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In a desperate time, can Neva find forgiveness for a grievous wrong—and make room for hope?
Neva Shilling has a heavy load of responsibility while her husband travels to neighboring communities and sells items from his wagon. In his absence, she faithfully runs the Shilling Mercantile, working to keep their business strong as the Depression takes its toll, and caring for their twins.
When a wagon pulls up after supper, Neva and her children rush out—and into the presence of the deputy driving a wagon carrying three young children. The deputy shocks her with the news that Warren and his wife have died, insisting it was their last request that the three children go live with “Aunt Neva.”
Neva’s heart is shattered as she realizes that Warren’s month-long travels were excuses for visits with his secret family. She wants nothing more than to forget Warren, but can she abandon these innocent children to an orphanage? Yet if she takes them in, will she ever be able to see them as more than evidence of her husband’s betrayal and love them the way God does?
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Kim Vogel Sawyer is the highly acclaimed, best-selling author of gentle stories of hope such as What Once Was Lost and Through the Deep Waters. With more than one million books in print, Kim has garnered numerous awards including the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. She lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband Don. She enjoys travel, quilting, and spending time with her daughters and grandchildren.
Read an Excerpt
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Isaiah 4 0 : 2 9
Buffalo Creek, Kansas
September 30, 1936
Neva Gaines Shilling
Aromaticatic steam wisped around Neva's chin as she spooned up a bit of broth from the savory vegetable stew simmering on the Magic Chef range. She blew on the spoonful-three careful puffs of breath-then poured the broth into her mouth and held the warm liquid on her tongue for a moment before she swallowed. She gave a nod. Perfect. The beef bone had flavored the soup so well Warren might not even notice the absence of meat.
A light clack-clack carried from the adjoining dining room. Silverware meeting the walnut tabletop. She settled the lid on the kettle, turned down the flame under the pot to a wavering rim of blue, and called through the kitchen doorway to the dining room, "Belle, remember to set four places. Your father's due home tonight."
Neva's heart gave a joyful skip even as melancholy threatened. The days stretched so long and lonely during Warren's away weeks and seemed to race by when he was home. But weren't they blessed to own a successful business given the country's economic troubles? She shouldn't complain.
"Oh, goodie!" Belle's exclamation, accompanied by a girlish giggle,
made her sound much younger than her fourteen years. "Will he bring presents, do you think?"
Neva released a short chuckle. "Doesn't he always bring presents?"
Elaborate gifts-gifts that made the women in town look at her with longing and envy. But she always told them she'd be satisfied just to have her husband home every night, under her roof, instead of traipsing across Mitchell County in his gaily painted sales wagon. She meant it, too.
Belle peeked around the corner. “Should I set out the good plates then?”
They only used the good plates — a matching set of French Haviland china with delicate clovers of freshest green painted around the edges of the pure white dishware — for special occasions. But Warren’s return after a month on the road was reason enough for celebration.
“Yes,” Neva said, then frowned. “Mind you don’t chip the plates.” “Of course not, Momma.” The girl slipped away.
Neva crossed to the Frigidaire in the corner, the soles of her brown oxfords squeaking on the sparkling clean linoleum, and peeked into the glazed ceramic pitcher shaped like a little Dutch girl. Still half-full of milk, more than enough for their supper. Thank goodness Bud hadn’t drained the pitcher dry the way he’d been doing lately.
She shook her head in indulgence as she thought about her son’s voracious appetite. He must be entering a growth spurt. Would he be as tall as his father someday? Everyone said the twins resembled their mother, with slender builds, wavy nutmeg hair, hazel eyes, and narrow faces. Having Belle resemble her was fine, but she wouldn’t mind if Bud grew to be as tall and broad-shouldered as Warren. Such a handsome man, her Warren.
Hurry home, dear. I miss you . . .
She plucked out a bowl of butter and a fat jar of raspberry preserves from the icebox and glanced at the green-and-cream enamel clock ticking on the kitchen’s floral-papered wall. Almost seven. Bud would finish sweeping and straightening the store soon, and then — her pulse gave a flutter — Warren’s wagon would rattle up the alley. She hoped he wouldn’t be late.
The biscuits were done and waiting in the stove’s warming oven. As much as she loved the luxury of her six-burner, double-oven range — a Christmas gift from Warren last year — she’d learned the warming oven sometimes browned bread beyond recognition. Warren liked his biscuits feather light, not as firm as charcoal briquettes. And Neva always strove to please her husband in the little things. It was the least she could do, considering how she’d failed him in the biggest thing of all.
Belle breezed into the kitchen. “Momma — ” Bud, with a match caught in the corner of his mouth and wearing one of Warren’s castoff straw hats shadowing his eyes, thumped in on his sis- ter’s heels. “Ma ”
Neva burst out laughing. “You two . . .” They’d come into the world nearly on top of each other and fourteen years later still operated in synchronization. As she always did, Neva turned to Belle. “Ladies first.”
Bud scowled and folded his arms over his chest but kept his lips pressed together.
“The table’s all set with the good dishes and linen napkins. Should I use the candlesticks, too?” Her green-gray eyes sparkled. “It would be . . .” Belle hunched her shoulders and giggled. “Romantic.”
Bud rolled his eyes. “ ‘Romantic,’ she says. Been spending too many nickels at the picture show.”
Neva frowned at her son, but inwardly she agreed. Belle did tend to squander her weekly allowance at the movie theater. The picture shows, while entertaining, rarely depicted life as it was in reality. Belle was so naive, so trusting. The bigger-than-life images on the screen might be det- rimental to her. Neva intended to discuss the issue with Warren. She answered Belle. “The candles will let us save on the gaslights. So go ahead and set them out.”
Belle scurried off, her patent slippers pattering against the gleaming floorboards and her thick braid flopping against her spine.
“My turn now?”
Bud’s wry question pulled Neva’s attention to her son. “Yes.” She moved to the stove and picked up the wooden spoon, ready to give the thick stew another stir. If the bottom scorched, it would ruin the whole pot.
He pushed the hat to the back of his head, stuffed his hands into the pockets of his trousers, and scuffed across the floor toward her, his saunter- ing gait similar to Hopalong Cassidy’s. Neva swallowed a smile. Bud enjoyed the picture shows, too. “Just wanted you to know I found the place where that mouse’s been gettin’ in. Plugged it with a wad of steel wool. He won’t be chewing through any more cornmeal sacks.”
Neva clapped the lid into place and beamed at Bud. “What a relief !” Thanks to the little pest’s intrusion, they’d had to discard three twenty- pound sacks of finely ground meal — a sizable loss. “Your father will be so pleased.”
Pink splashed Bud’s face. “Think so?”
Smiling at him, Neva wiped her hands on her apron and then gripped his upper arms. “Of course! He’s always proud when you take care of things in the store.”
He shrugged. “Figuring out where a mouse came in isn’t so much.” She removed the match from his mouth and gave his chin a bump with her knuckles. “Such a thing to say. It’s a big thing, Bud — something a shopkeeper does to protect his goods. Just wait. Your father will tell you how important it was when he gets home.”
A rare, slow grin climbed Bud’s cheek.
“Now go get washed up. We’ll eat as soon as — ” The clatter of a wagon’s wheels carried from the alley through the open kitchen window. A smile captured Neva’s face, bringing a light laugh of pure joy with it. She dropped the match into the little metal holder on the windowsill and waved her hands at Bud. “That must be your father now. Get Belle, and we’ll go welcome him home.”
Neva followed Belle, Bud close behind, down the enclosed staircase to the store level and then up the hallway leading to the back door. Belle came to a sudden halt, and Neva had to grab the wall to keep from plow- ing into her daughter’s back. “Belle!” Belle whirled, disappointment tingeing her features. “It’s not Poppa.” Frowning, Neva peered through the square glass window. An un- familiar wagon piled high with various furniture pieces and crates sat in the yard.
Bud stared out and released a soft snort. “Looks like another drifter wanting to trade for supplies.” He straightened his shoulders and puffed out his chest. “Want me to handle it, Ma?”
“No, no.” The ruddy, big-boned man sitting on the wagon seat prob- ably wouldn’t respond well to a smooth-faced youth telling him they weren’t interested in a trade. She gave Belle a little nudge toward Bud. “You two go up. Wash your hands, Bud — and Belle, keep the stew from scorch- ing. I’ll take care of the customer.”
The pair trooped toward the staircase, and Neva stepped into the yard. The early-evening sun hovered above the horizon, casting long shad- ows over the wagon and its driver, but two lanterns hung from hooks at the front corners of the high-sided bed and sent a soft glow over the contents. Neva had been a shopkeeper long enough to recognize quality when she saw it. This man must have had a flourishing business at some time to afford such nice things. But no matter. Warren insisted on cash only for strangers to Buffalo Creek — no credit and no trades. Even when Warren was away, she honored her husband’s preference.
She steeled herself to deny the man’s request as she crossed to the edge of the wagon. “Good evening. May I help you?”
The man whipped off his cowboy-style hat and ran his hand through his thick, dark hair. “I hope so, ma’am. My name’s Jesse Caudel. I’m look- ing for Neva Gaines.”
She hadn’t been called Neva Gaines since she said “I do” to Warren more than fifteen years ago. But she wove her fingers together and nodded. “You’ve found her then.”
