A Song of Home By Susie Finkbeiner

It just can’t get any better than this! A third book in the Pearl Spence series! Some times when there are installments in books they tend to get watered down and a bit repetitive. Not with Ms. Finkbeiner’s books! Each one exceeds the other!
Pearl and her family have just moved to Michigan to start a new life after surviving the dust bowl and experiencing horrific tragedy. While the beautiful green land and new experiences were wonderful, Pearl and her family found it a huge adjustment in many ways. Although it promised a bright future new troubles lay ahead for all of them.
Mama is struggling with the death of their other daughter Beanie and just can’t seem to move on. Grief consumes her and she ceases to be the ideal loving mom and becomes someone they never dreamed she would. The strong family unit begins to fracture.
Opal, a mulatto housekeeper steps to help Pearl’s Dad with the home and children. Uncle Gus and Aunt Carrie are wonderful to provide the extra love and stability Pearl and Ray so desperately need.
I truly admired Opal. Being half Negro and half white left her not accepted by either race, and with racism at its peak she had a difficult existence. Yet she was a young woman that conducted herself with grace, kindness and character in the face of cruelty. She did an excellent job of taking Mama’s role, but also became a friend to Pearl. Rejection though in greater and different ways was something they both had in common. Pearl by the peers at her new school and Opal by society.
Uncle Gus and Aunt Carrie made me want to move right in with them. The home cooked meals, and open door hospitality drew me in. I was touched by how Aunt Carrie, never having had children of her own, was so sensitive to Pearl’s emotional needs. She was never too busy to stop everything to listen or spend time with her. It was the children’s safe place.
Pearl’s dad, melted my heart. The world needs more dads like him; patient, loving, firm, tender and protecting. He was always a wealth of wisdom and a rock in such difficult times. No matter how bad the situation or how much he was hurting, he gave Pearl the reassurance and hope she needed. The way he always called her, “Darlin” endeared him to me even more. He had great integrity as he treated Opal with equality and respect.
This story is amazing. There were so many lessons. It is filled with incredible forgiveness, showing that true love will outlast even the worst of offenses and new beginnings can be made when there is mercy. Faith in God can have a lasting impact from even a very young age. I loved Meemaw’s teachings and sayings about the Lord that continued to sustain Pearl long after her grandmother’s death. While we might say, “Haven’t they been through enough already? This isn’t fair!” life doesn’t know the words “enough” and “fair”. It isn’t what we face that will make or break us but how we face it. I finally understood Pearl’s homesickness for her ravaged Oklahoma home. It wasn’t the place but the memory of happier times they had shared.
A beautiful beautiful story! You will want to read all 3 books, I promise! To borrow part of a line from Oliver Twist, I would like to say to Ms. Finkbeiner, “Please … may I have more?” I hope there is another sequel to Pearl’s story!!!

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A Trail of Crumbs By Susie Finkbeiner

I was over the moon about Ms. Finkbeiner’s first book, A Cup of Dust, so you can imagine how delighted I was to see the continuing story!
The worst of the Dust Bowl has passed and but the devastation that stands in its wake is overwhelming. The victims are not only dealing with this but also the Great Depression. I honestly do not see how they continued and hung on with so little left.
As if all Pearl and her family had not been through enough, a double tragedy strikes again but in an even more shattering way. The family is forced to leave Oklahoma and move to Michigan and start a new life. I was surprised at how sad they were to leave their home. With nothing left but miles of depressing landscape, it grieved them to leave. You would think they would be ready to go. I do understand Pearls sadness at leaving the family friend Millard. He was a constant and comforting part of her life for as long as she could remember. I had someone like that in my life as a child.
Once again the author captures living history. Not just the facts and details but through the eyes of those that lived it. I love that the story is written from a child’s viewpoint, now 11 year old Pearl Spence. The saying, “out of the mouth of babes”, comes to mind. Nothing is held back and her innocence and honesty paints a true picture.
Once again I love Pearl’s humor. Not that she was trying to be but the simple way a child see’s things and the quirky twist they put on it. I felt such warmth at the closeness of her family and the strong support. It made me happy that she’s has her friend Ray that the family has taken in. They have close bond, without all the boyfriend girlfriend stuff that goes on today with young kids. This book introduces the characters, Gus Seegert, her Dad’s cousin, and his wife Carrie. They generously and lovingly open their home and lives to give Pearl’s family a new start.
At the beginning of the book it gives a short recap of the previous one, so this could be read as a standalone. Trust me; you will want to read the first book as you will not want to miss out on anything! You are an amazing writer Ms. Finkbeiner! If I could give this book more stars I would!
I received a copy of this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising