Friday, May 19, 2017

Miracle in a Dry Season: A Book Review

Sarah Loudin Thomas was unknown to me before I read Miracle in a Dry Season. Now Ms. Thomas has another fan for life.

The small town of Wise, West Virginia, is much like other towns in 1954--conservative, quiet, gossipy. When Perla Long comes to stay with her aunt and uncle with her little girl, Sadie, she's seeking anonymity and peace. But the rumors follow her like an unwanted dog that tags along and makes messes along the way. Perla has a secret, and the townspeople of Wise are more than willing to not only seek out the truth, or their version of it, but also shame Perla as best they can.

Casewell Phillips is a bachelor who never found a compelling reason to marry and have a family. He wants it, but just never found a woman with whom he was willing to share the rest of his life. When he sees Perla and her little girl, he's drawn to both of them, but senses something in Perla's past that keeps him at his distance.

Perla has an uncanny skill in the kitchen. Not only can she prepare mouth-watering meals with just about any ingredients on hand, she always seems to have more than enough food no matter how many people she's serving. She longs to hide that ability, but a severe drought that summer brings her, her daughter, and her strange ability to the forefront of the town's collective consciousness. Midst the anxiety caused by failing crops, dried-up wells, and dying livestock, the residents divide into two camps: those who appreciate Perla's ability and are grateful for her generous nature and those who think she's a witch. Among them is the town's hellfire and brimstone preacher, Pastor Longbourne, who insists Perla's gift with food can only be from the devil, and her past makes her a harlot.

Not everyone lines up against Perla. Casewell sees her for the gentle soul she is, and finds himself falling in love with both Perla and her precious little girl. Others--the town drunk with a strange past that links him to the spinster twin sisters in town, along with Perla's devoted aunt and uncle are among those who know there's no evil in the young woman. As for Perla herself, she knows she's falling for Casewell Phillips, but also knows she's not good enough for him--at least in her eyes.

Miracle in a Dry Season is a well-written, gentle story of a small town in crisis. I look forward to reading more work from Sarah Loudin Thomas and can heartily recommend this book to all readers.
Add to Technorati Favorites
Bookmark and Share