The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

by Jenny Wingfield
4.6 93


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The Homecoming of Samuel Lake 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
SusieReads More than 1 year ago
"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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 !!!
Nellie Harris More than 1 year ago
Most heartwarming book I've read in long time Guaranteed Goose Bumps.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't enjoyed a book quite as much as i enjoyed this one in a long while. Truly a great read. Make sure you have time though... it is almost impossible to put down once you start reading. I actually had to call in late to work!
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
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!
VirtuousWomanKF More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Gotta-readHH More than 1 year ago
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.
PoCoKat More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. I havent read one this good in a long time. I think I will remember it forever. The characters are well built the plot is intriging. Wonderful story.....
CherishD More than 1 year ago
Beautiful writing, stellar editing...and a story that pulls you in so deep you get lost in it. This ran the gamut of family bonds, faith, romance...and heart wrenching, terrible moments. Loved, loved this one! 
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting characters. Definately worth a read.
Ronda Lawry More than 1 year ago
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.
susan568SW More than 1 year ago
I started this book and could not put it down. The story keeps you going with every turn of the page.
topcitydiva More than 1 year ago
I could hardly put this book down. Wonderful debut book by Jenny Wingfield. Wingfield does a good job of captivating the reader in this tale of good vs evil. This is an emotionally charged book, with several breathtaking moments, and one moment that left me sobbing for thirty minutes (the only time I put the book down). This is some of the best storytelling I've read in years and the book has the potential of becoming a great movie. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I find myself reading mystery/detective stories but this was an excellent book. Well written, great storyline and characters. Did not see that ending coming. A must read, for all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looking for other books but can't find any. Highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this story Laughed & cried
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book so much. You just fall in love with the characters. I highley recommend it. I didn't want the story to end. I will read this book again many times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book-I couldn't put it down!