What Once Was Lost

What Once Was Lost

by Kim Vogel Sawyer


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A woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, a man standing apart—can these three souls embrace a God with new plans for them?
On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house uninhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”
With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307731258
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/17/2013
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 583,677
Product dimensions: 5.78(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.01(d)

About the Author

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling author highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope. More than one million copies of her books are currently in print with awards including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas, where she and her retired military husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their feline companions. She savors time with her daughters and grandchildren.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Brambleville, Kansas
Mid-February 1890

"Amen.” Her prayer complete, Christina Willems raised her head. Even after a full year of leading the residents of the poor farm in saying grace, she gave a little start as her gaze fell on Papa’s empty chair at the far end of the table. Loneliness smote her, as familiar as the smooth maple tabletop beneath her folded hands. Would she ever adjust to her dear father’s absence?

To cover the rush of melancholy, she reached for the closest serving bowl, which was heaped with snowy mashed potatoes, and forced a smile. “Herman, would you please carve the goose? Louisa did such a beautiful job roasting it. I’m eager to see if it tastes as good as it looks.”

Louisa McLain, one of the two widowed sisters-in-law who had lived beneath the poor farm’s roof for the past four years, tittered at Christina’s compliment. “Now, Christina, you know roasting a goose is a simple task. But bringing one down so we can all enjoy such a treat? We owe Wes our thanks for his skill with a shotgun.”

Wes Duncan’s wide, boyish face blushed scarlet, and he ducked his head but not before he flashed Louisa a shy grin.

Herman Schwartz took the carving knife and fork and rose slowly, his arthritic joints unfolding by increments. Light from the brass gas lamp hanging above the table flashed on the knife’s blade as he pressed it to the goose’s crispy skin. While Herman carved, the others began passing around the bowls of potatoes, gravy, and home-canned vegetables grown in their own garden.

Young Francis Deaton watched Herman’s progress with unblinking eyes, licking his lips in anticipation. He nudged his sister, Laura, with his elbow. “Lookit that, Laura. Finally get somethin’ ’sides pork for supper! Ain’t it gonna be good?”

His mother set down the bowl of boiled carrots and gave the back of Francis’s head a light whack. Francis yelped and rubbed the spot as Alice shook her finger in her son’s face. “Shame on you. We should be thankful for every bit of food the good Lord sees fit to give us, whether it be goose, pork, or gruel. Now apologize to Miss Willems for complaining.”

Francis, his lips set in a pout, mumbled, “Sorry, Miss Willems.”

Christina accepted the boy’s apology with a nod and a smile. She well understood Francis’s delight in the succulent goose. The poor farm residents consumed a steady diet of pork because pigs were the most economical animals to raise and butcher. They hadn’t enjoyed a meal such as this in months—not since she’d evicted a ne’er-do-well named Hamilton Dresden for trying to sneak into Alice’s room one night. The man had been lazy, shirking jobs rather than contributing to the poor farm’s subsistence, but he’d been handy with a rifle, and their table had benefited from his good aim. Yet she didn’t regret sending him packing. She’d rather eat beans and bacon seven days a week and feel that her charges were safe than enjoy wild game and have to worry about illicit shenanigans.

Their plates full, everyone picked up their forks and partook of the feast. While they ate, easy conversation floated around the table, covering the whine of a cold wind outside. It sounded as if a storm was brewing, but Christina had no concerns. The sturdy limestone construction of the towering three-story house could withstand Kansas wind, rain, hail, and snow. How she loved this house and the security it provided her and the needy individuals who resided beneath the roof of the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor. And what a unique group of needy now filled the chairs.

Louisa assisted Tommy Kilgore, the little blind boy who’d been deposited on the poor farm steps two years ago, and her sister-in-law, Rose, saw to the seven-year-old orphaned twins, Joe and Florie Alexander. Their newest arrival, a quiet young woman named Cora Jennings, who claimed her mother had cast her out, slipped from her chair and circled the table, refilling coffee cups.

On the opposite side of the long table, Wes helped himself to a second serving of corn and then ladled more gravy on Harriet Schwartz’s plate. Observing the simple-minded man’s solicitude for the elderly woman, Christina couldn’t help but smile. Then she swallowed a chuckle when Francis stole a piece of meat from his sister’s plate, earning a reprimand from his mother.

Christina held her fork idle beside her plate and simply basked in the feeling of family represented by this ragtag assortment of discarded humanity. Love swelled in her breast for every one of the people sharing her table, from chubby little Joe to gray-headed Herman. Oh, Father… A prayer formed effortlessly within her heart. Thank You that even though Mama and Papa are with You now instead of with me, I am not alone. I will always have my residents who bring me such joy and fulfillment.

“Miss Willems?” Wes’s voice pulled Christina from her reflections. “Ain’t there no bread? Need it to soak up my gravy.”

Christina gave a rueful shake of her head. “No. We used the last of it at lunch. But don’t worry. I mixed dough this afternoon, and before I retire this evening, I’ll bake enough loaves to carry us through the coming week. We’ll have bread with every meal tomorrow.”

Rose turned her pert gaze in Christina’s direction. “Would you like my help with the bread baking?”

The residents shared the operations of the poor farm to the extent their age and abilities allowed. Despite Rose’s perky tone, her shoulders drooped with tiredness from dusting furniture and mopping the oak floors of the rambling house that afternoon. Christina squeezed the older woman’s hand. “Bless you for your willingness, but I’ll see to the bread making myself. And I’ll see to the supper cleanup, as well.” A soft mutter of protests rose, but Christina waved her hands and stilled the voices. “No, no, you’ve all done more than enough work today.”

The others returned to eating with no further arguments. Satisfied, Christina pressed her fork into the mound of potatoes on her plate. Ultimately, the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor was her responsibility, just as it had once been her father’s. She would honor his memory by meeting the needs of her charges as well as Papa had.

“Miss Willems. Miss Willems, wake up…”

The persistent voice cut through Christina’s dreams, rousing her from a sound sleep. She blinked into the gray-shrouded room. A small shape in a white nightshirt, giving the appearance of an apparition, leaned over her bed. One of the children. Although weary, Christina chose a kind tone. “Yes, who is it?”

Hands pawed at the edge of the mattress. “It’s me, ma’am.”

Tommy… He no doubt needed someone to escort him to the outhouse. “Couldn’t you rouse Francis?” Although Christina had assigned Francis the task of being Tommy’s eyes, the nine-year-old often shirked his duty. Especially at night.

“No, ma’am. C’mon. We gotta hurry.” Urgency underscored Tommy’s tone.

Tossing aside her covers, she swung her bare feet over the edge of the mattress. The boy danced in place as she tugged on her robe over her nightgown and pushed her feet into her unbuttoned shoes. Regardless of Tommy’s need, the February night was cold. Finally she took his arm. “All right, Tommy, let’s go to the outhouse.”

He pulled loose, stumbling sideways. “No! We gotta get everybody out!”

Fuzzy-headed from exhaustion—she’d plodded up the two flights of stairs to her attic room and tumbled into bed well after midnight—Christina caught hold of Tommy’s shoulders and gave him an impatient shake. “Tommy, you aren’t making sense. What—”

“I smell smoke! There’s a fire.” Hysteria raised the boy’s pitch and volume. He clutched at her hands with icy fingers. “Please, ma’am, we gotta get everybody an’ get out!”

Frowning, Christina sniffed the air. Only a slight hint of charred wood teased her nostrils. Tommy’s sense of smell was heightened—certainly a result of his inability to see. She’d kept the stove burning late. In all likelihood the boy smelled the leftover coals and mistakenly believed a fire raged. She adopted a soothing tone. “Calm down, Tommy. I’m sure—”

“Miss Willems, please…” The boy began to sob, his body quivering. “We gotta get out, ma’am. We gotta get out now!”

As Christina began to offer more assurance, a screech rent the air, followed by a shout. “Fire! Fire!” The clatter of footsteps sounded on the stairs. Then Cora burst into the room and threw herself against Christina. “Kitchen’s on fire!” she gasped.

Chills exploded across Christina’s body. Curling one hand around Tommy’s thin arm and the other around Cora’s shoulder, she aimed both of them toward the gaping door. At the top of the narrow stairway leading to the second floor, she pressed Tommy into Cora’s care. “Take him out and stay outside. I’ll get the others.” Trusting Cora to follow her directions, she hurried down the stairs. Papa’s silver watch, which hung on a chain around her neck, bounced painfully against her chest, and she paused to tuck it beneath the neck of her gown before proceeding.

Her worn soles slid on the smooth wooden steps, but she kept her footing and charged through the upstairs hallway, banging on doors and hollering, “Fire! Grab whatever you can and get out! Everyone out!”

Doors popped open. Panicked voices filled the air. The pounding of feet on pine floorboards competed with cries of alarm. Assured that everyone was alerted and moving, Christina hurried to the ground floor. Smoke created a murky curtain, but she fought her way through it and flung the front door open. Frigid night air swept in, blessedly sweet, but a whoosh sounded from the opposite side of the house. Flames exploded behind the kitchen doorway, then attacked the wooden frame, taking on the appearance of dancing tongues. Would the floorboards catch fire and carry those hungry flames to the front door?

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What Once Was Lost 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
GingerS219 More than 1 year ago
What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a touching novel. It reminds us that sometimes we think we're doing a good thing for the right reason, but it's not always true. The characters were well-written, allowing me to identify with their struggles and, in the end, their triumphs. I enjoyed this novel a great deal. ***I received this novel from the author/publisher for purpose of review. The above is my honest opinion.***
janesquires More than 1 year ago
God put this book in my hand just when I needed it. Walking through obstacles and adversity, this book encouraged me. Little did I know what I would face yesterday. Christina and Levi may seem the characters that weave the story together. But Tommy, Cora, Louisa, Rose, and all the others of the Poor House will touch your life. You will feel all they endure. Even Mr. Dresden who caused so much trouble will show how God used all the bad for good. So many lost find their way after a fire displaces all those who lived at the Poor asylum. This whole story is about God's plan. It shows how something meant bad can be turned into good for God. Spiritual eyes are opened. A community comes together. You will find it hard to lay the book down.
gccbookworm More than 1 year ago
Captivating! I have just started reading books by this author-Kim Vogel Sawyer. I found this one, What Once Was Lost, to be captivating! I read it in under 24 hours which for me is a record! Set in the 1890's, the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor, is home to a rag-tag group of displaced individuals guided by Christina Willems. A fire destroys the kitchen and damages parts of the house making it impossible for the group to live there. Christina sets out to find shelter for all members of the group among the residents of Brambleville. Resistance is met in the placement of her young ward, Tommy, who is blind, but she manages to convince mill owner Levi Jonnson to take him. The reclusive mill owner not only develops a fondness for Tommy but also that he may have made a mistake regarding his reclusiveness from the community. Meanwhile, Christina has more than her share of problems in trying to get the farmhouse rebuilt and keeping her rag-tag members together. Throughout the book the characters grow in their relationship with God as they over come adversity and rejection. There are many lessons taught throughout this book but why give them away. Pick up the book and be captivated not only by the storyline and the characters but by God's love as well. I received this book for free to review from WaterBrook Press' Blogging for Books.
Savurbks More than 1 year ago
Christina Willems’ world is turned upside down after a fire severely damages the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor. As the home’s leader, she must find temporary shelter for the home’s inhabitants. As a last choice, Christian must place the young boy Tommy, who has been blinded, with the reclusive Mr. Levi Jonnson. While the circumstances are not ideal, they may prove to be the required events to bring much needed change and healing within the residents, Christiana, and Levi. A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS: I can guarantee that this will be a book that you will whole-heartedly devour. From the first chapter to the last, you will gladly consume the words written by Kim Vogel Sawyer. My only advice – make sure you start the novel at a time when you can read the book in an entire sitting; otherwise, you will find yourself reluctantly tearing yourself away from the pages to attend to distractions. Forget laundry, making dinner and homework – eagerly absorbing the sentences of the book will become your main priority. MY RATING: 4.5 (out of 5 Stars) *I received a complimentary copy of What Once Was Lost from Waterbrook Press for my honest review*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love her books
CarolJo More than 1 year ago
Christina Willems has never known anything but a life of ministry. She was born to parents who ran a "poor farm" and grew up assisting them in their ministry and assumed that was her calling after their deaths. When the home is damaged by fire, Christina's "family" must stay other places which makes her feel out of control. She has difficulty finding a home for a young blind boy until a bachelor mill owner agrees to take him for a short time. Christina learns that she has been making her own plans rather than asking God's will in her life. The story line was different and enjoyable. What Once Was Lost was well written. I recommend this book to others who enjoy historical fiction. I received this book in a giveaway.
MrsTina42MR More than 1 year ago
What Once Was Lost***** by Kim Vogel Sawyer Christina Willems runs the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor on a small Kansas farm. Brambleville has become the home for the poor and displaced men, women and children she lovingly cares for. They are her “family”. One night she is awakened smelling smoke and quickly finds a fire in the kitchen. Not sure how the fire started her first concern is to get her family out to safety. Since it is not safe to live there until the kitchen has been repaired, Christina must find temporary lodgings for each of them. After finding shelter for all but one little boy, young blind Tommy Kilgore, Christina seeks someone to take him in. Her only choice is to ask Levi Johnson, who is the reclusive mill owner and would rather be alone and left alone. She puts Tommy in the wagon and goes to Levi's home. Leaving Tommy in the wagon, she finds Levi and asks him to take in Tommy. Levi is resistant to the idea but finally reluctantly agrees, provided it is temporary. Levi is not sure what to do with Tommy while he is at the mill, even though the mill is close to his home. Tommy is blind and it appears that he has been coddled and has had everything done for him. As the days go by, Levi's heart opens a bit and develops a bond to the boy. Levi and Tommy both have been hurt in the past, the reason Levi left society to be alone. His heart had been hurt too many times and he even has turned his back on God. Christina begins to despair and her faith challenged when the repairs on the farm seem to go wrong. One thing after another turns up and it looks like it may never be repaired. Finally the kitchen begins to be repaired but someone destroys all the work. Who would do such a thing? It appears revenge is behind the destruction of all the work. As things go from bad to worse she turns to Levi to help her. Just as his heart had opened up to Tommy, he is loosing his heart to Christina. Can his heart be healed? Can he surrender his heart to God again and allow Him to guide him? Will the repairs on the farm ever be completed or will she have to sell it? What will happen to her family? In What Once Was Lost, is a story about hardships, past hurts and letting go of that past, endurance, danger, revenge, as well as changing of hearts, restoration, romance and love and spiritual renewal. I enjoyed this book very much. My heart was captured by Tommy and his plight. ~I received a copy of this book from the author for my review~
Its_Time_Mamaw More than 1 year ago
What Once Was Lost Christina has a mission to help the down and out the misplaced and homeless including orphaned children. Just when things seem to be going well on the Poor Farm the house catches fire leaving even Christina homeless. She finds places for everyone to stay until the house can be repaired except for Tommy a blind child.  She convinces the mill owner and recluse Levi Johnson to temporarily take in Tommy until she can make other arrangements.  There did not seem to be anyone sympathetic to this young boys needs. Levi tried not to bond with the boy but his heart continued to soften for the lad even though Levi did  not want to open his heart to anyone.   Christina leans on Levi more and more while trying to get the house repaired.  This was not setting well with Levi.  He is suspicious of how the fire was started that damaged the Poor Farm.  Will they ever be able to return to the farm or will they be homeless again? Where will they go from here? I found this to be a heartwarming tale that I did not want to put down.  I had never heard of a Poor Farm and found ite b a wonderful concept. Growing their own food and raising farm animals.  Homeless adults caring for orphaned children. This farm was almost totally self sufficient. God had a plan one that was not expected.  When we lead it makes it hard when God wants us to follow his path.  The author has a tender heart and a great vision that she is able to bring forth in her writings.   I highly recommend this book.   Disclosure:  I receiving a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books/WATERBROOK PRESS for review. I was in no way compensated for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.
MitziAB More than 1 year ago
Set against the backdrop of a Kansas "Poor Farm" in 1890, Kim tells a story of loss and hope, love, hardship and so much more. This type of farm is home to those people, who through no fault of their own find themselves destitute. For some it is just that they are older and unable to make a living, for others it may be illness. Trying to carry on the work her father started with some of the people genteel society wants nothing to do with, Christina Willems is constantly running into difficulties, one of them being that of her gendre. Someone out there is determined that a woman can not run a farm like this effectively. When she finally looks to her neighbors for assistance, she finds prejudice in some, love in others.  As always, Kim weaves a fabulous story involving characters who all have those virtues and vices that transcend time, distance and circumstances. Do I have what it takes to overcome  trials, or am I one who is willing to let these things discourage me?  It is not difficult to identify with the people in the story, and I found myself not only sympathetic to the hardships Christina faced and overcame, but to many of those involved. And that is what makes a story memorable! I recieved this book free from WaterbrookMultnomah Publishers in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required! The opinions are my own 
SidneReadz More than 1 year ago
The novel setting is in Kansas City in the late 1800.  The protagonist, Christina Williams operates a farm for the poor.  The place has a terrible fire and it destroys the farm.  Christina gets help from the neighbors. A young blind boy is the only one that Christina could not place until she asked the town's loner.  As Christina works to find a way to rebuild the home someone from her past is working against her. While she struggles with mounting trials and tribulations, an appreciation and attraction begins  between her and the loner. The narrations is done from the characters viewpoints. The characters was a grand slam. The story had quite a few twist that were transitioned well into the story line. The author provided the readers with an uplifting tale of hardship, endurance, spiritual renewal as well as a great plot.  This is the first novel I've read by author, Kim V. Sawyer and she has definitely made my list of authors to read.  My book cover review is 2 /5. This novel sits on my shelf as a Darn Great Read with a review rating of 5 out 5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ibjoy1953 More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK Christina did a job that took a lot of love for people as well as patience, that she was the perfect person for this endeavor. She was humble, and loved her students as though they were family. When trouble overtakes the home she was running for those without a home, she does what she has too, send those living with her to people in the neighborhood that would help. My favorite of the pairs she put together was Levi Johnson and Tommy, who was blind. Levi clearly didn’t want to have anything to do with Tommy and made it clear that he would keep him until he could go back to the home. But the heartwarming events that happened afterward stuck with me for a good long while after I finished the book. There were a lot of twists and turns in this book that kept the plot exciting and interesting. Kim Vogel Sawyer is an expert storyteller and it clearly shows in this wonderful story. I highly recommend What Once Was Lost if you are looking for a really good, heartwarming read. I received this book from the publisher Waterbrook through their Blogging For Books review program to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
Sometimes in our well-meaning good deeds we actually wind up hindering the very ones we are trying to help. Without meaning to we become focused on how a situation affects us instead of others. This is the main lesson that Christina Willems comes to learn in What Once Was Lost. Christina has been left in charge of the home that her beloved father ran for the housing of the poor. When one tragedy leads to another she begins to cling to what once was in the hopes of recapturing it. Meanwhile wonderful things are happening to those that have been entrusted to her care. Unfortunately Christina can't seem to let go and move on. I think almost everyone can relate to being unable to move on from something that is familiar. The unknown can be so scary. The idea of trusting the plans that God has for you is wonderful, but it is often hard to put into practice. If you enjoy historical fiction I think you are going to like What Once Was Lost. The characters are easy to identify with and the situation is a common plight for all of us. Of course I have to add that it is set on the praries of my beloved Kansas so that just pushes it over the top! Grab a copy for yourself and contemplate what you are holding onto that you should be letting go of. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
luv2read30 More than 1 year ago
“What Once Was Lost” by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a heart-warming story set in a small town in Kansas. The main characters, Christina Willems and Levi Jonnson, are each lost in their own way. Christina runs a poor farm that provides for twelve people who are down on their luck, widowed, orphaned, or just in need of help. She is so immersed in her work that she has little time for anything else. Levi, after watching his father waste away in bitterness, has become a recluse himself spending his days at his mill working alone. After calamity strikes the poor farm, Christina sees all she has ever worked for slowly slipping through her hands. Through various circumstances she finds herself in need of Levi’s help and of course sparks begin to fly.  Although I have enjoyed some of the other books by Ms. Sawyer, I have to say that this was not one of my favorites. This book seemed a little too fluffy and predictable. It just didn’t catch my interest, and for me the test of a good book is how long it takes me to read it. I read this book off and on for several weeks. I would rate this book about a 3 out of 5 stars. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.  
