Anna Mae is unsure she wants to be watched over by her neighbor Jack even though they grew up together. Jack had wanted to marry her but she was already in love with Harley. Now Harley’s been gone, and she’s only heard from him once. How can she keep the farm without income from him?
This book has Kim Sawyer’s signature depth of characterization. As the reader, I quickly fell in love with Anna and her struggles. The characters were rich and diverse. Harley is a man who has pulled himself up and works hard to support his family. Jack has a successful dairy farm, but is focused on the love that’s been denied him. Dirk is a man who will teach Harley what sacrifice is about. And Anna is a woman trying to make the best of an impossible situation.
I also love the way Kim makes the setting come alive. She pulls together unknown pieces of Kansas history that add richness and depth to the plot. I also enjoyed the fact that this book was set during the Depression. This has been a time period that has been overlooked by many historical authors, yet Kim makes it come to life in a manner that kept me engaged from page one.
The book is also filled with spiritual themes without becoming too preachy. Harley is unsaved in the beginning, despite Anna’s efforts. Because of people like Dirk and his boss Mr. Peterson, his heart softens over time. And Anna struggles with trusting God to provide for her and the girls. Anyone who's ever struggled to relinquish control, can relate to her struggles. I know I can!
There were a couple times I thought I could anticipate where Kim was taking the plot. What I expected to be predictable often had a twist I couldn’t see. And not all the plotlines ended perfectly. In that way, the book mirrors life where everything doesn’t wrap up in perfect packages.