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Pearl Spence is finally getting used to life in Michigan. She's made her peace with the piles of snow that come with winter. She and Ray are making friends and figuring out how to fit in. Pearl has even discovered the library, a place she'd never heard of back in Dust Bowl Oklahoma. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her new favorite place on earth - until she discovers swing dancing.
Now Opal Moon, the family's hired help and an expert in swing, is teaching Pearl the steps to this new style of dance. The sheer fun of the moves and music is a distraction from the fact that Mama is still missing, too caught up in her own grieving to spare a thought for her family.
When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn't a happy occasion. Pearl must decide between forgiveness and bitterness--and when calamity strikes again, there are no easy answers. Finkbeiner's portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt the reader. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won't be disappointed!
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Kregel Publications
|Publication Date: 2017|
Mrs ARS4 Stars Out Of 5Coming HomeJanuary 12, 2018Mrs ARSQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5In this third book of following Pearl Spence's young life, we pick up shortly after the second book left off. Pearl is in a new town, new school, new home, her mother has left the family so the only constants she has is her father and Ray who came with them from Oklahoma to live with them. Pearl has gone through a lot, especially for a young girl. I could understand her wanting to find some happiness and stability after the tragic circumstances of the first two books. I like that she has found a respite in the library and the books she begins to read and in Opal and dancing.
There are some heavy topics in this story and they deal with depression and prejudice. I am glad that Pearl's father, although very hurt by his wife, continues to be a strong steadfast character and though it was not easy for him, he chooses to love and keep his promises and vows to his estranged wife. Mama is not quite the same person she was in the first book. I was sad to see this change in her; however grief has a way of changing people for the good or the bad. I think the author showed a very real picture of the damage that grief, shame, and blame can take on a person's mental health and on their life choices. Sometimes this causes loved ones to ask, where is our loved one and can they come back home?
I found this book, this whole series a thought provoking lyrical tale of a young girl coming of age in less than ideal circumstances. I would really like to see a novel written about Pearl all grown up.
I was provided a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
MoonpiePRYORAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5INCREDIBLE!!January 11, 2018MoonpiePRYORAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5A Song of Home
By Susie Finkbeiner
It just cant get any better than this! A third book in the Pearl Spence series! Some times when there are installments in books they tend to get watered down and a bit repetitive. Not with Ms. Finkbeiners books! Each one exceeds the other!
Pearl and her family have just moved to Michigan to start a new life after surviving the dust bowl and experiencing horrific tragedy. While the beautiful green land and new experiences were wonderful, Pearl and her family found it a huge adjustment in many ways. Although it promised a bright future new troubles lay ahead for all of them.
Mama is struggling with the death of their other daughter Beanie and just cant seem to move on. Grief consumes her and she ceases to be the ideal loving mom and becomes someone they never dreamed she would. The strong family unit begins to fracture.
Opal, a mulatto housekeeper steps to help Pearls Dad with the home and children. Uncle Gus and Aunt Carrie are wonderful to provide the extra love and stability Pearl and Ray so desperately need.
I truly admired Opal. Being half Negro and half white left her not accepted by either race, and with racism at its peak she had a difficult existence. Yet she was a young woman that conducted herself with grace, kindness and character in the face of cruelty. She did an excellent job of taking Mamas role, but also became a friend to Pearl. Rejection though in greater and different ways was something they both had in common. Pearl by the peers at her new school and Opal by society.
Uncle Gus and Aunt Carrie made me want to move right in with them. The home cooked meals, and open door hospitality drew me in. I was touched by how Aunt Carrie, never having had children of her own, was so sensitive to Pearls emotional needs. She was never too busy to stop everything to listen or spend time with her. It was the childrens safe place.
Pearls dad, melted my heart. The world needs more dads like him; patient, loving, firm, tender and protecting. He was always a wealth of wisdom and a rock in such difficult times. No matter how bad the situation or how much he was hurting, he gave Pearl the reassurance and hope she needed. The way he always called her, Darlin endeared him to me even more. He had great integrity as he treated Opal with equality and respect.
This story is amazing. There were so many lessons. It is filled with incredible forgiveness, showing that true love will outlast even the worst of offenses and new beginnings can be made when there is mercy. Faith in God can have a lasting impact from even a very young age. I loved Meemaws teachings and sayings about the Lord that continued to sustain Pearl long after her grandmothers death. While we might say, Havent they been through enough already? This isnt fair! life doesnt know the words enough and fair. It isnt what we face that will make or break us but how we face it. I finally understood Pearls homesickness for her ravaged Oklahoma home. It wasnt the place but the memory of happier times they had shared.
A beautiful beautiful story! You will want to read all 3 books, I promise! To borrow part of a line from Oliver Twist, I would like to say to Ms. Finkbeiner, Please ... may I have more? I hope there is another sequel to Pearls story!!!
