Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award Winner
The choices you make determine who you are. Not no mark."
Lochiel Ogle was born with a red-wine birthmark—and it put her life in jeopardy from the moment she entered the world. Mountain folks called it "the mark of the devil," and for all the evil that has plagued her nineteen-year existence, Lochiel is ready to believe that is true. And the evil surely took control of the mind of the boy who stole her as an infant, bringing her home for his mother to raise.
Abused and abandoned by the only people she knows as family, Lochiel is rescued by a peddler and given the first glimpse of love she has ever known. The truth of her past is gradually revealed as is the fact that she is still hunted by a brother driven to see her dead. Unsure if there's anyone she can truly trust, Lochiel is faced with a series of choices: Will she continue to run for escape or will she face her past and accept the heartbreaking secrets it reveals? Which will truly free her?
Set in the wild and beautiful Appalachian Mountains of nineteenth-century East Tennessee, Liar's Winter is an unflinching yet inspirational exploration of prejudice and choice.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
About the Author
Cindy K. Sproles is the author of devotions published in newspapers across the country and a teacher at Christian writers conferences. She spent her formative years showing off her beloved Appalachian Mountains to others, and she and her family still live in the mountains of East Tennessee. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com.
Read an Excerpt
Summer's Mountain, 1893
"Come on, Devil's daughter. Let me see that demon." Gerald rested the point of his knife just under my eye. I didn't dare twitch. "That Devil marked you when you was born. Burned his mark on that cheek and neck." He eased the knife down my cheek and settled at my throat. "You know, Lochiel, I've often wondered if that mark would cut off. Wonder if we could skin you like a rabbit. What do you think?" I couldn't stop the tremble that crawled up my spine. Gerald often goaded me, taunted me. Sometimes I lashed back with my tongue, other times I just never opened my mouth, never sayin a word. Can't be sure which way made him maddest, but he'd never drawed a knife on me. "Come on, let me see that demon. Show me!"
I could feel the fear in me turnin to anger. I could taste the bitterness like bile crawlin up my throat and into my mouth. If the Devil really was in me, he was hankerin to get out. My mark burned hot.
Then Gerald laughed and flicked his knife away, slid it into his belt. My hand flew to my neck and came away with a tiny drop of blood on my finger.
"That red 'bout matches your face."
One, two, three. Walk away, Lochiel Ogle. Just walk away. But I couldn't. Seems I'd spent so much time listenin to everbody tell me what to do that I couldn't even hear myself no more.
Without me givin it a second thought, one hand clutched his arm and squeezed and the other struck out and clawed his face, scrapin away skin. I gasped and drew back.
Poppy wasn't gonna like that I'd laid a hand to his boy. Never mind that his boy was a grown man.
For a second, Gerald's eyes glassed over. He looked confused, hurt.
Like he was a youngin again. Then they turned icier than the wind whippin round us. He wheeled around. To go tattle, I reckoned, just like a youngin. Might as well finish gatherin the laundry before Momma started hollerin for me. The clothes was done froze solid.
"Come on. Turn around, Devil girl."
I spun on my heels. A rock the size of a melon smashed into the side of my head. My knees grew weak and a curtain of darkness slowly covered my eyes. I felt my head droop to my chest and the cold bite of the winter snow as my cheek hit the ground.
* * *
My jaw ached and I could only open my right eye. Overhead hung a boulder just wide enough to shelter me. A small fire smoldered a few steps away. I raised myself up on my elbows, but that small movement made it feel like the ground was spinnin under me.
I come into this world with this purplish-red mark coverin the side of my face and neck, and there was nothin I could do to change it. I knew from the time I bent over the edge of the riverbank and seen my reflection in the crystal-clear water, this curse that covered my face would be my death. Creamy-colored skin, long black curls, golden eyes, and that ... that horrid mark.
The Devil'd marked me. Leastways, that's what Poppy and Momma told me. Satan burned his mark on me before I was born, so they called me the Devil's daughter.
"You shoulda died. Shoulda been kilt." Momma never missed a chance to remind me I was a stray picked up outa the woods. I'd been left there to die by my real momma. Left there to be eaten by wolves.
A blanket laid heavy on me. Heavier than any I'd ever felt before. I pushed it aside. My head throbbed. I put my hand to it and yelped. A shot of pain was a hard reminder of the rock. My hair was plastered to my head. I took my hand away and saw red on my fingers, remembered the knife. Even with the cold, a trickle of blood dripped over my marked cheek. Blood never seemed to clot over that mark. Was it the heat of hell that seeped from it? I felt a pang of sorrow over what I'd done. I didn't mean to hurt Gerald. He and Momma and Poppy was the only family I knew. And now here I was, left out to die again.
The ground slowly came to a standstill. "Poppy? Poppy, where are you?" The wind whipped and danced around the ledge, whistlin an eerie melody.
I crawled to my feet. Not a soul in sight. Nothin but the tips of the summits liftin like fingers through the foggy mist.
My voice echoed off the summit.
"Aaghh!" I beat my fists against the rock ledge. The pain in my chest felt like someone had ripped me clean down the middle with a knife. And my spirit broke. Shattered into little pieces all over that mountainside.CHAPTER 2
Momma's words dug into my soul like a dog scrabblin at the ground for a rat. They was nothin but an echo, comin back at me over and over. "You oughta be grateful Poppy saved you. You woulda been killed. So, you pray hard the Devil hisself don't come lookin for you. 'Cause from the day you was born, your soul belonged to the Devil. We tried to save you even after he had done marked you as his." She was relentless, wavin a cross all round my head. Over and over sayin them same words.
Fear crawled under my covers at night and nearly took my breath while I waited for Satan to slither into the loft and eat my soul, layin claim to me.
I scooped a handful of snow and pressed it into an icy ball. Cover my eye or bite into it? I was thirsty, so I bit. The dampness of the snow quenched my thirst, icy water runnin down my throat. Despite the cold, I sweated under my threadbare coat.
A neat pile of sticks and arm-sized branches lay to one side of the tiny fire. Shoved into the crevice of the rock overhang was a bag.
On my hands and knees, I made my way to the leather bag. Maybe Gerald had an ounce of conscience after all. Leavin me somethin. But it seemed odd the one who wanted me dead would leave me a nibble of hope. Maybe Poppy left it.
I grabbed hold and opened it. Bread and potatoes. I wanted to cry, but considerin the cold, I decided it was best to keep my eyes dry lest they freeze shut. On the ground, a set of tracks, boots bigger than my feet, marked the mud. I wondered if Gerald had hauled me up here. He surely wouldn't have built me a fire, though, seein how he wanted me dead. Poppy, most likely.
Maybe Poppy felt bad for what Gerald had done and felt some shame. He wouldn't want me dead. Poppy cared some, or I thought he did.
The breeze cut across the gap, tearin clean through me. That's the way it is on the mountain unless you're lucky enough to be on the side that turns its back to the wind. Them hills can shelter a body or open them up to be froze solid.
I fingered the spotty portions of ankle-deep snow. Another month 'til spring. The clouds hung heavy. I remember Poppy tellin me these mountains was called Smoky for a reason. On days like this, a body could look across the pass and see a smoky mist of clouds risin so thick you could scratch lines in them.
I pressed my hand over my good eye and shaded a clouded sun. If I could just get my bearings and figure out where the sun sat in the sky, I could get a good idea of the time. From where I stood I couldn't tell east from west but I knew from the sun hoverin overhead it was midday.
"Looks to be close to noon."
The voice boomed from behind a stand of trees and I jumped like a scared cat.
A tall, lanky man stepped into sight, his arms filled with firewood. Jet-black hair streaked with silver hung to his shoulders and the weathering in his face put him about Poppy's age. He leaned and spit a stream of amber juice long as his arm.
"You tryin to figure the time? That's good. Good to see you're up and about." The man came closer. "Cat got your tongue?"
He eased the wood to the ground and untied a dead rabbit from his belt.
I stared as he worked his way around the fire, jabbin sticks into the gaps between the logs. Close to noon. It had been drawin on supper time when I was takin down the wash.
"You was out for a spell. I was beginnin to figure you wouldn't never come round."
He heaved up a large log and placed it in the center of the flame. Embers jumped toward the greyish sky. The fire gnawed at the bark, sparkin and risin high enough to warm my numbed hands. "We need to build this fire up. Get plenty of hot coals to last when night falls."
He took hold of a branch and brushed away the snow. "Don't just stand there starin. Clear the snow so the ground'll heat and dry a bit. Lest you wanna be sleepin on a froze ground again."
Snow spotted the dirt and the midday sun teased us with just enough warmth to fool us. Liar's winter — the time when the mountain fights with winter and spring not knowin whether to warm the ground or chill a body to the bone. More times than not, a spring rain would eat up a winter storm and the sky would spit both at the ground. When them storms come, the elements fight 'til one wins out over the other. If the snow won, it would be a deep, wet snow — heavy on the trees, droppin limbs to the ground just to show its might. If it be rain, then it would be a toad choker.
