Tag Archives: Great Depression

Book Review + Giveaway: A Song of Home

10 Jan

Pearl Spence has finally settled into a routine in Bliss, Michigan, far from her home in Red River, Oklahoma. Like all the other kids, she goes to school each day, plays in the woods, and does her chores. But there’s one big difference: Mama is still gone, and doesn’t seem to have a thought for the family she’s left behind.

Escaping from her worries is another part of Pearl’s new routine, whether that’s running to Aunt Carrie’s farm, listening to the radio with Ray, or losing herself in a book. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her favorite place on earth–until she discovers swing dancing. The music transports Pearl to a whole other world.

When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn’t the happy occasion Pearl had imagined. Mama is distant and Pearl can’t figure out how to please her. And the horrible way she treats Daddy is more than Pearl can bear. Seems life would be better if Mama would just stay away.

Susie Finkbeiner is a novelist from West Michigan. She is the bestselling author of A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (Kregel, 2015), A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression, and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (Kregel, 2017)

She is also the author of My Mother’s Chamomile (WhiteFire, 2014) and Paint Chips (WhiteFire, 2013).

Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her good friends, and quiet moments to read and write.


My Impressions:

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner speaks to the issue of home and just how tenuous the concept is. Set in the mid-1930s its historical setting is spot-on showing the depth of research undertaken by the author. But its message is universal, making this novel more than just genre fiction. I fell in love with main character, Pearl Spence, in the first book in the series. Her voice is strong in spite of her young age. This third installment is no exception and earns a highly recommended rating from me.

It has been a tough year for Pearl Spence. The death of her older sister, the relocation of her family from dust bowl Oklahoma to the abundant and green Bliss, MI, and the seeming abandonment of her mother impact her inner life and insecurities. Confused by the adult world that continues to influence her life, Pearl copes as best she can, escaping into books and creating stories to work through the situations that surround her. But she never loses her hope that someday home will be real.

A Song of Home is told from the first person perspective of 11 year old Pearl. The language and insights are pure preadolescent, but Pearl has lived through enough trauma to make her older and a bit wiser beyond her years. Pearl’s interactions with family and friends are important in understanding what is happening around her, but it is her introspective voice that adds depth to the novel. Pearl collects stories, images, and beliefs of what a home should look like as she tries to maneuver the ups and downs of life. Finkbeiner created a vivid world in which Pearl lives. Swing music, dances, government relief, and deeply rooted prejudices are important elements in the story.  Most of the issues explored in the book are relevant today, making this novel a good choice for book clubs. Biblical stories and allusions are woven throughout and show the foundation on which Pearl establishes her life — a foundation that sometimes is rocked, but never crumbles. I have loved every book in this series, and A Song of Home is the crowning finale. I am sad about this, because Pearl, Ray, Daddy, Mama, Aunt Carrie, and Bert have become like dear friends. As I finished the last page, I thought how wonderful a book 4 would be, perhaps one set in the early years of WWII. *hint, hint*

A Song of Home really needs to be read as part of a series, so I suggest you begin with A Cup of Dust then progress through A Trail of Crumbs. And because all three are currently available, you will have no trouble binge-reading to your heart’s content and delight!

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)



I have an extra copy of A Song of Home to give away. Just leave a comment to enter. The giveaway runs through 1/24/18.



October Book Club Picks

1 Oct

Both of my book clubs (By The Book and Page Turners) are reading Lisa Wingate‘s latest novel, The Sea Keeper’s Daughters, in October. We got a bit of a sneak peek in September when she joined us for an evening of books and story telling. Have you read this one yet? We would love to know your thoughts.

Unknown-5From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny.

Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything?