When Mockingbirds Sing

When Mockingbirds Sing

4.4 34
by Billy Coffey
     
 

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What marks the boundary between a miracle from God and the imagination of a child?

Leah is a child from Away, isolated from her peers because of her stutter. But then she begins painting scenes that are epic in scope, brilliant in detail, and suffused with rich, prophetic imagery. When the event foreshadowed in the first painting dramatically comes true,

Overview

What marks the boundary between a miracle from God and the imagination of a child?

Leah is a child from Away, isolated from her peers because of her stutter. But then she begins painting scenes that are epic in scope, brilliant in detail, and suffused with rich, prophetic imagery. When the event foreshadowed in the first painting dramatically comes true, the town of Mattingly takes notice.

Leah attributes her ability to foretell the future to an invisible friend she calls the Rainbow Man. Some of the townsfolk are enchanted with her. Others fear her. But there is one thing they all agree on—there is no such thing as the Rainbow Man.

Her father, the town psychologist, is falling apart over his inability to heal his daughter . . . or fix his marriage. And the town minister is unraveled by the notion that a mere child with no formal training may be hearing from God more clearly than he does.

While the town bickers over what to do with this strange child, the content of Leah’s paintings grows darker. Still, Leah insists that the Rainbow Man’s heart is pure. But then a dramatic and tragic turn of events leaves the town reeling and places everyone’s lives in danger. Now the people of Mattingly face a single choice:

Will they cling to what they know . . . or embrace the things Leah believes in that cannot be seen?

“Billy Coffey is a minstrel who writes with intense depth of feeling and vibrant rich description.” —Robert Whitlow, best-selling author of The Choice

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tom and Ellen Norcross move to the fictional town of Mattingly, Va., for a fresh start after a slip of the tongue threatens their marriage and Tom’s psychology practice. A stutter ostracizes their only daughter, Leah, until Allie Granderson befriends her, a relationship that tests Allie as much as it grounds Leah. From a grandiose birthday celebration and budding friendships to death and despair, Coffey (Snow Day) stuffs a lot of life into a seven day time span. A range of complex, highly relatable characters is embedded in the story. These people are rooted in community, love their children well, and are satisfied with their views of who God is—and, perhaps more importantly, who God is not. When Leah’s imaginary friend, the Rainbow Man, gives her information that seemingly only God could know, it shakes folks up to the point that even Deacon Spicer wants to see the family run out of town. Whether Leah’s prophecies are of the devil or the divine is a question asked but not fully answered until the very end. This intriguing read challenges mainstream religious ideas of how God might be revealed to both the devout and the doubtful. Agent: Rachelle Gardner, Books & Such Literary Agency. (June 11)
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“Coffey does an easy job of creating both likable and unlikely heroes in this tender tale of childlike faith. Readers will appreciate how slim the line is between belief and unbelief, faith and fiction, and love and hate as supplied through this telling story of the human heart always in need of rescue.”
Library Journal
Tom Norcross is having trouble with his marriage and his psychiatry practice so he moves his wife and their daughter, Leah, to Mattingly, VA. Because of her stutter, Leah is a social pariah until a young girl named Allie befriends her. But their friendship and the Norcrosses' new life in Mattingly is challenged when Leah claims her imaginary friend, the Rainbow Man, is instructing her to paint pictures that then come true. The townspeople are devout Christians, and their world is turned upside down by Leah's predictions. Is God speaking through her? Or is it something more sinister? VERDICT Coffey's third novel (after Paper Angels and Snow Day) is an inspirational and atmospheric tale that should appeal to readers of Penelope Stokes.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780718076580
Publisher:
Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date:
05/19/2015
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Billy Coffey's critically acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm with a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Visit him at www.billycoffey.com. Facebook: billycoffeywriter Twitter: @billycoffey

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When Mockingbirds Sing 4.4 out of 5 based on 4 ratings. 35 reviews.
VillaSyl More than 1 year ago
What marks the boundary between a miracle from God and the imagination of a child? Leah is a child isolated from her peers because she stutters. Leah and her parents move to a country home in the small town of Mattingly, far away from the city, where her father still works as a psychologist and struggles with his own inner "demons." Leah's parents are trying to make their way in a floundering marriage. It soon becomes apparent that Leah has a gift, or a talent, when it comes to painting. The revealing of her gift coincides with some strange happenings around the town, causing the town folks to take strongly to one side or the other in the debate surrounding Leah, her family, and the paintings. Leah attributes her ability to foretell the future by painting scenes with incredible detail and filled with prophetic imagery; to an invisible friend she calls the Rainbow Man. Some of the townsfolk are enchanted with her. Others fear her. But there is one thing they all agree on, there is no such thing as the Rainbow Man. Allie is the one child who befriends Leah even when up against peer pressure. She's willing to defend Leah and even speak for her, but at the same time Allie is wondering how the Rainbow Man is like the God she knows from church. The story of When Mockingbirds Sings is a like a parable with morals and values behind the scenes. A thought provoking novel that tells the story of Leah and her invisible friend. This is the first book that I have read from this author and is very unique reflecting faith as a child reflects the innocent nature around her. The plot was interesting because you really are not sure if the Rainbow man was good or evil till the end. I received this copy of eBook from Thomas Nelson Fiction for my review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book started out a little slow for me. Due to the wonderful reviews I kept going. Very glad I did. While the undertones of this book are religious, I never felt it was over the top. There are people in this book who are truly hurting, some emotionally and some physically. While Leah and her family are pretty much the main characters, I just found Barney to be my favorite. This story breaks your heart but makes you happy at the same time.
RobinPatchen More than 1 year ago
I was sent this book to judge it for a contest, so I had no idea what to expect. It was wonderful. The characters were real and unique. The plot was so completely unexpected that from the first few pages, I knew I had to finish it to find out what was going to happen. I had hoped to discover what the story of the hole was all about, so now it looks like I'll have to buy Coffey's other book about Mattingley to solve that little mystery. I highly recommend this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This one really makes you think. Not sure i liked it that much, it was just yoo sad. But i did understand what the author was saying or at least saying to me about faith. I can see this as a discission group book but since i read for pure enjoyment not sure i will recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Subject very interestinf and different. Suspensful and loved what ends up happening to those involved..... not the illness but how their lives changed, forbetter or worse. Reallt enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great plot as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
and beautifully written...could not put this book down. I will definitely be reading more of this author's work.
BTHM More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that depends on your background, as to how you will react to it. Personally, I like books that are nuanced like that, other people may not. But that is something to consider when reading this book. For instance, I live in a small town, where if you weren't born here, you're a newcomer, even if you've lived here for 20 years! So I understand phrases like 'from Away', and how a small town can rally and want to make a family leave. For those who have always lived in large cities, this may not seem possible. Whether you believe the Rainbow Man is God or not, will also be based on your experience. Being around children with strong belief in God, and that God can, and does, talk to them, the story of Leah and Allie rang true, even to the kiddie pool baptism (many a Southern Baptist are going to be smiling over that passage!). It is said that kids see things clearer- that they see the heart of the matter without all our live experiences and emotions clouding their view. The author takes this concept, wraps it up into the lore and characters of small Southern towns, and weaves a tale that you just can't put down ('I'll just read one section' turns into 2 LONG chapters quite easily!).  Not all is wrapped up with a pretty bow however at the end (you know it's one of my pet peeves), but.....rumor has it one of the author's next books is set in Mattingly, so it could be that they are brought forward in the new book. So I'll withhold any peevishness about that, til the new book comes out! LOL. This book really makes you THINK, and it will enchant you from the beginning, so make sure you pick this one up this Summer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put his book down. I love it when novels make you think, and it constantly had me in debate. My heart was torn one way and then another. I shared the various thoughts and feelings of each character. I feel this is a very spiritual read. I highly recomend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a deeply moving read for me. I found myself relating directly with many of the characters in spite of their diversity. Id say it will be a challenging read for individuals with history in a legalistc church environment - trust me, but highly recommended!
StephWard More than 1 year ago
'When Mockingbirds Sing' is a beautiful and thought provoking Christian fiction novel that tells the story of Leah and her invisible friend. At first nobody pays much attention to Leah's friend, until he helps her upset the calm of the new town she and her family have moved to. When Leah paints a picture that contains the winning numbers for a lottery, people in the town begin to speculate that she may be either a prophet or a threat. Leah's father - an agnostic - clashes with the town's pastor and his ideas about Leah and her prophecies. Soon things take a turn for the worse when Leah's imaginary friend predicts danger coming and people begin to doubt the truth behind her so called prophecies. When a severe storm blows into town on the day of their annual carnival, the people of Mattingly and Leah's family must decide between what they can see and what they know or accept and embrace Leah and her prophecies. This book was very unique from anything else I've read lately. Although it's classified as Christian fiction, the book doesn't have a ton of religious beliefs stuffed within its pages and it didn't sound preachy at all. The story is an amazing and curious one - the kind that makes you question what you would do in that situation and if you would have the courage - the faith - required to believe. Leah is an intriguing main character - she's just a girl, but she's brave and speaks up when she needs to; even when people are judging her and trying to prove she's making things up. Her faith as a child reflects the innocent nature we all lose with time and how we should all strive to regain that kind of faith in every aspect of our lives. The plot was captivating in every aspect - the small town with the various townspeople, Leah and her family, the troubled past they've had, and the strange yet wondrous experiences that Leah brings to them all. It deals with some really important topics that we can all relate to: family, faith, hope, friendship, community, and love. Highly recommended for fans of Christian fiction and those looking for a story full of hope and something to reflect on. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
esosweet More than 1 year ago
When Mockingbirds Sing is a dark and complex story about a little girl name Leah and her new friend the Rainbow Man. The book takes place over one week leading up to the town carnival. It starts on Saturday which is little Leah's birthday. Leah Norcross is a shy and somewhat strange girl whose family just moved to the town of Mattingly from Away (the city). Her father is a psychologist and her mother stays home with Leah. The Rainbow Man appears at that birthday party. The story takes off from there and gets darker and darker. The various characters and their viewpoints make it a well-rounded and complete story. The town of Mattingly is full of interesting people and its members know about the magic. Has the magic found Leah or she just making it up? Should the town believe what she has to say? Does the Rainbow Man exist?  This book was intriguing on so many different levels. There were many secrets between the characters which gave it a level of mystery that kept me reading. I found myself pulled in deeper and deeper as the characters lives changed more and more. Many had to figure out who they were and the process was gut wrenchingly honest and provoking.  I definitely recommend that you read this book. It will help you figure out yourself and what you believe. I kept wondering how I would react if I lived in Mattingly. Would I accept what Leah had to say or would I find myself trying to get rid of her. Read this book. Just do it. This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. I really like this book!
HPedersen More than 1 year ago
From the innocence of little Leah to outrage you feel through the township of Mattingly, you will quickly find yourself entranced by the story. A classic worthy of five stars in my book. 
Michelle_DeRusha More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Billy Coffey's books, but I have to say, "When Mockingbirds Sing" is my favorite so far. As a person who has struggled with doubt and wrestled with faith most of my life, this book spoke to me deeply. I could see myself in the skeptical "spiritual-but-not-religious" Tom and Ellen for sure, but I also found hope and comfort in the characters of the young girls,  Leah and Allie. Their faith, not only in God but in each other, was refreshingly pure. I particularly loved Leah's sweet innocence, and how Billy masterfully aligned that with the firecracker vigor of Allie. The two together made a perfect team.  I was also glad that the pastor turned out to be one of the most skeptical characters in the book, at least when it came to his ability to believe in the Rainbow Man, Leah's vision of God. The Rainbow Man didn't fit the pastor's definition of God, and thus, the pastor refused to accept that He was real. I suspect that example rings true for many of us. As others have said in the reviews here, Billy Coffey is a gifted storyteller. He has a brilliant command of language, and his prose flows smoothly and easily. This book is a page-turner. The plot moves along well, and there is a sense of anticipation that kept this reader turning pages long into the night.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having read both of Billy's other books (Snow Day and Paper Angels), I was delighted to go back to the fictitious town of Mattingly...but I was also surprised. Surprised by the way each trip to Mattingly brought with it a little more of the extraordinary than one might expect to find in such an ordinary small town...surprised at the mystery and the `maybe' found with the turn of each page. Pages which, I might add, turned at an alarming rate, try though I did to slow them down. Mystery and maybe are possibly two words not typically associated with a book about faith - even a work of fiction. But, to me, they are true and honest and at the very crux of the matter. I think we choose faith because of them both, choosing the constancy of it when we realize there is no constant to be found that's birthed from this world. Possibly my favorite thing about this book is how it examines just about every approach to faith there is, through each of the town's colorful residents, and how they relate with one another through those belief systems. I was able to connect with just about every one of them on some level (as I daresay could every reader), seeing true colors drop masks when the landscape began to rapidly shift around them. As is so true in life, it's the mystery and the maybe that bring revelation in the end. You're going to want to visit Mattingly yourself. And it's possible, when you do, that you'll hear Billy's name and work tossed around comparatively with such company as Stephen King and Frank Peretti. While he's certainly deserving, I think you'll find his work distinctly his own, a fresh Southern story teller with a keen eye for looking at all sides of a thing, and pointing out the special light. This one is a book you don't want to miss!