Shay14 More than 1 year ago
Wow! What a sweet, sweet story! Kim Vogel Sawyer has such a way with words. All of her books leave me feeling happy and more secure in my faith. Christina Willems has been a servant of the Lord her whole life. All she knows is giving of herself to others. And she loves it. She is fiercely protective of her residents at the poor farm and is absolutely devastated when the fire causes them to be dispersed amongst the town. Can her faith help her through this rough time? Levi Jonnson doesn't want anything to do with anyone. He thinks he is saving himself from more hurt and heartache by hiding away himself. So why does he allow Christina to talk him into taking on the care of Tommy? And how did he let Tommy - and Christina - slip past the wall he had built around his heart? The story line was fantastic! As always, Kim Vogel Sawyer makes the characters emotions jump from the page. After several things go wrong, Christina begins to doubt her life's work and dedication. She also begins to question her faith in God. As the story progresses, we see Christina's struggle to maintain her faith in herself, as well. Her father gives her some good advice, that she doesn't take to heart immediately: "When in doubt, Christina, go to the Father. He alone has the answers to life's ponderings." "Worry is telling God you don't trust him." Levi's struggle is more internal, but no less real. The romance is very subtly done, and super sweet! The side stories of Cora and Tommy add an amazing depth to story as a whole. When Cora comes to know the Lord as her saviour, you rejoice right along with Ma Creeger. The main message of the story, simply stated in the book, is this: "Whatsoever ye do, do it to the glory of God." Sometimes it's hard to remember, especially when praise for your good works is coming in, to give thanks and praise to the One who gives you the ability to do those works. And the testing of your faith only makes you stronger. God didn't promise the road would be easy, but He did promise that "no matter how dark the night, God's mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness." **I received a free copy of this book as part of the WaterBrook Multnomah Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**
Writer4God More than 1 year ago
A woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, a man standing apart—can these three souls embrace a God with new plans for them? On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house uninhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.” With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God? This book was sooo good! I got swept into the story right at the beginning and read it pretty steadily right to the end! Though I had to take breaks because one day I left it in the living room and my mom picked it up and started reading it and got into it as well! lol! It was a good story and well written. It was the third book I've read by this author and so far I've liked every book I've read by her, and look forward to reading more of her books in the future. This book had a little bit of everything thrown in, and a good cast of colorful characters that you grow to love. (and hate, lol) I definitely recommend both the book and author to others! I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Kim Vogel Sawyer in her new book “What Once Was Lost” published by Waterbrook Press takes us into the life of Christina Willems. From the back cover:  A woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, a man standing apart—can these three souls embrace a God with new plans for them? On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house uninhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.” With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Johnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she’s dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God? A struggle to find a new home for the homeless and also a new home for Christina.  This is a story about reconciling your past so that you can live in the present and embrace the future that God has prepared for you.  Everyone has issues and it takes God to heal those wounds so that we can be better persons.  Well done!  This is also a great romance.  Christina and Levi are just perfect for one another and it is great fun to go through their relationship with them.  Get ready for a very interesting read that will keep you flipping pages. Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from WaterBrook Press.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Alice_Knightly8 More than 1 year ago
