Title: The Whispering of the Willows
Author: Tonya Jewel Blessing
Publisher: Capture Books
“Life in the Ashby family seemed especially hard. Where was God love? Auntie Ada told her once to look at the willows – cuz they even praised God,” Tonya Jewel Blessing writes in her novel, The Whispering of the Willows.
~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-ninety-six-page paperback targets those who enjoy historical Christian fiction involving family dynamics and romance. Using one noun that may be considered profanity and slang words, topics of physical and sexual abuse and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. While each chapter begins with an Appalachian folk belief, the ending has a list of the hymns and folksongs of the story’s era as well as eleven discussion questions.
In this tale set in the 1920s in the rural hills of West Virginia, the large Ashby family struggles often running a hog farm where parents are to be obeyed at all costs, marriages are arranged at young ages for monetary sake, and loyalty runs deep. When an act of violence happens to fourteen-year-old Emie, she has to deal with the life-changing circumstances by standing up, even if it means going against her parents’ wishes. With the help of her loving brother, a wise aunt, a dear friend, and others in the holler, many in her family learn about love versus hate, forgiveness over bitterness, and trusting in Jesus instead of oneself.
~ Why ~
This book forces the reader to consider that God is always with us, no matter the trials and tribulations we go through in life. As Emie deals with one heartbreak after another involving those she loves and herself, she yearns to trust Jesus although she cannot fathom why things keep happening that change her and those around her.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books that have the eternal plan of salvation, learning to trust in Christ only, and old fashioned church hymns may not be interested in this book. Others may not want to read about the struggles of poverty, racism, hatred, and abuse.
~ Who ~
Having written a number of women’s devotionals, Blessing has traveled around the globe as a conference speaker, focusing on helping women. She and her husband currently live in South Africa. This is her first novel.
~ Wish ~
The ending was a little rushed and abrupt. I hope the author has a sequel to the book, explaining what happens next to all the interesting characters she has created.
~ Want ~
If you enjoy a novel that reiterates God is always by our side, you will not want to put down this tear-jerker that shows how one family picked up the pieces and found love after repeated disasters and tragedies.
Thanks to the Book Club Network for this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.
GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.