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Decades of Loss, an Unsolved Mystery,
and a Rift Spanning Three Generations
Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.
Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can’t understand her mother’s overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother’s inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan—a cold case agent—cherishes her grandmother’s lavish attention and affection.
When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel’s painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that’s been lost?
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Hazel Mae Blackwell
Hazel set a porcelain cup and saucer on the overturned apple crate in front of her little sister. “Madam, would you like cream and sugar in your tea?”
Maggie nodded, making her Shirley Temple curls bounce. Her hair—what Daddy called flaxen—shimmered under the noonday sun, almost as yellow as the roses painted on the cup.
Jealousy sparked in Hazel’s heart. Why couldn’t she have inherited Mama’s sunshiny-yellow hair and sky-blue eyes the way Maggie had instead of Daddy’s dirt-brown hair and eyes?
“What do you say?” Hazel asked the question as tartly as Mama.
“Pluh-ease,” Hazel said.
Hazel sighed. Maggie was just-turned-three, as Daddy often reminded Hazel when she got impatient with her sister. Sometimes she wished Mama hadn’t waited so long after Hazel to have another baby. Wouldn’t it be fine if almost seven years didn’t stretch between them? Mama and Daddy were always telling her she was lucky to have a sister, and Hazel loved Maggie. Of course she did. But sometimes…
“Pwease, Hayzoo Mae?”
She lifted the lid on the doll-sized sugar bowl and spooned out pretend sugar. Then she pretended to pour cream. No matter how much Hazel begged, Mama never let her waste real sugar and cream for her tea parties. She used the spoon to stir the air in Maggie’s cup. “There you are.”
Maggie’s apple cheeks dimpled with her smile. “Fank you.” She picked up the cup between her fingers and carried it to her rosy lips.
“I hope it isn’t too hot.”
Maggie made noisy drinking sounds. Her blue eyes rounded and she pursed her lips. “Ooooh, it is hot! I bu’n my tongue!”
Hazel stifled a chuckle. Playing make-believe with her doll had never been this fun. Maybe she should have let Maggie use her special tea set before. But she’d waited until her sister passed her third birthday, the same age Hazel had been when she received the set for Christmas from Memaw and Pappaw Blackwell. She hadn’t trusted Maggie’s baby fingers not to break one of the fragile cups or plates.
She picked up her own cup and held it close to her mouth. “Blow on it.” She puffed breaths into her cup, smiling when Maggie imitated her.
With the sun warming their heads, they sipped and smiled at each other and helped their dollies eat pretend cookies from the serving plate centered on the crate. Hazel’s imagination painted their surroundings from a dusty yard to the fancy city restaurant she’d seen in a magazine. With linen-draped tables instead of a handkerchief-covered crate. With ladies wearing silk instead of homespun. So easy to see in her imagination. She even pretended her hair was shiny yellow curls trailing down her back instead of wind-tossed, dirt-brown, pin-straight locks lopped at shoulder level.
She picked up the plate and offered it to Maggie. “Would you like the last cookie?”
Maggie reached out her pudgy hand.
The screen door squeaked open and Mama stepped onto the porch. “Hazel Mae? Maggie?”
Maggie rolled sideways to push herself to her feet, and her bottom bumped the crate. The teacups and serving pieces wobbled. Gasping, Hazel dropped the plate to steady the table, and the plate landed on the sugar bowl. Both the plate and the lid to the sugar bowl snapped in two.
The lovely daydream shattered. “Oh, Maggie, look what you did!” Hazel snatched up the halves of the once-pretty plate with its circle of painted yellow roses and green leaves and hugged them. Surely her heart was broken in half, too. “Why can’t you be careful? I should never have let you touch it.”
Tears swam in Maggie’s blue eyes, and her lower lip quivered. Mama hurried across the yard, her bare feet stirring dust. Maggie buried her face in Mama’s apron skirt.
Mama scowled at Hazel. “For shame, yelling at your sister. It was an accident.”
Hazel stared at Mama’s hand on Maggie’s head, the fingers petting, sweet and soothing. Why didn’t Mama soothe Hazel? She’d suffered the loss. “But she broke the serving plate. And the sugar bowl lid.”
“You dropped the plate, Hazel Mae. You broke the pieces.”
But she wouldn’t have dropped the plate if she hadn’t been trying to keep the crate from falling over. She said so, too, even though Daddy would probably say she was talking back.
Mama’s scowl deepened. “Arguing won’t fix things.” Then a hint of sympathy crept into her eyes. She set Maggie aside and held out her hands. “Give it to me. If there’s a clean break, I can glue it together.”
Hazel swallowed the words hovering on her lips—“It won’t be the same”—and reluctantly transferred the halves to Mama’s keeping. She gave her the pieces of the sugar bowl lid, too.
Mama slipped all the pieces into her apron pockets. “Put your toys away and then come to the kitchen. I have a job for you to do.” She returned to the house.
Her jaw clenched so tight her teeth ached, Hazel transferred the fragile tea set to the brittle grass. She turned the crate right-side up, settled her doll with its stuffed cloth body in the bottom, then began arranging the teapot, cups, saucers, and plates around the doll. Maggie bent over and reached for a cup.
Hazel pushed her sister’s hand aside. “Don’t.”
“No. Let me do it.”
“‘Kay.” Maggie picked up her doll, the one Daddy ordered from the Montgomery Ward catalog for her last birthday, and wrapped her arms around it. She rocked side to side, making her pink muslin skirt sway. “We pway again tomorrow, Hayzoo Mae?”
Not with the tea set. Not ever with the tea set. “We’ll see.”
She lifted the crate and carried it inside, Maggie trailing her. She ordered her sister to the kitchen, then trotted upstairs and tucked the crate in her closet, way back in the dark corner where Maggie was afraid to go. With the tea set safe, she clattered down the enclosed staircase to the kitchen.
Mama was waiting with the egg basket. She smiled as she gave it to Hazel. “Go to the blackberry thicket and pick as many ripe berries as the basket will hold. Don’t dally now. I want to bake a cobbler for our supper.”
Hazel’s mouth watered. A cobbler used lots of sugar. It was a treat. Especially blackberry cobbler since Mama usually turned the dark berries into jam. “Is company comin’?” She hoped not. If they had to share the cobbler, they’d get only one small portion each.
Mama’s eyebrows rose. “Don’t you remember? It’s Daddy’s birthday.”
She ducked her head. She had forgotten. She’d need to hurry so there’d be time to draw Daddy a card to give him at suppertime. She looped the basket over her arm and headed for the door.
“Take your sister with you.”
Hazel spun around. “Oh, Mama, please don’t make me. She’ll slow me down.”
Mama’s lips set in a stern frown. “I have things to do, too, and I need her out from underfoot. Take her.” She pushed both girls out the back door. “Hurry now.”
How could she hurry with Maggie along? Her sister’s short legs would wear out halfway to the patch. But arguing would waste time, and she could almost taste that blackberry cobbler already. So she ordered Maggie to tuck the ever-present doll under one arm, grabbed her sister’s free hand, and took off at a brisk pace, giving little jerks now and then to keep Maggie going.
A wagon rattled up the road from the west, and a big shiny touring car came from the east. The girls clambered onto the rough edge where the ground sloped sharply upward. Hazel kept her arm around Maggie, tapping her toe impatiently at the delay. The wagon went on by, but the car slowed to a stop, and Mrs. Burton, the lady who ran the orphans’ home on the west side of town, stuck her head out the open window.
“Good morning, girls.” She pinned her warm smile on Maggie. The little girl always earned a smile from folks—she was so little, as pretty as a china doll, so likable. And Hazel couldn’t decide if that made her proud or jealous.
“‘Morning,” Hazel said.
“‘Mo’ning,” Maggie echoed.
“Where are you two off to with that basket?”
Hazel wished she’d hurry on. They needed to get to the thicket. “Gonna pick blackberries. Mama’s makin’ a cobbler.”
The woman sighed. “I’m sorry I can’t give you a ride. Thicket’s in the wrong direction for me. But you two have fun. Don’t stick your fingers, you hear?” She gave a little wave and then the car growled on.
Hazel led Maggie to the center of the road again, where wheels had carved two smooth ruts. She squinted ahead, thinking. About a half mile up the road, a path carved by deer led directly to the blackberry brambles, but there was a shorter route. It was rougher and harder to get through, but the quicker she picked the berries, the quicker she could go home and get started on her card for Daddy. She wanted to spend lots of time on it and make it extra nice so he wouldn’t know she’d forgotten his special day.
“C’mon, Maggie. This way.”
Her little sister beamed up at her, her face all sweaty and curls drooping. She looked so cute, Hazel caught herself smiling back. They left the dirt road and climbed a slight rise, ducking beneath low-hanging tree branches and pushing between bushes. Maggie panted, her little face red, but she didn’t complain, even when branches pulled her hair ribbon askew.
“We’re almost there.” Hazel lifted a snarl of branches and gestured Maggie through the opening. Hugging her doll against her chest, Maggie squeezed past Hazel. Hazel moved behind her and let the branches slap back into place. Without warning, Maggie stopped.