This book had a great plot and lots of good plot twists! Some great inspiring themes, as well. I really enjoyed it. Christina was a nice, servant-hearted, human heroine. She was such a good example of showing God's love to others and keeping a positive outlook- however, like I said, she was human, and got a bit down like we all do at times- so it was nice to see her pull through. It was really interesting reading the parts of the book from Tommy's point of view; I'd never read a book where one of the main characters was blind, and it was really interesting, strange, and a real eye-opener to what a blessing we have who have our eyesight. Tommy's relationship with Levi was really sweet! They were like brothers, and it was kind of humorous watching Levi try and adjust his routine to care for a young kid, after being alone all the time. Levi, like Christine, was a good example of a "human" main character, and they made a cute couple. ;) As soon as I read about the "young woman" who was one of the poor house residents I couldn't help but inwardly groan and think "Oh please no! Not your typical plot with the frustrating girl character who is deceptively sweet but really just wants to make life miserable for the main character!" Oh how relieved I was! Cora was such a sweet character and was one of my favorites to read about. Her relationship with the sweet mercantile owners was so touching and really fun! Ma and Pa Creeger were such joy-filled and encouraging characters, the type of people you wish you had all around you! When Ma talks about the forgiveness of sins with Cora and explains God's gift of love to her, it was so sweet, simple and convicting!  I loved all the minor characters from the poor house! Wes, Rose, Louise, Alice, Joe, Florie- it was really sweet watching them all be like one big family, and you really felt their pain as they all started parting ways to make a new start in life. Also, I REALLY enjoyed Maxwell, Parmelia, and "Benjamin Paul Edgar, of Edgar, Edgar, and Lofton...Ben." They were such fun characters and really lightened the mood! There was one particular part with Ben that made me laugh hysterically- it was so unexpected... there were tears running down my face.  I'm really looking forward to reading Kim's other books in the near future!  "I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."
J4Life5 More than 1 year ago
Christina Willems is a young woman who has spent her life in service to others, first as a helper to her parents, and then on her own after their deaths. She is the leader of the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor until the night when a fire destroys their kitchen and leaves the residents scattered throughout their community dependent on the hospitality of others. Tommy, a young boy who is blind as a result of an accident, is placed with the young mill owner, Levi Jonnson, because no one else will take him. As the residents float in limbo, and Christina tries to repair the farm, one obstacle after another pops up. Is it God's will for the farm to be repaired, or does He have different plans for the residents? I am a fan of Kim Vogel Sawyer and have enjoyed several of her books. This was not one of my favorite ones. The characters were interesting, but I didn't really get a chance to know them before the fire. After that, there were a lot of characters from the town and the farm, and I didn't really develop a strong connection with any of them. The plot was different from other books I have read, and although a relationship was predictable between Jonnson and Christina, I thought there were some nice surprises throughout the book. My favorite part of the book was the way Jonnson fostered Tommy's independence and self-confidence. I liked the message that even though someone is handicapped, they are able to look after themselves, and are able to be productive. I loved the way Jonnson helped Tommy develop a skill (weaving) that could benefit him in the future. Overall, this book was just ok for me. I can see where this book would appeal to a lot of people, but the characters and the plot didn't really ever grab me enough that I couldn't put it down. I look forward to trying a different book by Sawyer to recapture my enjoyment of her writing. I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
WHAT ONCE WAS LOST by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a thrilling American West Historical Fiction set in 1890 Kansas. Written with vivid descriptions,charming characters and an intriguing storyline, what's not to love. A masterful storyteller who draws the reader into her stories time and again. Filled with hope, faith, healing,forgiveness, and love. You gotta love Ms. Sawyer's gentle, emotional and heart warming stories, and "What Once Was Lost" is no different. Follow, Christina Williams, Levi Jonnson,and Tommy Kilgore on a journey of hope,rejection,and love as they open up their hearts to not only God but to each other. Will they finally find acceptance on a small Kansas farm, called the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor, and the town nearby or they be forever wandering through life? Faced with challenges from an old adversary threatens to destroy everything Christina has tried to build,will she be able to count on Levi, whom she has become to depend upon,or will she lose everything she cherishes most? You can not miss reading "What Once Was Lost". What a wonderful story! Another hit for Ms. Sawyer. I love her stories,she just continues to put out outstanding stories time after time. A must read! Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
sjziegler More than 1 year ago