"I see you and your brother had a brawl."
"How d'you know 'bout me and Gerald?"
"Whole mountain knows the legend. A family raisin the Devil's daughter. Keepin her hid away. Course that's just legend. Never knew it was true. Least not 'til I seen her with my own eyes." He kicked a lit log closer to the fire. "I was passin by with my goods when I come upon your little brawl. Kept outa sight. Family feuds ain't none of my business."
"You ain't screamed and run yet. How come?" I crossed my arms and tucked my hands in my armpits. "Poppy always told me if folks saw me they'd either run or turn to kill me."
The man pushed his hat back, his smile as warm as the fire. "You seen many folks?"
He nodded. "A few ain't many. Don't give a body a lot to judge on, now does it?"
I wasn't sure what to say.
"Well, I reckon everbody has a story." He added a new log to the fire.
"Ain't my place to judge. Leastways, that's what my momma always taught us youngins. I figure every soul deserves a fair treatin."
I stepped closer. "You ain't blind are you? I mean, you can see this here mark that plagues me?"
"My eyes is pretty crisp. I can spot a doe huddled in a thicket." He laid down an armload of brush under the overhang, scattered it out a bit.
"Well, ain't you scared? Afraid I'll hex you? Maybe you ought not come too close. I don't know my powers yet."
"I ain't too bothered by you. Don't got much to be scared of." He continued to pack and spread brush on the pile. Then he lifted his foot and stepped into the center of it, crushin it and pressin it down.
"This will make you a warm nest tonight, and we'll pray to the good Lord for rain and not snow." He nodded toward the black cloud hoverin over the summit.
I didn't know him from a hole in the wall. He coulda been a bootlegger for all I knew. A murderer. Rustler. Poppy warned me against the dangers in the world. Especially harborin this mark and all. He said strangers'd just as soon slaughter me as wait for me to conjure up the Devil. That's why I had to hide whenever someone happened by, watchin 'em through the cracks in the shed.
"You got a name?" He tinkered with a stick in the fire.
I pressed a handful of snow against my swollen eye. "I reckon I can ask you the same question. But seein as how you know all about me, I figure you already know my name."
The man stuffed a wad of tobacco between his lip and jaw. He wasn't ignorin me, but he wasn't answerin either. He worked the chaw around a bit, then spit. Still nothin.
I gathered another handful of snow. His silence rankled. My fist squeezed around that snow and I whipped it at his head. "Low-kill. That's how you speak my name. You got it? Lochiel."
The snow crumbled against his shoulder. "Well, Miss Lochiel. Name's Grubbs. Walton Grubbs. I live across the gap."CHAPTER 3
"You know, there is a lot in a body's name. My momma is part Cherokee and so she give me the Indian name Blue Water. Means free movin. So I reckon my name set me in life, bein as I'm a peddler and all."
"Your momma is Cherokee?" I'd heard Poppy talk about Indians. He told me stories about them campin on the other side of the ridge.
"Part. Her momma's womanhood was shared with a slave. That made my momma a Melungeon — Indian and slave mixed. And so it's passed on.
Been called a half-breed the biggest part of my life. But seein as I carry a wagon of goods, ain't many folks who turn me away. But you, on the other hand" — he pointed a finger at my face. The skin around his nails was cracked and rough from hard work — "you got a mark to contend with."
A burst of heat from within flamed from my face. The Devil in me tryin to work his way out. I tried to shoot fire from my eyes — that's what Gerald woulda called it — but I reckon my swollen shut eye stopped that from workin. "I've heard Poppy talk about half-breeds. You don't look no different."
"Blood that runs through the veins is still blood. It's the man that makes it different. I reckon you know about bein different, though. We're a lot the same."
"How do ya figure that? People call you the Devil too?"
Walton went to waggin his head from side to side. "Lawsey, no. Ain't nobody ever called me a devil, 'cept maybe my brother when I poked at him as a kid."
"There's two of you?" I raised a brow.
"Was. Not no more. My brother died of the fever a few years back." He hung his head.
I leaned toward the fire, facin my palms near the warmth of the flame. "Then I ain't seein no likeness betwixt the two of us."
He cocked his head and sighed. "If you have to know, the Cherokee ain't exactly the ripe pick for a neighbor. With a name like Blue Water, a body can't exactly hide from who they are. That's why I took on Walton. Folks can't tag me like a deer."
