The Whispering of the Willows By Tonya Jewel Blessing

The Ashby family lived in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1920’s. This was an area and time of great hardships but the Ashby family had more than most. Their fun loving, happy father that made so many wonderful memories came back from the war a changed man. He was injured in battle and confined to a wheelchair, but the greatest damage was done to his spirit and heart. He had become an angry, bitter and abusive man. Unable to support his family financially, the family cut corners and did all they could. Being a large family there wasn’t a lot to go around.
The story centers around one family member, Emerald age 15. She finished the 8th grade and according to tradition that is the end of her education and her father will choose her spouse. His choice brings harm to his daughter’s life and future. She is victim of horrific violence.
She flees to Aunt Ada, not a relative by blood but by love. Supported by Aunt Ada and her lifelong friend, Ernie, she begins to heal and build a future for herself. I don’t want to say anymore because the book is full of so many surprises and I don’t want to spoil it for the readers.
The superstitions and folklore were fascinating! I loved reading about their simple ways and especially their resourcefulness. The people had so little but never hesitated to help or share with those that had even less. No matter how serious their problems were they were always put aside to reach out to others. What a testimony! Strong Christian faith was predominate and total trust in God was constantly in the forefront of their hearts, no matter how bad the situation. Aunt Ada’s solid biblical advice and sweet spirit made her one of my favorite characters.
Ernie sang hymns when he was found himself in despair or pain. What a wonderful idea rather than wallowing in despair and hopelessness! I found the book inspiring spiritually and very uplifting.
I applaud the author for the delicate way she handled the subjects of death, physical and sexual abuse, showing that through God we can overcome anything! A book you want to read!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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