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UNTIL THE HARVEST by SARAH LOUDEN THOMAS REVIEWED

Until the Harvest
By Sarah Louden Thomas
Published by Bethany House
ISBN#978-0-7642-1226-0
300 pages

Back Cover: Take This Journey of Broken Souls Restored
and Tentative Hearts Brought Fully to Life.

When family tragedy derails Henry Phillips's college studies, he's left unmoored and feeling abandoned. The only things that can tamp down his grief are the family farm, his fiddle, and an unexpected friendship with sweet but unusual preteen Mayfair Hoffman. 
 
Unfortunately, Mayfair's older sister, Margaret, despite her spray of freckles and cute, turned-up nose, has a completely different effect. His grandmother's helper, she's always around, ready to push his buttons, and it seems at first that she doesn't care about his troubles. 
  
Henry soon realizes, though, that Margaret's facing her own struggles. Mayfair's health and unique gift sit at the heart of those worries. Henry and Margaret soon find themselves relying on each other as potential tragedy collides with growing hope in a warm story of family bonds and the surprising ways healing finds us all.

REVIEW:  This novel is the sequel to Miracle in a Dry Season and has some of the same characters. Henry, Perla and Casewell Phillip’s son is featured in this story. Henry tells his father how he’s had a gig playing his fiddle and would like to do it full time. His father strongly encourages him to stay the course and graduate. He’d be finished next year.

Margaret Hoffman works for Henry’s grandmother, Emily. She loves working on the farm and helping where she can. She is able to bring her sister Mayfair with her. Margaret is very protective of her sister because of her diabetes.

Henry thought he had more time with his father; how could God take him now? He had no Idea 1976 would start out this way. He starts to make bad choices that alter his life. He ignores that little voice inside that keeps sending out warning signals. He’s angry and impulsive. But since he’s making easy money running moonshine he thinks he’s invincible. Until illegal drugs show up and an unplanned pregnancy. Then he realizes he’s not a superhero but someone in need of help!

“Margaret puffed her breath out in frustration. “I know you love your grandson Henry, but maybe you’re too willing to see past his flaws.”…If you ignore his flaws, how is that going to help him improve?”…”We love because he first loved us.”

Emily smiles, “Not ignore the flaws, but love the person in spite of them. There’s a difference.”
Both Margaret and Henry are doing some soul-searching to discover what things are most important in life. They kind of rub each other the wrong way as each seeks meaning-purpose, love and peace of mind. They both think it’s a little silly that Frank and Angie should get married at 90 years old. But when they look at those two and the love inside for one another it makes them stop and think about their own lives.

Margaret shares with Emily her thoughts about Frank and Angie’s marriage. Emily says, “Oh, My dear, it’s the bravest thing two people can do at any age. To pledge yourself to someone forever – no matter what comes-that takes nerve. I suppose the Lord made us to have all the fluttery, falling-in-love feelings because he knew we’d never hitch up otherwise.”

Margaret laughs and wonders, “Why love so hard when they will die?”

Perla says, “It’s hard to lose someone you love, but I guess it’s even harder if you don’t have anyone to lose. It miss Casewell every day, but I wouldn’t trade a moment of the time I had with him, even if it meant missing the pain.”

Margaret, “But loving someone like that, it just, well, giving them access to…” Mayfair finishes, “To your heart,”…Sometimes it’s hard to recognize love when you’ve never seen it before.”

Mayfair is a sensitive soul, has frail health, and has a gift of helping to heal families by showing the love of Jesus to the unlovable people. She cares and people respond to it. Mayfair was an old soul in a twelve year old body. She has wisdom beyond her years.

Angie, “Marrying the right person at the right time can be one of God’s best gifts. But if the times’’ not right, it can ruin your life.”

This book reminds me of a good old country song that explores the simple life, and shows what true love is; all the while revealing the joys and hardship of farm life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org 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”.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
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