Also by this author: The Sowing Season, Where the Blue Sky Begins
Published by Bethany House Publishers on October 6, 2020
Genres: Christian, Fiction
After he's forced to sell the family farm he's labored on his whole life, 63-year-old Gerrit Laninga doesn't know what to do with himself. He sacrificed everything for the land--his time, his health, his family--with nothing to show for it but bitterness, regret, and two grown children who want nothing to do with him.
Fifteen-year-old Rae Walters has growing doubts and fears about The Plan--the detailed blueprint for high school that will help her follow in her lawyer father's footsteps. She's always been committed to The Plan, but now that the pressure to succeed is building, what was supposed to unite her family in purpose, may end up tearing it apart.
When their paths cross just as they each need a friend the most, Gerrit's and Rae's lives begin to change in unexpected ways. Can they discover together what really matters in life and learn it's never too late for a second chance?
As I close this book, and lay it down, I’m left sitting here in awe and amazement. I’ll be honest, I only chose to read this book because I kept hearing glowing recommendations. The cover…well, it just didn’t really grab me. The book synopsis, though, did have appeal.
Anyway…I am SO glad I decided to read it. It’s a debut novel, but it really just blew me away. Katie Poyner completely managed to capture some excellent character voices. A sixty something, slightly crusty old man, a fifteen year old girl, and their unlikely friendship.
One reason this story really gripped me is because of my own marriage. My hubby and I have been married almost twenty years, and once you’ve been married for a long time, you just really realize the ups and downs that are in every marriage. You’ve got to be determined that you are in it for the long haul, no matter what, or escape seems inevitable.
Gerrit and his wife Hannie obviously have had some marriage issues. Lack of communication, almost no time together, and of course, more things not readily seen at a glance. Gerrit is such a realistic, and completely relatable character. Even though I almost didn’t like him at the beginning, I really appreciated seeing things from his viewpoint, because it made me a lot more sympathetic to his side of the story. At times I just wanted to shake him! His character did make some impressive strides in growth throughout this story.
I also loved reading about farming. Not because I know so much about it, but because it is a career that is dear to my own hubby’s heart, and also because it’s not one that we hear much about anymore. Sadly, it seems to be a dying career. All the hardworking men that put in so many very hard and unappreciated hours of labor, just trying to eek out a living with farming. And yes, this still happens in America today. Something that is taken way too much for granted.
To summarize it all, this book is poignant and sad, yet offering hope in the midst of despair and darkness. In spite of the deep and gripping underlying sadness of this story, it ends with a ray of hope. And I just love that. The author weaves in bits and pieces of faith, and shows us how God really is there in the midst of hard times, if we just choose to look for Him.
This might not be a story that will appeal to younger readers, but I was really blessed and challenged by it. I’ve now added Katie Powner to my list of ‘must-read’ authors!