If there was one thing that held true amongst the mountain people, it was givin their youngins names that held some meaning. Momma said as much. She given Gerald his name 'cause he come out of the womb demandin to be king.
But my name — my name was meaningless. Like Momma just walked out on the mountain and made up a word to call me. Lochiel. Empty. Lost. Nothing. Alone ...
I'd been cryin as Momma, Poppy, and Gerald climbed into the wagon to ride into Etowah. I reckon I was about five or so. Poppy'd roped me to the porch post so I couldn't wander off.
"This here is for your own good." He looped the rope around my waist and knotted it several times. "Don't you dare take that off," he'd said.
"This way you don't wander off where you ain't safe." Poppy always made it his business to keep me safe.
I'd never dared mess with them knots either, not that time or any other.
"You stay close to the cabin," he'd said. "This here rope is long enough for you to get to the outhouse and water trough. You can get in the house, and bar the door if you stand on the chair." Eventually I didn't need to stand on the chair. "You'll be safe tied to the house. Momma left you biscuits. You'll be fine. Remember this is for your own good. People won't take to you bearin that mark."
I'd sobbed into the air and wailed like a wolf at the moon, but Poppy'd just pressed his finger against my mouth real gentle-like and shushed me.
"Now, Lochiel," he'd said. "You get in that house. And remember, there's folks who has things a lot worse than you. You remember that. You got a roof over your head, clothes, and food."
So maybe this was one of them folks that had it worse than me — bein a half-breed and all. I stole a glance Walton's direction. The Devil in me cooled. "I'm sorry. I didn't know."
"And now that you do, does it change your mind about me?" He handed me a chunk of hard bread.
"Course not." How could my mind be changed when I didn't hardly know him at all? He was actin gentle. But maybe he was just plumb crazy. Either way, he wasn't the least bit scared.
I'd finally figured it was Walton who'd drug me to shelter and built me a fire, not Gerald or Poppy.
He ran his finger between his gum and jaw then scraped out the chaw of tobacco and tossed it to the edge of the fire. The coals sizzled as they ate the damp spit.
"There you have it. I think no less of you because of that mark on your face. We are alike."
I bit hard into the bread, my eyes fixed on the fire's flame. I still couldn't figure on how we were alike but the idea had a kindness in it, so I didn't disagree again.
Walton cleaned the rabbit carcass and hung it on a stick over the flame. The scent of fresh-cooked meat made my mouth water.
He grabbed his knife and swiped it clean against his trousers; then in one swift motion, he split the rabbit in half.
"Here." He handed me the stick with my portion. "You need to eat, put some meat on your bones."
At home, Momma'd feed the meat to the men. I got taters, kale, and bread. As I held that stick, I felt the weight of the man's kindness. It felt burdensome somehow.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Liar's Winter"
Copyright © 2017 Cindy K. Sproles.
Excerpted by permission of Kregel Publications.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read this book straight through!
Cindy Sproles is a new to me author and she brings us an amazing story with this book! When I sat down and opened the pages of this book, I was instantly hooked. I felt every emotion of the characters, every heart wrenching moment within the pages. These characters were wonderfully chiseled and absolutely took my breath away. Lochiel's character is stunning. She is has so many secrets to deal with and so much pain. Lochiel will work her way into your heart, and you'll want to reach out and wrap her up in a hug! Ms. Sproles writing style is unique and a fresh breath of air for this reader! This book will captivate the reader and take them on an emotional roller coaster ride, leaving them wanting more! This book is definitely worthy of 4 stars and two thumbs up. You don't want to miss it! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*
Liar’s Winter is a powerful story written by an equally powerful storyteller. Cindy K. Sproles writes with a fresh voice in Christian fiction and spins a mesmerizing, character-driven tale as hauntingly beautiful as its Smoky Mountain setting. From the time in my youth when I read Catherine Marshall’s Christy, I’ve been drawn to Appalachian settings, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a combination of elements – for instance, the raw beauty of an untamed land – isolated, an area unto itself – and the naiveté, superstition and innocence of its people. The lyrical voice of Sproles captures the essence of late nineteenth-century Appalachia and its people in this story of faith and redemption. The dialect and ungrammatical language of the mountain people is easy to follow, even bringing back memories of my own north Georgia ancestry. If a character has ever stolen my heart, it’s Lochiel. With her horrifying background of abuse, brokenness and abandonment, concepts of love, trust, tenderness and caring are unimaginable to her. Liar’s Winter is raw and gritty, just like Lochiel’s life. But contrasted with that is Lochiel’s moving response to honesty, compassion, and grace. I’m more of a fan of drama than suspense and adventure; but although those elements are present, they fit the storyline. Strong secondary characters like Walton, Edna and Silas also captured my heart. Liar’s Winter is a story of prejudice and choices; it’s not a light read, but a compelling and memorable one. Highly recommended. I was provided a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Liar’s Winter is a story that took me by surprise. From the prologue to the epilogue this story