Hazel sidestepped to keep from trampling her sister. “What’re you doing?”
Maggie pointed silently to a chunk of displaced earth. Her face puckered with questions.
Even though they needed to hurry, Hazel couldn’t resist crouching down and lifting the piece of ground held together by grass roots. Underneath, in a smooth hollowed spot, four little bunnies curled together in a ball. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “Lookee, Maggie—baby rabbits.”
Maggie’s face lit, and Hazel sensed a squeal coming on.
“Shhh.” She touched a finger to her own lips and shook her head. “Don’t scare ’em. Let ’em sleep.”
Wonder in her blue eyes, Maggie knelt next to Hazel. “I pet ’em?”
“I wanna pet ’em, Hayzoo Mae.”
Hazel gave Maggie the explanation Daddy had given her the first time she found a bunny burrow. “If you touch ’em, the mama won’t come back. They’ll die without their mama. You don’t want the bunnies to die, do you?”
Her little sister shook her head so hard her sweaty curls bounced.
“Then we gotta leave ’em alone.” She lowered the chunk of earth over the baby bunnies and rose. “C’mon.” She grabbed Maggie’s hand and moved on.
Maggie trotted alongside, stumbling now and then because she kept her face angled toward the spot where the rabbits slept. At the blackberry thicket, Hazel settled Maggie in a patch of shade with her doll and shook her finger at her. “You stay put.” While her sister played with her doll, contentedly jabbering, Hazel picked berries as fast as she could. Her fingertips turned purple and she got stuck more times than she could count, but she ignored the pricks and kept picking, glancing into the basket now and then to judge her progress.
The basket was a little over half full when Maggie’s happy chatter changed to a shriek. Hazel jerked, the basket rocking on her arm. She sucked in a breath and turned to scold, but the words died on her lips when she spotted a black snake, nearly five feet long, slithering through the grass only a few feet from where Maggie was sitting.
Hazel dropped the basket and leaped in front of her sister. The snake changed course, but now it headed in the direction of the rabbit burrow. She couldn’t let that awful snake eat the bunnies for lunch! She pushed Maggie closer to the bushes where blackberries from the basket dotted the thick grass. “Start puttin’ the berries back in the basket. I’ll be right back.” She snatched up a dead tree branch and darted after the snake, whacking the ground as she went.
The snake eased one way and then another, but it persisted in moving toward the burrow. Hazel skirted slightly ahead of it and waved the branch. It paused for a moment, its tongue flicking in and out and its bright eyes seeming to stare directly at her. She smacked the grass hard. “Get outta here, you dumb snake! You go on!”
The snake lowered its head and slithered away from her. She chased after it, yelling and swatting, until she was certain she’d frightened it into the woods. She swiped her brow and blew out a breath of relief. The bunnies were safe. She tossed the stick aside and hurried back to the thicket. Triumphant, she burst through the bushes.
“I did it, Maggie! I scared it off!” She stopped short. Maggie’s doll lay in the grass near the overturned basket, but her sister wasn’t there. She sent a frowning look right and left. “Maggie?”
Hazel inched forward, searching the area with her gaze. Squashed berries littered the area, proof that her sister had trampled through them. Had Maggie decided to play hide-and-seek? She singsonged, “Ma-a-aggie, where a-a-are you?” She listened for a telltale giggle. Only the whisper of wind replied. She didn’t have time for games. She balled her hands on her hips. “Margaret Rose Blackwell, I’m not playin’. You better come out right now if you know what’s good for you!”
A pair of bluebirds swooped from a scraggly oak, but Maggie didn’t step out from the bushes. A chill wiggled down Hazel’s spine despite the heat making her flesh sticky. “C’mon, Maggie, this isn’t funny.” She turned a slow circle, repeatedly calling her sister’s name. Maggie still didn’t answer. The stillness unnerved her. No squirrels chattering, no birds singing, not even a rabbit nibbling at the tender grass under the trees.
Worry churning in her gut, she searched the thicket. Then the surrounding area. Her heart gave a leap when she found Maggie’s limp hair ribbon caught on a shoulder-high tree branch. She jerked it free and stared at it. Maggie had gone at least a hundred feet from the thicket. How had she wandered so far in such a short time?
Hazel shoved the ribbon into her pocket and cupped her hands around her mouth. “Maggie, wherever you are, you better stop right now an’ let me catch up or you’re gonna be in big trouble!” She waited several seconds, waiting, listening. More silence.
She hugged herself, battling tears. Why didn’t Maggie answer? Maybe she’d curled up somewhere, like a bunny, and fallen asleep. She began hunting again, moving slow, peeking into bushes and under the thick branches of pine trees.
