BN.com Gift Guide
Customer Reviews for

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2
  • Posted June 1, 2011

    Great Characters, Terrific Story

    "John Moses couldn't have planned a worse day, or a worse way to die, if he'd planned it for a lifetime. Which was possible. He was contrary as a mule." These first lines grabbed me, but I wasn't sure I would be able to read this book. After I requested a galley, I read a review that said there was a lot of animal abuse in the story, and I have a really hard time reading about that, even in fiction. There was, and I loved this book anyway. There was also child abuse, domestic violence, and general mayhem of the sort that you can't help but believe is real. All of it was integral to this family's story. This saga about the Moses/Lake clans is set in 1956 Arkansas, where Samuel Lake, a preacher no one wants, ends up staying with his wife's family while he waits for a new church to be assigned to him. God will tell him the way. He teaches his children that miracles happen, and perhaps they depend on those miracles a little too literally. In the meantime, his wife, Willadee, does what she needs to to keep the family running smoothly, and while the members of the Moses family never lies, they sometimes don't exactly tell the truth, either. Ras is a truly evil person and the Moses's neighbor. His child, Blade, is as beat down and hopeless as the horses that Ras trains. That is until Swan Lake, Samuel and Wiladee's 11-year old daughter, accidentally comes into his life. Swan reminds me of Scout Finch, has that same wonderful spirit. I fell in love with the characters in this book - well, those that I didn't fall in hate with, anyway. This is one of those novels that once I jumped into, I didn't want to climb out. Author Jenny Wingfield is a screenwriter, but this is her first novel. I'm really hoping it won't be her last. I was given an advance reader's edition of this book by the publisher, for which I am very grateful. Because the copy I read was an ARE, the quote may have changed in the published edition. But I hope not. The publication date is slated for July 12, 2011.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    Best book I have read in YEARS!!!

    Loved this book from beginning-middle-end. EXCELLENT story, unique, entertaining, wonderful read. Characters were engrossing and truly believable.
    I cannot believe this was the author's first novel!!! B-R-A-V-O !!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    LOVE LOVE LOVE

    Most heartwarming book I've read in long time Guaranteed Goose Bumps.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2012

    Fabulous!!

    This is a fabulous story of good versus evil, a story of love and compassion, brokeness and healing, and a man that stays true to his Father regardless of circumstance. You will fall in love with the characters, adults and children alike. They are so well developed that you feel as though you know them, they become a part of you and steal your heart. This first time author, has done an amazing job of breathing life into this family and their story. You will laugh at the quick wit of Swan and most definately cry at the heart wrenching abuse that is inflicted on a child and animals. I loved this novel and cannot wait to read Ms. Jenny Wingfields future work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    One of 2011's best

    I put The Homecoming of Samuel Lake on my Most Compelling Books of 2011 list. The story begins with the patriarch of the Moses family killing himself at the annual family reunion. Set in Arkansas in the 1950s, Samuel Lake is a preacher who has once again lost his job and retreats back home to his wife Willadee's family to regroup. Samuel and Willadee have a wonderful marriage, they are very supportive of each other. They have three young children, Swan being the only girl. Samuel used to date Bernice, who later married Toy, Willadee's brother. Bernice is still in love with Samuel, and decides to use her beauty and feminine wiles to get Samuel back. Samuel sets up a tent revival, hoping to get enough people to come and perhaps getting a permanent preaching job out of it. Willadee works during the day at her father's bar, Never Closes, which is attached to their home, and also houses the grocery store that Willadee's mother runs. Swan and her brothers find Blade, a mysterious young boy, hiding in their barn and discover that he has been badly abused by his father, Ras Ballenger. Ballenger is evil personified, and every time he makes an appearance in the novel, I got chills. He beat his wife, sons, and the horses that he was supposed to be training. He is one bad, bad man. When Swan's family takes the young boy in, Ballenger swears vengeance against the Moses/Lake family, and waiting for his plan to take place ratchets up the tension in this heartbreaking, beautifully crafted novel. I finished the book on the treadmill and almost had to get off because I was sobbing so hard. I loved the characters in this book, with Toy being my favorite. He is man of few words, so when he speaks it is powerful. He also has a sense of sadness about him. Seriously injured in WWII, there is a question of whether or not he killed a man involved with his wife while he overseas. He forms strong bonds with the children, and his tenderness with them melts your heart. His evolution is moving, and Toy is a truly unforgettable literary creation. So many of the characters are well-drawn- Willadee, Swan, Samuel, Blade, Bernice, even Ras. The way the Lake family lived their faith was inspirational. They loved God and each other, and tried hard to embody their faith everyday. I liked the way that Wingfield wrote how important it was to the family and the story. The difficulty of being married plays a large role in the book. Willadee and Samuel's marriage is tested, but is strong. Contrast that with Toy and Bernice's unhappy, lonely marriage and the sadness that Willadee's mother feels about how the last years of her marriage unfolded. I think the author is saying that marriage is something that needs to be cared for and tended if it is to survive. My favorite lines from the book are from Willadee and Toy's mother, about Blade's effect on Toy: "She had no idea that Swan was also doing something special for Toy, or that Toy's life was changing in ways he could have never anticipated. All she knew was that this little boy was doing a kindness for her own little boy- the man who had been her little boy- and her gratitude knew no bounds." As a mother of two sons, those lines killed me. I could go on and on about this book, but all I really need to tell you is that if you love beautifully crafted books, with a compelling story and characters that feel so real, you will love The Homecoming of Samuel Lake. I almost wish I were reading ag

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2011

    Marvelous

    I have not read a book in a while where the characters were so well laid out and the narrative so vivid and the story that continued to grow. Extremely pleased to have a local author do such amazing work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    Highly recommended

    Interesting characters. Definately worth a read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

    Excellent - A Must Read!