Mr. Caudel blew out a breath that held both relief and resignation. He left his hat on the wagon seat and slowly climbed down. Then he stood before her, feet widespread and hands resting at his waist. A silver star glinted on his left patch pocket. Not a drifter, but a law official. Worry began a wild dance in her stomach.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I have to tell you your brother and his missus passed away last week.”
Neva drew back. Brother? She didn’t have a brother. Or did she? She’d been told by the orphanage directors — a warm, wonderful couple she called Pa and Ma Jonnson — that she was an only child. But maybe they hadn’t known she had a brother. Or maybe she was the wrong Neva Gaines.
She sought a way to ask for more information without sounding as befuddled as she felt. “I . . . um . . .” Heat rose in her face.
Apparently the officer took pity on her, because his lips curved into a sad smile. “I know you’re probably plenty shocked.”
Bewilderment rather than shock plagued her, but she nodded anyway.
“They succumbed to botulism. It went pretty quick, so they didn’t suffer overmuch.”
Neva shuddered. Even though she didn’t know the people, she wouldn’t wish such an unpleasant passing on anyone. If they couldn’t be cured, she thanked God they hadn’t lingered.
Mr. Caudel went on, his tone low and compassionate. “His missus went first. When your brother knew he’d be joining her soon, he gave instruction for word to be sent to you, along with all his worldly possessions. Well . . .” He lowered his head, scuffing the toe of his boot in the dirt. “At least the possessions that weren’t sold to cover his debt. Sheriff ’s officials auctioned his store building in Beloit, his stock, and some of the furniture from his house. Even so, there was quite a bit left.” He gestured to the wagon.
Neva glanced across the wagon’s contents again. So the man wasn’t trading, he was delivering. From a deceased brother she didn’t even know she had. She turned a puzzled look on him. “Are you sure this is meant to come to me?”
He pulled a folded sheet of paper from his shirt pocket and held it out. “This says ‘Deliver to Neva Gaines at Main Street Mercantile, Buffalo Creek, Kansas.’ Is there another Main Street Mercantile in Buffalo Creek run by Neva Gaines?”
“N-no. Then . . . it’s true.” She needed to learn more about her brother who knew about her but had never made himself known to her. That could come later, when Warren was home. In the meantime where would she put everything? Their apartment above the store was already well fur- nished thanks to Warren’s extravagance, their barn barely accommodated Warren’s merchant wagon and horse, and they didn’t have room in the store for big items like bureaus and bedsteads. She stood speechless.
The man jammed the paper back into his pocket. “I’m sorry you didn’t know about your brother and sister-in-law’s service. For some reason he didn’t want you notified about the burial. But I can tell you most of the town showed up. The headstone carver even donated the stones for their graves. That’s how much everybody liked the Shillings.”
She shot him a startled look. “His name wasn’t Gaines?”
“No, ma’am. Shilling — Warren Shilling and his wife, Violet.” “Warren and his . . . ” Neva’s knees buckled.
“Whoa there!” Mr. Caudel caught her before she crumpled to the ground. He slipped his arm around her waist and guided her toward the back stoop. His hold on her could be considered brazen, but his firm, strong arm was too needed for her to protest the familiarity.
He eased her onto the little bench sitting next to the water pump and then hunkered in front of her. “Guess the meaning of it all finally caught up to you, huh? Do you need a drink?”
Their sweet well water couldn’t wash away the terrible pictures form- ing in her mind. “You said . . . Warren. Warren and . . .” She closed her eyes. Dear Lord, this is a nightmare. Warren — her Warren! — had an- other wife? And now he was dead? Bile rose in her throat. How would she tell Bud and Belle? What would she tell them? She couldn’t divulge the awful truth!
She gulped. “My b-brother — Warren — he had a store in Beloit?” The man remained crouched in front of her knees, his hands braced on either side of her hips as if ready to grab her if she toppled. “A nice one, right on the main street. And he also did some traveling in a merchant wagon.” He grimaced. “I kinda forgot. The merchant wagon and horse got sold, too. That wagon over yonder belongs to a liveryman from Beloit.”
She shifted her gaze to the wagon. Dusk had fallen, and from this angle the large wooden conveyance resembled a slumbering beast with yellow glowing eyes. She shivered.
Very slowly the man pushed to his feet but stayed close. He flicked a look left and right. “I’m not meaning to be unkind, but could you fetch your husband? I need to get this wagon unloaded and back to Beloit to- night if possible. I won’t be able to empty it by myself.”
Fetch her husband? Neva swallowed a hysterical laugh. She formed a sentence that pained her worse than anything ever had, even childbirth or having her womb removed from her body. “I’m a widow.”
“Oh.” Great consternation filled the simple utterance. He scratched his chin, eyeing the wagon. “Then you probably can’t . . .”
She tipped her head to look at him. Her head might have been filled with sand. Such effort it took to force her gaze upward. “No, I can’t unload the wagon.” Wild sobs pressed for release, but she pushed them down. She didn’t want any of the things Warren and his wife had left behind.
Mr. Caudel turned a frown on her. “Ma’am, how well did you know this brother of yours?”
Anguish twined through her. “Not well.” She clutched her stomach, nausea attacking. “Not well at all.”
He nodded, the movement slow, as if his head were weighted, too. For several seconds he stared at her, unblinking, his full lips set in a solemn line. Then he crooked a finger at her. “Can you c’mere? There’s some- thing . . . important . . . in the wagon you need to see.”
The hesitant way Mr. Caudel said “important” stirred Neva’s numb brain to life. She rose on quivering legs and scuffed across the yard beside him. He plucked one of the lanterns free of its hook and carried it to the rear of the wagon. Then he paused with one hand braced on the high gate, his expression grim.
“Ma’am, your brother gave instructions to send you his belongings, but also his — ” He clamped his lips tight and grimaced. “Well, let’s just let you see, huh?”
Neva stood unmoving while he set the lantern on the ground, unhooked the iron pins holding the gate in place, and eased the thick, unpainted wood gate downward. Heavy shadows turned everything in the wagon’s bed to gray lumps. He lifted the lantern. Its golden light illumi- nated the lumps, and Neva clapped her hands over her mouth to muffle her gasp. There, nestled together on a folded feather mattress like puppies in a litter, three children — a boy and two little pigtailed girls — sat staring with wide, uncertain eyes.
Mr. Caudel spoke softly, almost singsong, the way someone might try to calm a frightened animal. “This is Charley, Cassie, and Adeline Shilling — Warren and Violet’s youngsters. Warren said to take them to Aunt Neva. I guess that’s you.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book is over 300 pages, but it didn't seem that long at all. The author has obviously done a lot of research into the time and place, which adds a lot to the story. And the message is perfect. Nice!
Great story. I remember the stories I've heard about the Great Depression and what my grandparents experienced---this story drew you into the era and also into the difficult and painful situation that Neva found herself in. Her husband died and at the same time she learned he had this whole other life as well as a second wife and family tucked away. And when he died, he asked that she raise these children from this other family! She and her son really resisted their presence at first, but God worked on their hearts and attitudes and made them realize that those children, were innocent of any wrong and deserved to be loved and accepted like any other child. I really thought Neva would have come to this realization sooner, having been an orphan herself, but at the Times she was really self absorbed with herself and her birth children--- Bud the boy was a spoiled-rotten little brat.. anyhow... Wish I knew how things turned out for Caudel. I would love it if the author did a story surrounding him and this new path he is taking toward reconciliation with his adopted family...
I found the idea of this book to be completely fascinating. It was a good story of forgiveness and caring and love. I did find it a bit wordy and hard to get into. I think the book could have been quite a bit shorter and still been a great read. I'm not sure that Kim's writing style is quite right for me. I think I may at some point give another book by her a try. I absolutely loved the cover! It was actually the first reason I picked this book. After seeing the cover and reading the back I knew I wanted to read it. Although a good story, I think it was lacking in some of the historical stuff you might like to read about during that time. All in all a decent read that most will probably enjoy. I received this book for free from the Blogging for Books blogger program. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.
by Andrea Renee Cox Have you ever read a book that took a turn you didn't initially like ... but came to admire? Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer was like that for me. Here I was, rooting for one thing to happen, and suddenly something completely different and unexpected happened. At first I was quite shocked and wasn't sure if I'd come to like the track the story took. Yet, as I continued reading, the characters burrowed deeper into my heart and the plot twists kept surprising me. Several times I found myself staring open-mouthed at the book, then quickly gobbling up the next few chapters to learn what would take place next. In the latter chapters of the story, I reevaluated my feelings on the "different track." What I discovered was perhaps the biggest shocker of all. Instead of being uncertain about the thing that had bewildered me, I had come to really admire the thing. Maybe this surprise was unexpected and off the usual path, but it was handled by an expert storyteller who long ago mastered the art of spinning a complex tale that exquisitely reflects the realities of life. Room for Hope is yet another in the lengthy list of fantastic stories that will stick with me well past the turn of the final page. It is truly the God-given talent of its author that allows this novel to speak so profoundly to my heart. The grace and mercy with which Kim pens stories that bear such heavy, difficult topics shout with whispers of forgiveness and a depth of love we would all be wise to yearn for. Through Kim's books, God shines brightly, inviting the lost and broken to find refuge and healing in His glorious presence. Thank you to Kim Vogel Sawyer and her publisher for giving me a complimentary copy of Room for Hope in exchange for my honest review.