Minutes slipped by with no sign of her sister, and Hazel’s fear grew so intense a bitter taste flooded her mouth. She broke into a run. She zigzagged through the woods, forming a rough circle around the blackberry bramble, always calling. Sometimes she cajoled, sometimes she threatened. Sometimes she choked back sobs and other times angry growls. She searched and called until her throat was too dry to make a sound and her leg muscles quivered.
She stopped, leaning forward and resting her hands on her knees. Her breath heaved. Her chest ached. Sweat dribbled down her face and mixed with her tears. Daddy and Mama would be so disappointed in her for losing Maggie in the woods, but she’d have to face them. She needed help. Sucking in a big breath, she gathered her bearings and then took off toward home.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Friday, September 8, 2017 Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer, © 2017 My Review: This story is different from previous writings by this author. It centers around an event kept hidden from earlier times in 1943 Arkansas, still affecting responses in a family now in the present contemporary time. When an unsolved mystery is revealed, hope arises of resolving family conflict spreading throughout the pages to mend their relationship. I forge forward in their journey, hoping this will be so! Nothing sadder than to lose those closest to you ~ a gifting actually to cherish. Meddling did not seem to fit in, as three generations are unable to form an alliance between themselves without taking two sides against one. The daughter has been feeling the granddaughter got more attention from the mother than she herself had received while growing up. In fact such a dismal comparison, she thought she saw why she was so determined to leave home earlier than planned by either of them. The past not reckoned with, dissolved any hope for a relationship beyond what had been experienced previously.... Meghan DeFord looked so forward to spending time in Nevada with her beloved grandmother, Hazel Blackwell DeFord. Many happy memories of earlier stays seemed just what was needed to rest and heal physically from traffic accident injuries. Surprisingly, her emotionally absent mother, Diane DeFord, appears out of nowhere it seemed, encouraging plans to stay a spell as she brings not one but four dogs with her. Meghan quickly finds a referee is needed as one or the other seems to find barbs to spread into conversations. Reverting to past actions, the whirlwind seems to shatter a welcomed relief Meghan had envisioned. I am reminded of a quote by Elisabeth Elliot Gren that certainly applied to this scenario: "Then I heard a tape which said it was a lie of the enemy to believe that some event that had happened would prevent something else from ever happening. As if a mistake you or someone else made would forever prevent God's will for your life." --Quest for Love, 240 As I read on, I see an inkling of an exposure of light and truth seeping in from those around them. Darkness cannot remain when exposed to God's love infiltrating a cycle of negative repetition; habits that have enfolded hearts unable to see a way of escape. Slow changes begin, as the sadness and despondency of the past are unveiled. Secrets revealed and talked about, help them to see the possibility of the past not dominating the future and present of their lives. This is a strong story of hope speaking into their lives as they begin to hear and dislodge the hold of the past. The characters reflect on their individual memories as growing trust and confidence surface. ***Thank you, author Kim Vogel Sawyer, and WaterBrook for sending a print pre-copy to me. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
I am a big fan of Ms. Sawyer. I so loved and would recommend Bringing Maggie Home. Sometimes when an author writes about two different time periods, you may find yourself having trouble keeping up. That is not true with this story. Kim has a way of intertwining contemporary and historical settings, she makes it seem flawless. This story for me had everything. My favorite part of Kim's writing, she always weaves a thread of faith throughout her story. Bringing Maggie Home is a little different than most of Kim's previous works. It is about two separate time periods, seventy years apart. It is about solving a mystery. It is about three generations of women, mother, daughter and grandmother. They could not be anymore different from each other. There is love, bitterness, suspense and intrigue present. I could not wait to read this book by Kim and now that I am done, I hate that it has ended. What a great read.
This story touched my heart in such a deep way that I felt compelled to message the author my gratitude when I was about three fourths of the way through the book. Reading this book felt like looking into a mirror from a variety of angles. While not everyone will have that experience, everyone will be touched by the depth of emotion evoked by Kim Vogel Sawyer through the lives of Hazel, Diane and Meghan DeFord. Hazel had lived most of her life with a childhood secret that continued to impact the next two generations of her family. The secret's revelation and the restoration that followed could only have been orchestrated by God. Bringing Maggie Home is an intensely emotional story of forgiveness, hope, and faith. Ultimately it is a story of peace, the peace that passes all understanding. I think NetGalley and WaterBrook for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review and received no monetary compensation.
This book features three women: a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter all from the same family. Meghan, the daughter, breaks an ankle in a very serious auto accident. She is a cold case detective and has been given 6 weeks recovery time, So she heads to her grandmother's home in Nevada where she discovers her mother has shown up as well. There is a great deal of friction between the grandmother and mother as her mother was very much a "helicopter Parent" when Diane was growing up. Diane has been just the opposite with Meghan pushing her independence and not showing much emotional connection with her so Meghan has received most of her hugs and cuddles from her grandmother during summer visits. This is a book about love, learning, second chances, and forgiveness. As the three women attempt to go back in history and discover the real story behind the disappearance of Grandma Hazel's baby sister with the assistance of Meghan's cold case partner, Sean, each of them begins to understand how the past had a domino affect on their actions and emotional connections to one another. The romance between Meghan and Sean took a back seat to the cold case which I thought made the real meat of the story even stronger. The wonderful spiritual content especially as Grandma Hazel and Sean lived out their faith and witnessed to Meghan and her mom was amazing. The ending definitely called for some tissues even though it was predictable. Another well written book for Kim Vogel Sawyer.
I loved this book. The author did a great job switching viewpoints among Meghan, Diane, and Hazel to fully tell their stories. There are quite a few flashbacks, but I never felt lost in the storyline. Everything flowed together very well. This is a touching story of how each life touched another through the decades. There’s a sweet romance, too, but it never dominates the story. This story goes beyond just finding out what happened to Maggie. It’s about finding faith and hope in any situation and trusting God’s timing. I received a copy of this book for review. I was not required to give a positive review. This is my honest opinion about this book.
Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer is an amazing, can’t put down until you’re finished book about love, loss and God’s grace. A most horrific event turned around realistically. I felt that this author did a great job of painting an authentic, lifelike story that touches the heart. There were times that this story had me cringing and other times where I wanted to pray for the lost in the story. When victories came around it had me jumping for joy as tears streamed down my face. If you’re looking for a book that has hard issues, mystery, and a very honest presentation, I recommend this one. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
This book was engaging, beautifully writing and compelling to read that had an amazing and exciting story of hiding secret from 3 generation of a woman in family and they was keeping from each other for many years but with the hope and love in there relationship had been missed from all of there life need to be together again. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. " I received complimentary a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for this review".
Bringing Maggie Home is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I felt like I was right there with Hazel when her sister disappeared and with her when she finally told her family what happened. The ending was so satisfying! This is a book I'll long remember reading.
The author has written an exceptional story of multigenerational conflict, past hurts, present anger, and faith in God that heals and saves. Did I like all the characters? No. I particularly took a dislike to Diane who is the middle person in this three generational story. The actual cause for her personality is the result of what happened in the fourth generation back. Written with scene jumps between 1943, the present time, and anywhere in between and in varying voices, the reader had to pay close attention to who was speaking and in what period. Ms. Sawyer added an interesting twist to this involved story of conflicting family and conflicting generations. She wove a decades old mystery into the pages resolving it at the end in what would prove mind boggling in real life. The story is filled with faith through the thoughts and conversations of Hazel and Sean who are both very strong Christians. And just who is "Maggie"? In action, she is a very minor character. In reality, she is the thread woven through the pages as cause and effect and joyful solution. DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.
What a powerful page turning read, one that started so innocently with a berry picking trip, a trip that dictates the rest of their lives. The Author has us walking in three different women’s shoes, Grandmother, Mother, and Daughter, and how one act affects each one through decades, and actually forms the person they are now. Loved how faith played a part in this story, and could picture how the relationships of these relatives have evolved. The story itself is heartbreaking, and makes you think, yes it could have happened. Can you imagine the guilt that the young ten-year-old Hazel Mae felt, and then her parents, that allowed the ten year old to have the responsibility of watching a three year old? Heart breaking as to what happens to this family, and shows that the things we say and do to the child form the adult they become. You really don’t want to miss this one; it will keep you awake long into the night, and wonder how lives can be put back together. I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Bringing Maggie Home was a heart wrenching read that shows how one horrid act can devastate a family and generations later. Starting off with every parent’s worst nightmare ten year old Hazel and her 3 year old sister go out blackberry picking. An innocent enough afternoon turns into a nightmare when little Maggie goes missing. For seventy years Hazel has not spoken of her sister. There was so much emotion in this story. We have three generations of women: Hazel, now turning 80, her daughter Diane, and granddaughter Meghan. All three of these women are strong and stubborn and hold on to certain skewed viewpoints from their childhoods. Diane felt her mother Hazel was too overprotective where Meghan felt that her mother, Diane, did not love her enough nor was as affectionate like her grandmother. Hazel just wanted to protect Diane and not lose her as her sister was lost. And Diane wanted Meghan to stand on her own and not be smothered as she felt she was. Even though this story touched on a very sad and scary topic, devastating people’s lives, I cannot express enough how much this story affected me to love a little more and let go of things that do not matter. Hug my family a little tighter and thank God for them every day, many times a day. More than anything this book just showed me how all our perceptions right or wrong can affect those we love the most. That forgiveness is best and guilt and shame can ruin and cause death. In regards to Maggie’s disappearance, Meghan just happens to be a cold case detective so this book takes us on the trail with Meghan and her partner Sean as they pick up this cold case and search for what really happened that day and where did Maggie go. I needed to know along with the characters. All in all this was a satisfying read. I received a copy of this novel for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
I love this author. I have read almost every book she has written. She was among the first of the Christian Authors that I discovered when I switched genres. It was interesting to see the switch in gears then what Ms. Vogel Sawyer writes - but it seems to be a smooth transition. Her books have a way of unfolding right before your eyes. The characters are well developed, well written and tangible. I enjoyed going on this journey that the author took me on. I received a copy of this book through the LItfuse blogging program - all opnions are my own.
A Thought Provoking Interesting Read I love a good mystery, and that’s what drew me in and want to read, Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer. This is the first book I’ve read by this author so I didn’t know what to expect. The story starts out in 1943, when young Hazel is watching her 3- year-old sister Maggie. She only turned her back for a few seconds, but that’s all it took and little Maggie was gone. What happened? Would they ever know? Hazel and her family were devastated by the loss. Its impact would ripple down and impact future generations. Fast forward to present day, Hazel’s granddaughter Meghan is coming for a visit only to be surprised and find her mom Diane there too. When the long-held secret comes out about Maggie, Meghan has hope, that as a cold case investigator, she may be able to finally bring some closure for her grandmother that she loves so dearly. Bringing Maggie Home turned out to be a little different than I anticipated. It focused mostly on the people and their relationships. Through this story, you can see how one horrible event can impact people far beyond the initial tragedy. There were times, I felt like the story dragged a bit, because I was wanting to get on to solving the mystery. When in fact that’s secondary to understanding people. I struggled with the character, Diane. She was just downright unpleasant and I wanted to slap her. She was rude and I didn’t like her. But as the story went along I came to understand her more. I really liked the characters Hazel and Meghan and their loving and caring relationship. Another likeable character was Sean. I liked how he lived out his Christian faith. I greatly appreciate it when the Gospel message is woven in to a book by a Christian author. For those of you who love solving mysteries, don’t worry, you’ll get to the bottom of what happened to Maggie in due time. That part of the book was interesting too. I wish it had been a bigger part of the story. But all in all, I recommend Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer. There were times reading it was painful because of the bitterness, hurt and anger the characters were dealing with. But it caused me to reflect on my own life and relationships. I went through a range of emotions as I read this book. I found it hopeful in that characters grew and changed overtime and you saw the Lord at work in their lives. I love finding an author whose work is new to me. Not only did I get to enjoy Kim Vogel Sawyer’s newest book Bringing Maggie Home, but now I can go back and read her earlier books. I would like to thank Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Publishers for the opportunity to read Bringing Maggie Home for free. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.
I have yet to pick up a book by this author that I didn’t enjoy and this book is no exception. It’s got a mystery but it’s not a mystery novel. It’s got some romance but it’s not a romance novel. It’s about family and mistakes and redemption and faith and love and mystery and even a little romance. It’s about losing something and finding it. A sister, a relationship, and even faith. Three generations of women with their own buried hurts and awkward coping mechanisms that rediscover faith and love and family. That’s what this book is about. “You know what they say about a three-strand cord – it’s not easily broken.” Can this family filled with old hurts, older secrets, and a heap of resentment come together? Let’s dive into the reasons that, while I love this book, it’s only a 4 star review. There were just a couple of things that made it difficult to fall into the book and just enjoy. It built over the course of the story but in the first part there were things. The flashbacks to different times were awkward sometimes. They were brushed in and out when it felt intrusive. Some of them didn’t even fully explain until later in the story. They definitely helped build the story forward but… I was always put off a bit with the way the story changed views between the three women but the ‘voice’ didn’t really change. I would have to look back to the header to ensure who was actually telling the story. It cleared up as well as the story progressed but it was a tad frustrating. Last but not least, and less about the rating but more about full disclosure, was the pace. The story built the relationships and all they were fraught with, through the bulk of the story with the ‘mystery’ a backdrop. When the mystery actually came to fruition it was break neck speed and so easily cleared up. A 70-year-old mystery was cleared with a couple of visits and a well-timed search warrant. All that aside this book was all the things I mentioned above woven into a story that could handle it. Mystery, romance, family, etc. This story was so complex and well woven that it was seamless. The faith, and lack thereof, was so integrated into the story that it would not have been near as good as a mainstream book. Doable, not near as good. The family dynamics, the over and under compensating with each generation, the old hurts and secrets, were amazingly well-developed and so strongly tied into the cords of this story that I can’t find fault. The piece de resistance was of course the use of my signature exclamation. Twice, and only twice, have I come across the phrase ‘good gravy’ in a book. Please, we all know that I couldn’t communicate without some variation of those two little words. That alone earns this book a place of honor. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Blogging for Books. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
Bringing Maggie Home" by author Kim Vogel Sawyer made me cry as I read it. Sometimes I was happy sometimes I was sad. I cannot begin to explain what a wonderful story this is. It is a story of faith, family and love. I cannot say anymore without giving away the story but I recommend this as highly as I can. Be ready to not be able to put it down once you start reading it. I give this book a 5/5. I was given this book by Litfuse Publicity Group and all opinions are mine.
This has to be one of my favorite books of the year. I loved it. It made me laugh a lot and then cry . I did not want to put this book down. Hazel, Diane and Meghan are three generations of one family. Meghan is injured and goes to her grandmothers(Hazel ) to recuperate. Diane, Meghan's mother, comes also to visit. These three women love each other but have some issues with each other. At this time, Diane and Meghan, learn that Hazel had a sister who had disappeared 70 years ago. Each of these women must learn to trust in God and have faith. I received a copy of this book from bloggingforbooks for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
I have read many of Kim Vogel Sawyer’s novels, all of which had been based in the Old Order Mennonite community. Bringing Maggie Home is her first non-Old Order Mennonite novel. I believe it is Vogel Sawyer’s best yet. Within just a few pages I was captivated by the character of Hayzoo Mae (Hazel) and her younger sister Maggie. Ten-year-old Hazel had been instructed by her mother to pick berries to make Father’s favorite dessert for his birthday. Her mother also wanted her to take three-year-old Maggie along. Hazel was distracted for just a minute and when she turned around, Maggie was gone. The story picks back up almost seventy years later with Maggie never having been found. The disappearance affected Hazel to the degree, she has alienated herself from her own daughter, Diane. However, Diane’s daughter, Meghan, who happens to be a cold-case agent, has a close bond with her grandmother, Hazel. An automobile accident causes Meghan to take a six-week leave of absence to recuperate. All three generations of women find themselves together. Once the secret is out about Hazel’s guilt over the disappearance of Maggie almost seventy years ago, will the three women be able to solve the mystery and heal their relationship? This is a story of torn relationships, forgiveness, and healing. Many twists occur in the plot to reach the conclusion. I received and ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
This novel was so intriguing, so captivating, that it made me do something that I haven’t done in quite a long time…it made me stay up into the wee hours of the morning reading it!!! That’s right. I could not set this book down and go to sleep. I had to find out what really happened in the past to Hazel Mae’s sister! And even though I was so very tired the next day (which is why I don’t usually stay up late reading anymore) I was happy I did, because this book was worth it! These characters were very interesting and there are quite a few flashbacks to the past, which I enjoyed a lot. The author switched between the three generations of DeFord women showing things from their perspectives in rotating chapters. This took a little getting used to at first. I had to keep reminding myself which woman’s viewpoint I was reading through. But, once I got that straight, I appreciated seeing how each woman viewed things. This story really grabbed me. There was a very, very light romance flowing through it, however, that is not the main objective of this novel. The family relationship, letting go of animosity, realizing who God really is, and solving the mystery of Maggie’s disappearance propelled the story line and made this a book I truly enjoyed. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Bringing Maggie Home is another great read by Kim Vogel Sawyer. It is a little different than what I am used to by her. However, this book just proves how talented Of an author she truly is. She can tackle any genre, content, or storyline, and still have that signature "Kim Vogel Sawyer" style. Bringing Maggie Home did not disappoint me in any way. It is a beautiful story of hope, faith, and forgiveness. If a reader is like me and gets into the emotions of their books, then they need to get their tissues ready. A wonderful, inspirational read. Loved it! One of my favorite books of the year. 100 stars. I received this book from the author, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
So, I will confess: it's been awhile since I read a Kim Vogel Sawyer book. Like eons ago. But,when I saw this book available and read the blurb, I knew it was one I could not pass up! I definitely made the right choice for sure, as it was like coming home from a long stay in a foreign country. Her writing style was breathtakingly stunning in this emotionally moving, sometimes suspenseful book. I loved the women in this book. They each stole a piece of my heart and became like family to me. I loved that feeling. I loved the way Ms. Sawyer created this story with 3 generations of stong willed, stubborn women. The mystery she added to the mix and the cold case of Maggie's story was incredibly done. It was the perfect blend of emotions for me! If you are looking for a fast-paced, laugh out loud novel, don't pick up this book. If you want a book that will grip your soul, twist it, taking it on the most incredible roller coaster ride (the only way I will ever get on a roller coaster!), then this book, filled with messages of longing, hope, desperation and learning to lean on God to show the way, will be the perfect one for you! Ms. Sawyer's latest book is definitely a top read of 2017 for me and gets the highest of 5 stars! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging For Books and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*
Have a large box of tissues beside you as you read Bringing Maggie Home. I've read 95% of the books Kim Vogel Sawyer has had published and this one is the best so far. I cried through the last 20 pages of the book and could hardly see through my tears. The lives of the three women, Hazel, Diane, and Meghan, are so real and touching it was hard to put the book down and sleep. This book deals with the search for Hazel's missing sister, Maggie, who disappeared when she was three years old while the two sisters were blackberry picking in Cumpton, AR. As a result of Maggie's disappearance, 10-year-old Hazel's life is forever scarred and affects her own daughter's life, Diane, as well as her granddaughter, Meghan. Kim handles the topic of dysfunctional families in such a way that leaves hope in the heart of the reader that their own families could be healed. I received an advanced reader copy of Bringing Maggie Home for review purposes. My review is a reflection of my honest appraisal of Kim Vogel Sawyer's work, Bringing Maggie Home.
Deserves 10⭐️. I honestly don't know where to begin to describe how wonderful this book is. I have been a long time fan of MS. Sawyer, but this is the icing on the cake. The intricate weaving of the story and amazing characters that speak to your heart and soul make this a must read. This is a generational story of mother, daughter, and granddaughter and how a mistake from the past shapes and defines their lives. Hazel Mae must confront her past and let go of a long hidden secret in order for God to work and bring healing and restoration to them. Faith is shown in such an honest way and comes full circle in such a way that leaves you weeping. I love this quote from Hazel Mae to Meghan, "Sweetheart, there are going to be lots of times in life when people call you names or try to convince you you're something you're not. You have to be strong enough to ignore and be true to yourself. That's called respecting yourself and it's very important. People who respect themselves make wise decisions." I could go on and on, but instead I'll say run don't walk to your nearest bookstore and purchase, as you won't be disappointed. This is a book you will want to keep and reread from your favorites shelf. I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Three generations affected by one tragedy. When Meghan visits her grandmother to recover from an accident that leaves her ankle broken and in a cast, she isn’t expecting her mother to answer the door. Determined to make the most of her time with her beloved grandmother, Meghan resigns herself to playing the peacemaker between her mom and grandmother. Meghan has also brought with her photos, memories, and plans to create a scrapbook of her visits with Grandma Hazel through the years. When she digs out a box of photos her grandmother told her about, Meghan and her mom, Diane, learn a secret Hazel has been keeping for almost eighty years. She had a sister who went missing on her watch. Kim Vogel Sawyer explores relationships and how they shape us in her newest release. Hazel’s life turned upside down when Maggie disappeared. Her parents changed and her own fear of losing someone else she loved smothered her daughter Diane. So Diane raised her daughter in opposition to the way she was raised. As these three women discover that love is expressed in different ways, Meghan is determined to give her grandmother closure as far as Maggie is concerned. As a cold case detective, she has unique skills—and a faithful partner—to help find out what happened to Maggie. The combination of the women’s relationships, the tension of them all living together, and they mystery surrounding Maggie that grows throughout the book combined to not only engage me to the point it was hard to put the book down but also examine my own relationships that aren’t quite what I want them to be. I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
I've always enjoyed Ms. Sawyer's historical novels so I was very excited to read this modern story. The story revolves around Hazel whose sister Maggie went missing when Hazel was 10, her daughter Margaret Diane who goes by Diane, and Hazel's granddaughter Meghan. There are conflicts in their relationships that are very relate-able as as their personalities. It is easy to think of someone in one's own life that resembles one of the characters. As they spend time together trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Maggie, they have opportunities to look inward and outward at their own lives. I love stories that take us back in time as well as the current time and Ms. Sawyer has done a great job of that with this novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction with both the modern and historical aspects. If I had one complaint, it would be the characters' belief that individuals who might go out for a beer after work with friends or who would spend time in casinos are not "good Christians." That is just not true and is sad that people believe that. I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.