drew me in and had me reading in a rapid pace. Set in the Appalachian’s in the early 1900’s we are given a glimpse of a young woman’s life, one that has been abused and lied to for almost 19 years. One where superstitions and hate run deep, deeper than the birthmark that has marked Lochiel (Low kill) believing that she is worthless and the devil’s daughter. Lochiel was rescued by a kind man who begins to reveal the truth of whom she is and where she is from. This man and his mother treat her as though she matters, with kindness and love and show her about a God who loves her even more. I felt her impatience as the truth was slowly revealed to her and she had to weigh that with the lies she always believed. I wanted these kind folks to tell Lochiel her entire story in one sitting, but as the story unfolded I saw as the author did that that would not be best for Lochiel. Receiving the truth had Lochiel hanging on to the lies she believed her whole life for a little bit longer as the ramifications of the truth swirled inside of her head. I saw so many life lessons in this story and marveled with Lochiel as she finally saw who she really was. This was my first read by author Sproles and I found it unique in its setting and authenticity in the characters. I received a copy of this book for free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
Monday, September 25, 2017 Liar's Winter: An Appalachian Novel by Cindy K. Sproles, © 2017 An incredibly beautiful story woven in the truth of revealed overcoming love. 1893 East Tennessee ~ Lochiel Ogle has been hidden away from Love, unaware of the touch of life that will enfold her and expose beauty. Climb the mountains of Appalachia and view the sunrises and sunsets high above the valley glens beneath. The movement in this story will bring you along, sad to leave them behind at the end. The author brought me to tears with her touching words of vision and hope displayed, lovingly given and honored bringing joy to the bearers. I would love to read a sequel to this story! The secondary characters have been robbed as well. Gerald Ogle hoped to revive his mother by his gift, but her life dwindles and so does his dream of restoring what has been lost. A disparity of hearts torn with anger brings this family to ruin. Choice. Bitterness or forgiveness shaping a life affects those distant or near. Lives interwoven bring release or bondage by their presence. Walton Grubbs has never given up hope of restoring what is his. As he travels the hillsides, he becomes beloved by those he meets and is trusted. This has a lot of bearing on the story as being associated with him brings you into places that would not be opened to you without his proven character. Step out on the porch early in the foggy morning. So vividly written, I enjoyed the characters who displayed remarkable insight into receiving another. The assurance of God's presence in their midst enables them to move ahead to remarkable outcomes of mercy and grace. ***Thank you, Kregel Publications, for inviting me on this book tour for Cindy K. Sproles' novel, Liar's Winter, and sending me a copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
I received a copy of LIAR’S WINTER by Cindy K. Sproles from Kregel in exchange for an honest review. It is an Appalachian novel. This is such an intense book! I knew it was going to be action filled, but I didn’t expect so much action. I was engrossed from the first page to the last, and then when that ending came – wow. The journey of the main character - Lochiel – is raw. The story transports you to the past when superstition ruled the mountains, and it opens your eyes to God’s love. There were some moments when I thought I would have to put the book down as I read what Lochiel had to live through, but then the ending made up for it. You’ll have a smile on your face and a renowned trust in God. This is a great read! I highly recommend it if you are looking for historical Christian fiction with nonstop action.
Like MERCY’s RAIN, LIAR’S WINTER chronicles a difficult time in history and in the life of a little girl. Set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1800s—a time when people grappled to survive—Lochiel Ogle is raised in a dark world of hatred and fear. Literally marked since birth, Lochiel is stolen away from her mother and raised by a family that treats her like she is the plague incarnate. Called the Devil’s child because of the red-wine birthmark on her face, Lochiel is abused physically, emotionally, and psychologically. She is brainwashed into believing she is evil and constantly told she is worthless and has the ability to hex others. When her brother beats her, and leaves her to die, a stranger rescues her. Instantly Lochiel’s world changes. She is treated with kindness and compassion for the first time in her life. Suspicious why strangers would treat her so well, she soon finds out Walton and Edna aren’t strangers at all. What follows is a story of discovery and hope. Lochiel learns of her past and looks forward to a new future. Unfortunately, even with people who love her and want to protect Lochiel, the world might never be a safe place for her. When her life is threatened once again, she must be spirited away to safety. There are both pros and cons to Ms. Sproles artistic style. Though the writing vernacular is authentic to the time period, it takes some getting used to, and the darkness of the subject matter can weigh heavy on the reader. However, if you can get past those snags, and allow yourself to attach to the characters, the story moves quicker. This isn’t a series I would necessarily recommend to the typical fiction reader. Someone with an interest in the historical value would appreciate the authenticity, but for the average reader, it might be a stumbling block. Book provided for review purposes.