booksbysteph says "Everyone Can Relate to Something" The Brambleville Asylum for the Poor housed thirteen poor, orphaned and displaced individuals. After her father passed away, Christina Willems has been seeing to the bunch she considers family.  One cold winter night in 1890, Christina is woken by Tommy, a blind eleven-year-old with no family. He tells Christina that she has to get everyone out of the house because it is on fire. At first she does not believe him, then she hears the thuds of running feet and shouts of fire. By the time the group put out the fire, the kitchen was gone and the house was inhabitable.  Christina searched the entire town of Brambleville, Kansas for a place to house her charges. But no one would take in Tommy because he was blind. In a desperate attempt, Christina and Tommy rode out to Levi Johnson's mill. People did not know much about Levi because he kept to himself and that is the way he liked it. But how could Levi say no to a blind child who reminded him of himself and to the beautiful Christina? Christina met with members of the board and they refused her request for funds to rebuild the kitchen. The men felt it was not appropriate for a woman to be head of the household and, in fact, they wanted to close the Brambleville location. But what would happen to all the residents? What will happen to Christina? I GIVE THIS BOOK: 4 Stars This book makes you think about your own life and how blessed we are. This book is very humbling. We take so much in life for granted. What would you do if everything you have ever known was taken away from you? I bet some of you can identify with the experience of a fire taking your home. Even though this book is long and is a slow read, everyone can relate to something in this book! Until next time, live life one page at a time!
Zelma More than 1 year ago
Kim Vogel Sawyer did such a wonderful job with this book. I enjoyed it from the first page to the last page. Set in Brambleville, Kansas 1890. Christina runs a Poor Farm. She has grown to love each resident as her own family. Tragedy strikes and she has to find temporary homes for her residents.Tommy is a blind boy. No one wants to care for this child and her last resort is with Levi, a Gruff grizzled man who prefers a life of solitary. But just a short time with Tommy, Levi's defenses slowly come down and he creates a wonderful bond with this boy. As time goes on Levi finds himself doing things he never would have done in the community. Ham is a man who lived at the poor farm but was kicked out. He returns, and turns Christina's world upside down. Everything she has ever loved is slipping through her fingers. Will she ever regain it, and is there a budding romance? There are twists and turns that leave you guessing and reading more to find out what is going to happen. This is a lovely and refreshing book. Kim has a way of making the characters come to life. Her use of describing words are marvelous. Something as simple as a door being left open she would write "left the door yawning wide open". I hope you enjoy as much as I did. Many Blessings  
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
What Once Was Lost is a beautifully written story set in the late 1800's. When the book opens, we meet Christina Willems. She lives on a farm that is supported by a missions board. Here, she provides food, care and lodgings for poor people. There are quite a few people living on the farm, relying on Christina. She inherited the running of this poor farm from her father, and it is all Christina knows. When tragedy strikes, and she and the fellow residents must scramble to find other housing, will Christina trust in God to provide or try to solve her problems herself? When Christina convinces local sawmill owner, Levi Johnson, to take in a young blind boy, we meet a man burdened by the past. His story unfolds throughout the book and we learn what led to his reclusive behavior. He is a wounded soul. Perhaps he and the blind boy, Tommy, can help heal each others emotional hurts. There are so many interesting characters in this novel. The author has done a wonderful job of creating deep and interesting lives for us to learn about. Cora has a very interesting story line that I enjoyed following. She does a lot of growing in this book. What Once Was Lost explores the topics of misunderstandings, bias, shame, forgiveness, guilt, greed, being self-sufficient rather than God dependent, and a good dose of romance. This was an interesting and enjoyable read. I received a copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
What Once Was Lost is set in Brambleton, Kansas in 1890. Christina runs a poor farm until a fire breaks out and damages the home. All of the residents has to find temporary homes while the house is being repaired. One of the residents that I loved is Tommy, a young blond boy. Christina found a temporary home for him with the local mill owner, Levi. Tommy and Levi quickly develop a bond with one another. After many obstacles, Christina wonders if she will be able to reopen the poor house. Will she return to her home reunite with her poor farm family? I really liked this story. Kim Vogel Sawyer doesn't disappoint again. I loved the storylines and the characters. I felt a connection with the characters and often found myself imagining myself living among them. I wished the story didn't have to end. I would highly recommend!! 5 of 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago