What Momma Left Behind By Cindy K. Sproles

I find myself at a loss for words to describe Cindy Sproles books!  She is incredible!  Her books are always on my read list! Her understanding and ability to capture all the aspects of life in the Appalachian Mountains in the late 1890’s breathtakingly real.  Each story, including this one reaches deep inside of you on an emotional level. You aren’t just reading about the characters and their experiences, but living them.

Influenza has struck the small community of Sourwood, Tennessee.  Many many people are dying, but what is worse they are leaving orphaned children alone in a poverty stricken environment. After the death of her father, Worie is thankful to have her mother.  Then tragedy strikes.  She finds her mother dead from suicide. She faces grief and confusion as to why her mother would take her life.  Worie is 19 years old so she isn’t in as dire straits as all the young children left alone. 

Totally unexpectedly the orphans of the area begin showing up at her home seeking help. How can she help them, she hasn’t much?  Yet her loving tender heart moves to do the impossible and take them in. God works through these heart retching events to change Worie’s life and the lives of others around her. 

It rang so true to me that God uses horrible circumstances to turn our trust to Him when there is nowhere else to turn. I loved the wise words friends Ely and Bess; they are ones to remember. I was inspired by Worie’s courage, determination, and willingness to listen to God.  This book is filled with unexpected surprises, mystery, and beautiful examples of the love and help of those around us.  A very emotional but uplifting book.

Softly Blows the Bugle By Jan Drexler

As a fan of Amish fiction I have to say this was a very different book!  The year is 1863 and Elizabeth Kaufman’s husband has died in the Civil War.  Unlike most widows she is not grieved but relieved. She is freed from marriage vows that brought emotional, physical and spiritual pain.  His physical and verbal abusiveness has left their scars.  She is determined never to marry again and risk being put in the same situation.  After the war ends, her brother returns home with a broken and wounded fellow soldier, Aaron Zook.  Solomon Mast suddenly appears in the community, handsome, wealthy, Amish and out to win Elizabeth and marry her A.S.A.P. I didn’t like him from the get go!

I loved the thread that ran through the book of the community’s gentle, patient, faith-filled way of dealing with even the most horrible situations.   There were so many lessons to be learned about how people are not always as they appear.  I felt the struggles of Elizabeth and Aaron with their previous lives and the damage that had been wrought.  While they had very different pasts, both fought healing, forgiving, running from their pain and even God’s plan.  I loved the suspense and surprises along the way.  A great read!

The Dazzle of Diamonds By Liz Johnson

Imagine your heart is shattered when your fiancé calls off the wedding and walks away.  You hurt, cry, then move on and try to forget him.  Perfect plans, right?  UNTIL he shows up at the venue where you are the event manager WITH his NEW bride-to-be!  That’s exactly what happened to Penelope Hunter! 

 A mysterious letter from historical archives appears that puts Tucker’s family past in question.  This could end his chances of being elected Sheriff. A big socialite is threatening PJ’s job by withdrawing a big event if she is seen with Tucker at society affair. Against the odds, Tucker and PJ set off on a mission to find the truth and clear his name. This takes them all the way back to events and items from the Civil war.

The author perfectly captured all the emotions between the characters and how they personally affected the.  I liked as I do in all books that in their difficult times PJ and Tucker sought the Lord.  I especially enjoyed all he historical part of the book and the solving of the mystery!  Very exciting!