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From Barnes & NobleDiscover Great New Writers
From classics like To Kill a Mockingbird to contemporary fare like Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, the Deep South of the mid-twentieth century has proved fertile ground for novelists eager to probe humanity's potential for extreme cruelty and boundless grace. Discover is glad to add to that list The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, Wingfield's debut novel, which has all the richness of character, setting, and story that a lasting work of literature should offer. The year is 1956, and John and Calla Moses are about to host the annual family reunion for their four children, their children's spouses, and their 11 grandchildren. But this year's celebration is tinged with sadness. The couple has been growing apart, John's drinking has worsened, and the memory of a son killed in an accident hangs in the air. Soon the family will learn that their preacher son-in-law no longer has a church to lead. And before the reunion is over, the family will suffer an unspeakable tragedy that will haunt them all.
Counteracting this sadness are three grandchildren—especially Swan, an 11-year-old middle child whose restlessness, energy, and unwavering moral compass set the main action of the story in motion. Her soulful encounter with a young stranger in peril ultimately gives everyone the opportunity to come to terms with life's tragedies and to move on with hope.
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is a pleasure to read, as luxurious and enveloping as a drawn-out Southern summer.