My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.
Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor...until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.
Deep and thoughtful writing depicts a simpler time, but with timeless conflicts faced by the community and the individuals in it. There is a heavy focus on themes of judging and the need for forgiveness- of others and self. Casewell has a genuine heart that is seeking for truth as his perceptions shift and he allows his heart to open. Perla is bravely trying to start over and provide for her daughter. There is a sense of desperation that increases with the drought and the division of loyalties, but in the situations where Christ-like love is given and shared, peace prevails until the miracle everyone is praying for comes to pass. A somewhat leisurely pace throughout the whole book, but the insights and reflections call for it.
(Thank you to Bethany House Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)