"Kindness if from the soul. It's gived 'cause it can't help but be gived." That about sums up Liar's Winter by Cindy K. Sproles who has given us the first novel in her Appalachian series. It is about judging people simply based on their looks without looking at their heart. For poor Lochiel Ogle, she has had to endure the cruelest kind of abuse at the hands of those who raised her. Being found by Gerald, her 'brother' and given to his Momma in hopes it might help with the loss and grief she had been experiencing but all the babies she had only to lose them moments after being born. However that was not the case, because Lochiel was different. She had a mark that covered her check down to her neck and the entire family made sure to tell Lochiel that it was the mark of the devil. It was the reason why bad things were blamed on her that happened to the family. Even losing more babies after Lochiel came to live with them. They kept her locked away whenever the family had to go to town. Her only boundaries were those self imposed on her by the rope that her Poppy tied to her waist to keep her from wandering off. If you think that was cruel, you might just want to see how Gerald treated her when others weren't looking and of course hiding the blame. Gerald wanted Lochiel dead and he would try numerous times to get rid of her, until one day she ran. She ran with the help of a strange man named Walton, who was a half-breed white man whose father was an Indian. He would help Lochiel hide from Gerald even if it meant constantly being on the run and never far enough ahead for Gerald to find her. At this time of the year she wasn't sure if the weather would turn to more snow or spring was just around the corner, thus the name Liar's Winter. Now living with Walton and his mother Edna, she found what kindness, faith and love were really. Those terms she had been led to believe were a far cry from how she had been raised, like an outcast, someone different that had to be hidden from the world and no matter how she tried to believe she was good inside, she couldn't help understanding that she was forever marked by the devil and his imprint remained on her face where it would always be seen and thus judged in an instant as being worse than she was on the inside. It would take more love than she had ever known to change her life, if she could stay one step ahead of Gerald, who wanted her dead. I received Liar's Winter by Cindy K. Sproles compliments of Kregel Publications. There are so many good words of wisdom the reader will come across and like me, highlight or mark those places so when I need a kind or wise word in my own life I can find it. One of my favorites is, "You never know the hardships others carry. Looks is deceivin so you love and respect everybody. Even the ones who do you wrong." I reckon I couldn't have learned a stouter lesson, since I had walked in the shoes of one judged." Even Lochiel (pronounced Lo-Kill) learns something by the end of the novel about God is, "He give me eyes to see the best in folks, even when it looks bad. He give me love and I know now that love changes everything." Perhaps that is why the Bible reminds us that love is the greatest gift! It even outlasts time! I give this novel a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
If you only read one book this year (besides your Bible), PLEASE make it LIAR'S WINTER by Cindy K. Sproles. It is that good. In the Tennessee mountains in the late 1890s-early 1900s, folks were scared senseless of anyone born with a birthmark. They sincerely thought: "The devil marked you when you was born. Burned his mark on that cheek and neck." So poor, innocent Lochiel [pronounced lo-kill] Ogle was shamed and hidden all of her nineteen years. When her evil brother mistreated her for one too many times, and she fought back by scratching his face, Gerald then made it his mission in life to kill Lochiel. With the aid of strangers, she evades him most of the time, but a life on the run ain't much of a life. Along the way though, she learns there are truly kind people who love a God she's never known and cannot see, but He sure seems real to them. Maybe He is. "The words Miss Edna shared was words I felt needed to be remembered. Kindness is from the soul. It's gived 'cause it can't help but be gived. I marked those words in my heart." Lochiel is a marvelous young woman who tells her own story in a way that will place you right alongside her. Please go with her as she finds her way. She needs you to pull for her. LIAR'S WINTER is a magnificently written novel that will stay in your heart for a long, long time. Cindy Sproles is at the very top of my favorite authors list.