    This book was captivating right from the beginning. I loved the evolution of Samuel and Toy's roles, as well as the store/bar. The author has a real talent for rich character portrayal. I especially loved her portrayal of Swan. I relived some of my childhood adventures through Swan's imaginative play. This is a truly heartwarming and heartbreaking story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 8, 2011

    Highly Recommend!

    One of the better books I have read in a long time. The story pulls you in so that you feel a connection with each character. It's a wonderful story of individuals finding their way through trials and failure and of a family who understands and values the differences of each member. It made me laugh and cry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 6, 2011

    The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

    A fabulous Texas book by a soon to be famous Texas author. Takes you to a time and place you've never been. The characters are believeable and real. An all around good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 3, 2011

    I loved this book!!!!!!!!

    I started this book and could not put it down. The story keeps you going with every turn of the page.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 3, 2011

    Brilliant Debut Novel!!!

    This book is going to haunt me for a long time. What an incredible debut novel from Jenny Wingfield. This novel is set in rural Arkansas in the 1950s. The extended family has gathered for an annual reunion when tragedy strikes. And though the country setting seems picturesque, human failings lurk everywhere. There is plenty of goodness in this book but there is also evil. An evil so vile that I had trouble reading at times. But the writer has such an amazing way with words that you cannot stop reading. You have to know what happens. It is a story about change and a story about faith, redemption and miracles.

    This is not a children's story but the children are the heart and soul of this story. Fearless eleven year old Swan Lake has been compared to Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird. And she is fearless and wonderful and has a heart overflowing with kindness and love. Blade Ballenger, their eight year old neighbor stole my heart. I wanted to jump into the pages of the book and save him myself from his terrifying father and ineffectual mother. Everyone in the family goes through immense changes in this book including of course the title character, Swan's father, Samuel Lake. Samuel is a preacher without a church trying to keep his family together and maintain his dignity. Every character in this book has a role to play in this brilliant work of fiction.

    I do believe in miracles. I cannot overemphasize how powerful this book is. Highly recommend this brilliant debut novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A compelling story that will have you believing in miracles!

    Every once in awhile you come across a book so profound in its ability to tell a story that needs to be told but no one wants to share. This is a review of that book, The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield.

    Samuel Lake has been a hellfire and brimstone preacher in Louisana for as long as he can remember the call of God on his life. He believes that people need to hear the word God has for them no matter how much they cringe on the inside when they hear it. It's that particular kind of preaching that has kept him moving from congregation to congregation, always unrooting his family until they can find a new church home for him to share his message with. Now Samuel's options have run out and there are no more churches for him to go to. Unsure of what God's purpose is for him at this point of his life, he returns to his mother in laws, Calla Moses and explains to his family that he feels like a failure but that trusting in God is vital to their faith.

    Willadee Lake spends time once a year at their families reunion with their children, Swan, Nobel and Bienville. Her father, John has been a drinker his whole life, now lacing his morning coffee with whiskey, he has built a bar on his walled in back porch that serves the community while prohibition is still intact. He has more than walled in areas of his life besides drinking, he has also isolated his family from him including his wife Calla. Now that the reunion is underway, he loses his temper during an argument with her, slapping her in front of everyone. When Willadee tells her father he is a disappointment, the last thing any of them hear is a shotgun blast within the walls of the bar.

    Now the family attempts to heal in so many ways. Calla is dealing with being alone at her age, without her husband. She asks Samuel and Willadee to move in to make things easier on all of them. Samuel attempts to find a job he can live with while trying to find God's calling in his life, while Willadee deals with a sister-in-law Bernice that still has her heart on winning Samuel back.

    Meanwhile the kids find that spending time on a hundred acre farm has more to keep them occupied than what they thought besides all their make-believe play. A small young boy, Blade Ballenger, is about to change all of their lives in a very shocking and dangerous way.

    I received this novel, The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield compliment of TLC Book Tours for my honest review. I did not see the story developing the way it did, but it was so compelling it drew me into the lives of the Moses and Lake family that I could not put it down until I finished it. To me this is a sign of a great book, that you will eat dinner with it in your hand, take it with you wherever you go because you just have to know how it all ends and Jenny does a magical job at weaving these characters right before your eyes that you feel like you are a part of the book! To me, that makes this a 5 out of 5 stars. The story content can be sensitive to those dealing with suicide and violent content, but when telling a story like this you can understand why!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 14, 2014

    A lovely read; with ups and downs, twists and turns, but it felt

    A lovely read; with ups and downs, twists and turns, but it felt very real and honest, including exposing the good and evil that exists in this world.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Gripping page turner until the last...loved it

    ...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Beautiful character's

    This is a beautiful book that tugs on your heart strings.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2013

    Amazing!!

    Amazing! Full of action, twists, surprises, love, heartbreak, and overcoming obstacles. Amazing on every level. A must read [;

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    This is a great story. One of the better books I have read in a

    This is a great story. One of the better books I have read in a long time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 14, 2013

    This book was really fantastic!

    This book was really fantastic!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Amy

    Whos said Hi! I cant c headlines i roll a mossball to the kit smiling at her

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2