Anonymous 21 days ago
The story begins when Leah's parents give her a birthday party and invite the entire town. Leah is a shy young girls who stutters and has no friends. The town does not like nor accept outsiders. Outsiders are called Away. The people do come to the party at the urging of the minister. But, mostly because they have never been allowed on the property by the former owner and they want to see everything. During the party another little girl decides to befriend her. All characters in the story are easy to relate to as they are found in our daily life--at work, in social circles, in our local governments; and yes, even in church. But when Leah begins to draw exceptionally and says her talent came from her friend, The Rainbow Man, even her parents find it difficult to accept. When Leah draws a powerful picture and delivers it to the one man who has befriended her things change. She tells the man the Rainbow Man told her the picture was specifically for him. The man had once been an influence in the town but now the people of the town have turned their backs on him and his wife. His wife had a stroke and all the medical bills have caused him loose almost everything. The man accepts the picture but when looking at it he sees numbers. He uses the numbers hidden within the drawing when he purchases a Lotto ticket. The ticket is a winner and he becomes extremely wealthy. Suddenly he is no longer an outcast. People who would not stop and help him when his truck broke down and he was stranded along the road with his invalid wife now come out of the woodwork to say hi to their friend and by the way can he help them. Not only does Leah's invisible friend, the Rainbow Man, help Leah draw powerful pictures; but. this shy girl now is instructed to tell everyone the message he has given. As the title represents, this is indeed the end of innocence for Leah because the people of the town turn against her with fury when she attends a viewing in church and delivers the final drawing during and the Rainbow Man's message. Leah says her friend is the Rainbow Man. Is it possible the Rainbow Man Leah sees and hears be God? If so, is the message really from God or is the message nothing more than a young girl's imagination as their minister suggests? Should the people listen to their minister and deacons who insist it is nothing but the rantings of a small, "spiritually black" child and should be ignored or. should they take the message's warning seriously? The answer is one readers make individually as the story concludes during the annual carnival.
MzzLily 22 days ago
I read this book on the recommendation of an author friend. “His writing is amazing. I would love to be able to write like him.” That was enough of an endorsement for me. It didn’t take me long to see what she meant. His descriptive writing is heavenly, painting a perfectly detailed portrait of each scene. The story ran along at a very nice pace, except for a few brief spots I’ll mention later. I quickly fell in love with the main character, nine-year-old Leah. One reviewer was irritated by the young girl’s stuttering. Hint: don’t read the stutter. I found it only added to the charm of her character. Her new best friend Allie is equally delightful, as well as Barney, a has-been toy-maker/shopkeeper with an ailing wife whom he deeply loves. The original story line was equally entertaining and suspenseful. Is Leah hearing a messenger from the Lord? Or is her imagination getting the best of her? Either way, it makes it hard for her family to blend into their new hometown. The local church body is having a really hard time with the whole “love thy neighbor” thing. The story alludes to an earlier incident involving another resident of the small town being “touched by the magic,” but that major clue is left unresolved. I really wanted to know what it was all about. (-1/2 star) The author really loves to use parentheses (you know—these little curved thingies) in a lot of sentences. I would have liked them to have been a little less (or maybe a lot less) of an occurrence. In many places, (though I don’t have a tally of the number of places the author chose to use them) they interrupted the pace a bit. I don’t like to get to the end of a sentence only to forget (mostly because my brain is getting older) what the beginning of the sentence said. I think you get my point. I know it’s a style thing, but it’s a bit overdone. (-1/2 star) Overall, I really liked this book and will definitely read more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written so that you have to finish the story to confirm what all the clues led you to believe. Easy to picture the small, hilly VA country side and its small minded locals. A different way to say that our lives are predestined and that it's not clear why happen without our understanding. Found myself looking forward to reading each night.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book.
Lives4Maine More than 1 year ago
Interesting read ~ more of a 2.5 star book.
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MaggieSueMP More than 1 year ago
Such a good book. I would highly recommend for anyone who enjoys a good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much. It kept me up past my bedtime, reading until the wee hours, several times.