main house and through her walks in the nearby mountains.

Persomi’s close relationship with her older brother Gerbrand and her fragile friendship with Boelie Fourie—heir to the Fourie farm and fortune — are her lifeline and her only connection to the outside world. When Gerbrand leaves the farm to fight on the side of the Anglos in WWII and Boelie joins an underground network of Boer nationalists, Persomi’s isolated world is blown wide open. But as her very small world falls apart, bigger dreams become open to her — dreams of an education, a profession, a native country that values justice and equality, and of love. As Persomi navigates the changing world around her — the tragedies of war and the devastating racial strife of her homeland — she finally discovers who she truly is, where she belongs, and why her life — and every life — matters.

The Pearl Spence Trilogy by Susie Finkbeiner

A Cup of Dust 

Where you come from isn’t who you are.

Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff’s family, they’ve got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They’re who the town turns to when there’s a crisis or a need―and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.

Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother’s unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn’t sure she likes.
Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he’s really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won’t be the only thing darkening Pearl’s world.

A Trail of Crumbs

“I believed it would have been a sin to stay inside when God had sent us such fine weather. According to Pastor Ezra Anderson, sin was the reason we’d got in the dusty mess we were in. The way I saw it, that day was God’s way of letting us know He wasn’t mad at us anymore. Just maybe He’d seen fit to forgive us.”

Pearl Spence has been through more in her young life than most folks could handle. But through it all, her family has been by her side. They may not be perfect, but they love her and they all love each other, come what may. That’s one thing Pearl no longer questions.

But the end of her beautiful day signals the beginning of the end of her secure life.

Now her family is fleeing their Oklahoma wasteland. Pearl isn’t sure she’ll ever see home or happiness again. Are there any crumbs powerful enough to guide her back to the dependable life she once knew?

The strong narrative voice of Finkbeiner’s young protagonist from A Cup of Dust returns in this gritty yet hopeful sequel, sure to please her many fans.

A Song of Home

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.

Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

Stunning coming-of-age drama set during the Great Depression and Prohibition

When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.

 Eve can’t wait to leave St. Paul, a notorious haven for gangsters. At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people,” not lawbreakers like so many in her neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven,” Eve soon forms an unlikely friendship with a strange young man named Link, blissfully unaware that her uncle’s lodge is anything but what it seems.

When the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. Does she dare risk everything by exposing the man whose love and generosity is keeping her family from ruin? And when things turn dangerous, can she trust Link in spite of appearances?