I received a copy of this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
MaureenTSyracuse NYGender: female5 Stars Out Of 5FamilyJanuary 11, 2018MaureenTSyracuse NYGender: femaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0A book that concludes this trilogy, but I could keep on reading more about this family. We have come a long way from a kidnapping, dust bowl storm, moving to Wisconsin, and then Mama leaving. Yes, you might want to start at the beginning, and I highly recommend that you do, but this can be read alone, even though I never wanted it to end.
The author helps us to understand the reasons why Mama went away, and we also get to meet prejudice head on, and yet we see those that are full of compassion for all.
Once the final pages are turned you are going to find that this is one of those books that are going to linger with you, and I am already missing being with this family.
I for one cannot wait for more by this author, and will be on the lookout!
I received this book through Kregel Book Blogger Program, and was not required to give a positive review.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5A good novel of tragedy and forgivenessJanuary 10, 2018bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4This is the third in the series following the life of Pearl Spence. This book reads well on its own as the back story is subtly included in this novel. The previous novels are very good so I would suggest they be read to thoroughly enjoy this one.
Finkbeiner continues to create novels with a good understanding of human nature and why people behave the way they do. We see in this novel how Pearl's mother reacts to tragedies that are more than any one person should bare. We also see how people react to the racial tension in Michigan in the 1930s. In the midst of all the turmoil is Pearl, an eleven year old trying to understand all the adults are experiencing.
The main theme of the novel is perhaps best caught by something Aunt Carrie says. "Forgiveness is the hardest gift to give... It can cost us so much." (166) Forgiveness is explored in this novel on many levels.
I do like Finkbeiner's writing style. It has an old time feel to it, like novels actually written in the 1930s. The every day life of Pearl and those around her is well portrayed in an entertaining yet insightful way.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
MillstreetreaderAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A wonderful conclusion to the seriesJanuary 8, 2018MillstreetreaderAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5What makes your home HOME? If you move, when does the new place become home? Is home a place or your immediate family? Do neighbors and neighborhoods matter? Do people outside your immediate family help you maneuver life's ups and downs? What happens when one parent abandons the family? How do you create or maintain home without her? What happens if that parent returns, but isn't really the parent she was before? You will be considering all these questions as you read A SONG OF HOME by Susie Finkbeiner, the third and last novel in Pearl Spence's story which began with A CUP OF DUST and continued in A TRAIL OF CRUMBS.
When I first read A CUP OF DUST, ten year old Pearl's family was struggling to survive the early days of Oklahoma's Dust Bowl. Pearl's father, a law officer could at least put food on the table while others found themselves jobless and homeless. Not since reading GRAPES OF WRATH had I read a book that had me feeling the dust storms to the point I felt grit in my eyes and teeth. Tragedy causes the family to leave Oklahoma and head for better times in Bliss, Michigan, while also giving Pearl's friend Ray a home. A TRAIL OF CRUMBS shows that not everyone can start over again as Pearl, Ray, and Pearl's father settle into life in Michigan while Pearl's mother suffers. When A SONG OF HOME opens we see that almost twelve year-old Pearl, Ray and her father are struggling to keep home "home" after Pearl's mother has run away. Aunt Carrie (actually not Pearl's aunt) and her famous Sunday dinners on the farm provide a much needed spot of security and warmth for all. During the week, Pearl finds herself becoming closer to Opal Moon, the young bi-racial housekeeper who Pearl's dad has hired. Pearl has seen Opal swing dancing and begs the housekeeper to show her how to dance. The dance lessons teach more than steps, though. Pearl also learns about prejudice and Jim Crow attitudes. Then months later, her mother returns, but she is not the mother who nurtured Pearl and her older sister back in Oklahoma. The woman who returns is a shadow, emotionally broken and unable to give the family what they need.
Finkbeiner's narration is so smooth that it will draw you immediately into the story, which seems to be a simple story of a young girl navigating "coming of age" discoveries. Then you start to consider all that is happening around her and you realize that she is confronting some of life's biggest issues. While bigotry, prejudice and abandonment are present in the book, so are wonderful role models, especially Aunt Carrie and her husband and even the town librarian. Like in previous titles, Pearl finds herself captivated by a famous children's book and what she finds in the novel begins to influence how she interprets her own life. Music and the radio also have the same "world-coloring" effect throughout this swing era novel. I can't end this review without mentioning Pearl's father -- what a model of fathering, love, hard work, and forgiveness. He will take a honored place in my favorite literary father category, right next to Atticus of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Whenever I review series books, I always mention the added value of reading the whole series in close succession. How I would have loved to have read Pearl's story all at once from the dust-filled beginning right through to Mama's singing on the last page of book three. Those who read the first two novels a while ago should be encouraged to start all over and follow Pearl through her entire story. Those who have not read any of the books, you are ready for a big reading treasure! Get all three books and enjoy. There is much here for Christian book clubs (and other groups, too) to discuss. It would also be suitable for late teen readers. I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications. All opinions are mine.