Get ready! This story is a whirlwind of a tale and it kept me captivated until the very last word. Set back in the early 1900's we begin with a young family awaiting their traveling, mercantile owning father to return home after a long journey of selling merchandise. Then, shortly after the story begins our characters Neva, Bud and Belle are met with heartache, loss and a total upheaval of their lives. There is so much raw emotion from each of the characters throughout their entire story it makes it hard to not love all of them! Neva, our strong willed heroine of the story, that took an impossible situation and turned it into a loving, safe haven for her all of the children in her life. Jesse Caudel, the knight in shining armor who despite being the bearer of bad news in the beginning, became almost the hero of the story. He was there for her in the good times and the bad even despite her entire world crumbling down around her. Arthur the good old neighbor that Warren hated from the beginning became an unexpected friend and possibly more for the future. Their story was definitely left unwritten, but with so many possibilities in the air I can only imagine what the author had in store for them and the entire Shilling family. There is a lot of information to take in throughout the book, but it flows so nicely and the characters are introduced at a pace that makes it easy to follow and understand. Thoroughly enjoyed this book!!!! Growing up in a small town myself I found this story so much more relatable. I fully understand the hospitality and the hostility a small town can show upon a person. Also being from Kansas I totally understood what the characters were talking about in regards to the windy Kansas days that they were experiencing.(The book was set in Buffalo Creek, Kansas). I truly enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. It made me laugh, cry, cringe and yell out in angst but I enjoyed every minute of it. I will definitely be recommending this book to any and all who listen. Bravo Kim Vogel Sawyer!! I look forward to reading all of your other books!!! Good Night and Happy Reading!!!!! :)
Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer was a very unique book. I was hesitant to read it at first because it sounded so different, but, since the author was one of my favorites, I decided to be brave and try it. As soon as I hesitantly opened the book and started reading, I was pulled in. Don't let the unusual plot turn you away. It was a wonderful book filled with forgiveness, hope, and love. Trust me, you won't want to miss it. Neva Shilling is in charge of the mercantile whenever her husband travels the country selling items from his wagon. Her twin fourteen year olds help a lot, but nothing compares to when her husband is home. Things are always better when he is there taking care of them all. Neva and her kids are anxious for his return so when a wagon comes to the mercantile, they rush out to meet him. But it isn't him. It's a deputy. Neva tells her kids to go inside, and the deputy tells Neva that Mr. Shilling and his wife are dead leaving their kids and belongings to their Aunt Neva. Shocked and bewildered, Neva has no idea what to do or say. Kim Vogel Sawyer's books always challenge me to delve deeper. Lately, her unique plots have been wonderful since they have encouraged me to look beyond the typical and see how God can guide us in all kinds of different scenarios. Filled with God's redemptive power amid man's sinful problems, it's a book to savor and treasure in its ability to challenge you to a deeper, more meaningful walk with God. Please check this book out. Not only is it a book you can't put down, but it's also beautifully written, incredibly insightful, and a must read for any book lover. I was given this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.
Neva Shilling is waiting for her husband, Warren, to return home when she get a surprise visitor, Jesse Caudel. She thought her husband was traveling selling items when he actually had a second family in another town. Her husband and his other wife died, and on his death bed his instructions are for their three children and their belongings to be delivered to Neva. Neva is a very caring person and takes the children into her home and raises them. They have their struggles. Neva doesn't want to look at Warren's other children, but she also refuses to send them away. Her son, Bud does not want the other children to be with them and is convinced they will not bind together. Where as Neva's daughter, Bell enjoys having the children and take care of them and feels everything is going to be OK. Arthur Randall owns the furniture store next to Neva's store and wants to buy Neva's store to enlarge his. He tries to buy it from her as soon as he hears about Warren's death and is asked to leave her building. He decided to try being nice to her instead, to win her over to selling him the store. Jesse Caudel moves to Buffalo Creek and takes the sheriff position. He is in need of furniture to set up his house. Neva does not have room for Warren's other furniture so they make a deal for Sheriff Caudel to use some of the furniture and keep it safe for her. As he is laying in bed, he see the name of the manufacture and is puzzled by it. He eventually finds out the furniture company had furniture stolen from them at some time in the past. Neva is finding out Warren is not at all what she thought he was. And she wonders if she can trust others as well. When the community finds out the three children are Warren's other family, they turn their backs on Neva and the children. This is a very good story and am so glad I got a chance to read and review it. The story takes place in 1936 and shows us some of the struggles the people go through financially. Even though the subject of adultery is mentioned, this is a good, clean historical story. The story is very realistic in struggles a family would go through in this situation. We see the pain they go through with losing loved ones, the pain of betrayal, and see the healing that takes place through the power of prayer and with God's intervention. We also get to see through Neva's love for others and faith that others are lead to the Lord through her. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. Information about Kim Vogel Sawyer and excerpts from this book and others can be found athttp://waterbrookmultnomah.com/authors/162648/kim-vogel-sawyer/ and http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/books/221712/room-for-hope-by-kim-vogel-sawyer/
Offer Mercy Living during the American Depression era of the 1930s was not easy. Particularly for Neva Shilling, who along with her husband, Warren, runs Shilling Mercantile and cares for their two children. But all is not as it seems in Kim Vogel Sawyer's newest release "Room for Hope." Neva, along with her two children, anxiously await the return of her husband and father from one of his monthly trips selling merchandise throughout the land. When they hear the sound of a wagon pulling into the yard they believe it to be Warren's arrival. Instead, it is the arrival of a neighboring town's deputy with three children and some furniture. Three children sent to live with "Aunt Neva" upon the passing of their mother and father, Violet and Warren Shilling. Neva is shocked, humilated, confused and hurt by what her husband has done. Neva, once an orphan herself, decides to keep the three children. She tries to keep the truth a secret from her children and the townspeople. However, living a lie is not easy. Her only friends are the deputy who begins to put the story together and along the way finds his way back to God and her neighbor, Randall, who would like to buy her out so he can expand his business but finds something worth a whole lot more. Here is a story of grace and mercy, of forgiving and being forgiven, of the prodigal son, and redeeming love. A moving story on so many levels. I think it would make a great movie! I received this book for free from WaterBrook to review and give an honest opinion.
The latest novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer is entitled Room for Hope. This tale begins with Neva Shilling, along with her fourteen-year-old twins, preparing dinner to celebrate the return of her husband from a lengthy business trip. What greets Neva at the door that evening is not her husband, but rather three young children! Neva does not know how to respond when she is informed that not only has her husband Warren died; but he has also sent these children to make their home with her. When Neva learns that they are Warren's children from a second marriage, she definitely does now how to respond! Neva, herself, grew up in an orphanage. Knowing what would be in store for them, Neva cannot bring herself to send them away; however, she cannot imagine living with them either. Now Neva must figure out how she can run their general store, as well as raise five children by herself. Fortunately, Neva's twin daughter, Belle, takes both six-year-old Cassie and three-year-old Adeline under her wing; however, her other twin, Bud, does not even want to look eight-year-old Charley in the eye. You wonder how Neva will be able to bind this disjointed family together! Will Neva survive informing her twins about their father's infidelity? Will her family survive the disdain that the townspeople extend toward them when they learn the truth? You will watch and see how God will touch many lives in the midst of this difficult situation! I received this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for my unbiased review. http://penlessreview.blogspot.com/
I've come to know Kim Vogel Sawyer for her deep, soul reaching stories and her characters that come to life. Their depth of feeling and range of emotions are always phenomenal. Room for Hope was no exception, it just took me a little longer to really get into it. Once I did, though, I couldn't put it down. I cannot even begin to fathom what Neva Shilling is going through. Can you imagine finding out the husband that you loved and adored, had a secret family?! The weight of grief, anger, and responsibility that is suddenly heaped upon her would literally make me crumble. Her faith and strength of character show a great deal about the woman. I also appreciate the author downplaying the romantic aspect of the story. In real life, a wife doesn't grief and move on in the space of weeks, even when the husband turned out to be a sorry rascal. The promise of a future romance was all that I needed. As I said at the beginning, it took me longer to really get invested into the story. Once I did, though, I could almost weep at the strength and faith Neva shilling showed. Of course, she wasn't the only one who was learning and growing in her faith. Arthur, the neighboring shop owner and Jesse Caudil, the sheriff, were finding their way back to God, as well. Overall, I'm glad I chose this book to review. It was an excellent read about strength of faith and character. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.*
When a Deputy arrived at her door with a wagon of her husbands store products, and three young children... I could see and feel the thoughts running through her head. When she realized these were her husbands children and this Deputy thought she was their Aunt! Oh my, could I feel her feelings of unbelief and betrayal. Neva's shattered heart and life was now a start of re-building a life, of taking care of five children and running a Mercantile alone. The struggle to forgive her husband and accept his children was certainly a lesson in overcoming bitterness and in God's love, forgiveness! I would recommend this book, I certainly enjoyed it. I was gifted a copy for review from Blogging For Books.
Imagine that the life you believed was truly yours was simply one built upon lies. The marriage and love you shared with your husband is not what you thought it was and the future you believed in was void and empty. That is just what Neva Shillings is coming to terms with. As the wife of Warren Shillings, a very successful traveling merchant, who leaves every other month to sell his wares on the road and pick up new items for their store in Buffalo Creek, Kansas. While she waits for him to return home along with their two children, she can't imagine a more perfect life. They never want for anything and Warren always insists that they have the very best. When a wagon pulls up outside, she had hoped it was Warren, but it was simply another man with a wagon full of goods. Not unheard of since many were selling their wares now that the depression was hitting so many families hard in the area, so as she prepared to address his concerns, she wasn't as prepared as she had hoped. Deputy Jesse Caudel arrives with more than a wagon load of stuff for Ms. Shilling. He has news that Warren and his wife Violet are dead and the things in the wagon are what is left after everything has been sold to cover their debts including three of their children. He has been instructed to drop everything off to Neva, their aunt. Neva is devastated to learn that all those business trips were simply an excuse to go back to Warren's illegitimate wife and family, one she had no clue about until today, along with the fact, they had three children. Knowing how kind hearted she is, Warren probably believed there was no way that Neva would turn them away to spend their lives in an orphanage, something she was familiar with, being an orphan herself. She is completely lost in how she will deal with these circumstances, and the aftermath of what the people of Buffalo Creek will think when they learn that Warren Shilling was far from being the man they all believed he was. I received Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free copy of this novel in exchange for my personal and honest evaluation. I love novels that take the reader into a part of history that conveys a sense of hardship in the midst of dire circumstances. One in which Neva has relied on her husband to provide for their financially, even though she had helped out in the mercantile. She doesn't know how to order supplies, fill the inventory or even arrange for its delivery since it was all done by her husband. In addition to the three of them, she now has managed to take on the responsibility of three additional children, in the worst of times in the country. Just the fact of her husband's affair could leave her with more problems than she ever imagined in a world where morality and character counted for everything in a families name. Well worth all 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
This was another fantastic book by a wonderful author. What would you do if someone came to your door and told you your brother was dead and he wanted you to care for his children? It would be harder than you think when you don't have a brother. You find out that your husband had a second family at the same time you learn that he and his other wife are dead. Could you care for these children? Will Neva Shilling find room to love these other children? I was given a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for a fair and honest opinion.
Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer is set in Buffalo Creek, Kansas in 1936 (starts in late September). Neva Gaines Shilling helps her husband run the Main Street Mercantile and takes care of their home (above the store) and their two children. Warren Shilling (her husband) takes a wagon out to pick up supplies and visit remote communities. Warren has been gone a month and they are expecting him home that day. Instead of Warren, Deputy Sheriff Jesse Caudel arrives with a wagon. He has come to inform Neva that her “brother” Warren passed away along with his wife, Violet. One of his last actions was for someone to bring their three children to their Aunt Neva. Neva is shocked, but she quickly recovers (she does not want the Jesse to know she is really Warren’s wife). Neva takes the three children into her home (reluctantly) for now (while she decides what to do). Neva tells her children (twins Bella and Bud) that their father wanted them to take in these three children (not that Warren is there father as well). What would happen if the truth comes out about Warren and his activities? Can Neva handle manage the store on her own? Warren always handled the ordering (and the store is almost bare). Arthur Randall (of Randall’s Emporium) offers to buy out Mrs. Shilling, but Neva does not wish to sell. Arthur tries to convince her with charm and kindness. Will Arthur be able to convince Neva to sell the mercantile? You will need to read Room for Hope to see how Neva handles these new developments in her life. Room for Hope is such a good book. I loved Room for Hope and did not want it to end. The book is well-written and has such a good flow (makes for easy reading). It is a heartwarming story about faith, acceptance, and God’s love. This tale will warm your heart. Room for Hope has such a sweet ending. I stayed up late reading this book because I did not want to put it down. I give Room for Hope 5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to the next book by Kim Vogel Sawyer. If you enjoy historical, Christian novels, you will want to read Room for Hope! I received a complimentary copy of Room for Hope from the publisher and Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
Room for Hope is a fabulous read. Just when I have favorite book by Kim Vogel Sawyer, I quickly change my mind when she releases a new novel. I loved this book! Room for Hope is so very sweet and at times funny. This story has a wide variety of emotions. I was, also, quite surprised at how it all ends. This is definitely not a predictable read. I highly, highly recommend this book for all. Another new favorite by this author. 100 plus stars.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016 Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer, © 2016 Suppertime. Waiting for her husband to arrive from his month-long travels out of town selling their wares. Only he isn't returning, but sends his other children to her. During the Depression Era, a man has two families forty miles apart. In both communities, he is well respected. This story tells of those left behind upon his demise. My first thought was that Neva was not the true wife, which would turn this story around, with her twins being the ones left behind rather than the orphans that show up at her door. The love of a mother dispels any quandary, as Neva is true to her heart, full of love. Bud took his time walking home. Only three blocks from the school to the mercantile. If he ran he could make it in two minutes. Most times he ran, eager to get home and put on his starched cobbler apron and give Ma––or Pop on the months he was home––a hand in the store. Bud had always loved the mercantile. Especially the way it smelled, like apples and leather and spice. The same way Pop always smelled. --Room for Hope, 91 My very favorite protagonist is Sheriff Jesse Caudel. He is indeed a peacemaker. Caring for the schoolchildren, he goes to the playground meeting them each day, building relationship. He hopes to have a good foundation with them as they grow. I love Kim Vogel Sawyer's stories. I want to come back to Buffalo Creek, Kansas, and follow the characters in their new days. So wonderfully developed, the community and families come alive, gathering at Sunday services, drinking Royal Crown Cola, paying nineteen cents a pound for Thanksgiving turkey. A melding of a family that is suspect by others, as truth prevails. I am not ready to let them go. ***Thank you to author Kim Vogel Sawyer for inviting me to be a part of her review team for Room for Hope and for sending me a review copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
A powerful and moving story about the power of hope and love... Room for Hope By Kim Vogel Sawyer Sometimes all you can do is hope... but when you've lost it how do you reclaim it? Neva Shilling was a loving and dedicated wife and mother, but in an instant her world is shaken to its foundation. The man she thought she knew—her husband—has shattered all she has known. Even worse she can't ask him why? She can't vent her hurt, her anger, her feelings of betrayal because Warren's death was the catalyst that brought to light his ultimate betrayal. Warren Shilling was loved by almost everyone who knew him—including his two families. Two wives and two sets of children who never knew that the other existed until death claimed Warren and one of his wives. Can these children ever be part of Neva's family? Or will they forever be a reminder of Warren's betrayal? As Neva struggles through her grief, she works to keep the family's business profitable. But the Depression has hit the country and Buffalo Creek, Kansas, is no exception. How can she be expected to raise not two, but five children and take on the added responsibilities of the Mercantile? Neva's determined to give her husband's children a home, but can she ever give them her heart? Can these unexpected children truly be a gift? Or are they a curse that will drive Neva from the place she calls home? It is interesting reading as one goes through this book—which is told from the viewpoint of various characters. The feelings of hurt and confusion expressed by the children, especially Bud, are quite moving. Arthur Randall and Jesse Caudel make for an interesting study in contrasts as they deal with their own needs and with Neva Shilling and her situation. This book is moving and touching. Of all the books by Kim Vogel Sawyer that I have read, I think that this has to be her best. This is not life seen through rosy-glasses. The anger, fear and prejudice that is displayed is believable and the motivations behind it understandable though often inexcusable. Should the sins of the father fall onto the children? This is explored throughout Room for Hope. I highly recommend this book. This is a story of growth, of redemption, of sacrifice, a story of hope. Older teens and adults who appreciate historical fiction that doesn't read like textbook will find much to attract their attention. The growth and changes that take place all come together to make room for hope. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.
Kim has hit another home run with the third book in The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy. These books are all must reads, as the words flow from the page into your heart. The characters are all realistic and you can feel their hurts and rejoice in their healing that comes from our Heavenly Father, who has a plan for our lives, to turn ashes into beauty. I love the strength that Neva shows in the face of devastating news and that she has the Faith to see her through. I love the way Jesse and Arthur grow and change as they open their hearts. I did not want this book to end. I always walk away blessed from Kim's books. I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have done.
Here’s a book that I’m excited about getting to share with you all today! I’m also doing my very first giveaway so stay tuned until the very end for details! In the midst of the Great Depression, Neva Shilling has her hands full caring for her teenage twins and keeping up the Shilling Mercantile while her husband Warren travels to neighboring communities to sell goods. Then a wagon pulls up one evening, carrying three children and a deputy with news that will change her life forever. Warren and his wife have passed away, requesting on their death beds that their children go to live with “aunt” Neva. Neva’s heart is shattered to learn of her husband’s secret life. How can she care for three children who remind her daily of Warren’s betrayal? But how can she abandon innocent children to an orphanage? Based on true events from Sawyer’s family history, Room for Hope is a beautiful story of God’s powerful redemptive work in the midst of struggle, betrayal, and heartbreak. Neva Shilling is a strong woman of faith despite all of the things that have been placed on her plate. Throughout the book she keeps giving God all of the credit. She could never do all of it on her own without the help of God. Kim Vogel Sayer’s characters are so real that I felt as if I was literally right there in the story alongside them. It was as if they were my own family and friends. I also had a hard time putting the book down because I had to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. Sawyer inspires me in so many ways. I love how she creates a beautiful story and intertwines the Word of God into it without it being overly preachy and at the appropriate times. My favorite parts were the messages! Kim Vogel Sawyer speaks truth in a powerful way. I’m praying for her ministry as this book makes it way to other readers. God is going to use her to make a huge impact on many of her readers. This is a novel that I highly recommend. This is probably my favorite read of this year so far! Looking for Kim Vogel Sawyer’s future books. Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.