Between the cover of the book and the excerpt on the back, I was hooked!
In a desperate time, can Neva find forgiveness for a grievous wrong—and make room for hope? Neva Shilling has a heavy load of responsibility while her husband travels to neighboring communities and sells items from his wagon. In his absence, she faithfully runs the Shilling Mercantile, working to keep their business strong as the Depression takes its toll, and caring for their twins. When a wagon pulls up after supper, Neva and her children rush out—and into the presence of the deputy driving a wagon carrying three young children. The deputy shocks her with the news that Warren and his wife have died, insisting it was their last request that the three children go live with “Aunt Neva.” Neva’s heart is shattered as she realizes that Warren’s month-long travels were excuses for visits with his secret family. She wants nothing more than to forget Warren, but can she abandon these innocent children to an orphanage? Yet if she takes them in, will she ever be able to see them as more than evidence of her husband’s betrayal and love them the way God does?
And the book did not disappoint! It was wonderful! I could not imagine being in Neva’s shoes – grief because her beloved husband was dead; anger because of his complete betrayal; disbelief that he had the audacity in his dying moments to send his other children to her; overwhelmed as she now had 5 children to care for and run the mercantile; and finally, compassion for the sweet, young orphaned children thrust on her. But even as she cares for them, can she forgive the children for being her husband’s other family? And as she adjusts to three more children, can her two teens accept them? Will the townspeople ostracize them all if they learn the truth to the children’s background?
Not only is this a great story with a great background of the Depression, it has a sweet romance, “A recent widow, one with so many uncertainties hanging over her, shouldn’t encourage a man no matter how hard it was to shake her head in refusal.” The author also weaves a mystery and the topic of bullying through the novel. But the heart of the story is one of forgiveness. The minister preaches it, “My dear friends, if you’re here today and are holding on to a wrong, whether bitterness or vengeance or unforgiveness against your neighbor, now is the time for mercy. As you have been given mercy, extend it to those around you. Even if they haven’t asked for it, even if you perceive they’ve done wrong, offer mercy.” Neva lives forgiveness, “but with the minister’s words ringing in her heart – ‘Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful’ – she found the strength to offer mercy instead.” And other characters receive forgiveness and mercy!
I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. Furthermore, I didn’t want it to end! I highly recommend it! I received this book from Blogging for Books in return for my honest opinion.
About the Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer is the highly acclaimed, best-selling author of gentle stories of hope such as When Love Returns and Room for Hope. With more than one million books in print, Kim has garnered numerous awards including the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. She lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband Don. She enjoys travel, quilting, and spending time with her daughters and their families.