Lead Me Home
By Amy K. Sorrells
Published by Tyndale
370 Pages

Back Cover: Amid open fields and empty pews, small towns can crush big dreams.
Abandoned by his no-good father and forced to grow up too soon, Noble Burden has set his dreams aside to run the family farm. Meanwhile, James Horton, the pastor of the local church, questions his own calling as he prepares to close the doors for good.

As a severe storm rolls through, threatening their community and very livelihood, both men fear losing what they care about most . . . and reconsider where they truly belong.

REVIEW: The title Lead Me Home (subtitle: What if all we’re looking for is right where we are?) first caught my eye. I was surprised and hooked to the story after I read the first line, “All at once, the Reverend James Horton understood why Frank Whitmore had killed himself.”

What? I’d never read a book that started out like that. This made me read more. Then I checked out the author note to reader section; she says,”…my heart was … broken for small churches, small towns, and the over looked among us…”It’s not easy being small these days, It’s not easy being the church these days either. Many small towns, independent farms, and churches are dying; just like in the fictional town of Sycamore, Indiana. Many folks like James Horton and Noble Burden wonder how they could possibly be in the right place. Many feel insignificant – even invisible – because of how they compare to the biggest churches, farms and dreams all around them…they struggle to feel like they matter when every sound bite, every social media outlet, everything that saturates our senses says that bigger, louder, stronger, smarter, more beautiful, more independent, and more trendy is better.”

I appreciated hearing her heart about these matters before I plunged into reading the rest of the story. The main character Pastor James Horton struggles with insecurity and the ability to wrap his mind around the church he’d been given to serve for years is closing. His wife was killed in a car accident a few years back and now he was facing the death of his church. How was this possible? Didn’t he hear from God about being the Pastor at this church? Deep down he didn’t blame the people for going to a more modern looking church.

“Higher Grounds resembled the TajJahal rising above the cornfields where the interstate rounded a bend on the way to Indianapolis and traffic getting in an out three morning and one Saturday evening service.”

“Sycamore Community Church (who James Pastored) had been a small ragamuffin church that still used hymnals, recited the Apostles Creed, sang the doxology after the offering, and typed and printed their own bulletins. James Horton didn’t doubt that Higher Grounds preached the same gospel…He wondered why so many were attracted to the loud and shiny places that made old places like Sycamore Community Church seem obsolete, even ignorant by comparison, on days James felt most discouraged, all he wanted to know from God was: Wasn’t the gospel supposed to be enough? Wasn’t he enough?”

This was a good point and fascinating to read about. Across the field Nobel Burden had put his dreams on hold after his father left them behind to run a dairy farm and take care of his younger brother and mother. His dream is to move to Nashville and play his music. The thing that keeps him planted is his family and the love he has for a young lady in town who hasn’t talked to him since her mother died in a car accident.

I felt for each characters situation. Nothing was easy but in the end the author reminds the characters and the reader of something important. Nobel says, “I think I’m realizing God’s been wanting to comfort me, but that he can’t if I don’t let him. If All I’m doing is running from him, I ain’t gonna find him because I’m looking in the wrong direction….Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love…”

This author explores both of these men’s’ situations as they seek God for answers and don’t hear a response right away. In the end both come to the same conclusion on their own; “Grace is abundant for each of us who chooses to believe.”

This is a moving, thought-provoking story with characters I deeply cared for. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author it won’t be the last. This would make a great book pick for your book club.The author has included twelve discussion questions to help you create a lively discussion.  It’s a must read!  Add this title to your summer reading list.

ABOUT AUTHOR: AMY K. Sorrells is an award-winning author and occasional poet writing words of hope for a hurting world. Amy got her start in journalism, has written for medical publications, and enjoyed a three year stint as a weekly op-ed columnist for her town newspaper. A graduate of DePauw University, Amy lives with her husband and three sons in central Indiana.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Book Club Network site and Tyndale Publishers. 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! 
The Book Club Network blog 
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  1. 1. Sitting at my desk at church I see the inspection tag on our fire panel for the church. This means that panel is working correctly and has been thoroughly checked for this year. I feel safer because it's there. I also see the list of the members of our church youth group and their sponsors. They are a blessing to our congregation and I'm thankful for them. The third thing I see that I am thankful for is a picture of my grandbabies. They make me smile just by being themselves.

  2. 2. My work IS my church! I think we have a number of people who come on Sunday, sit in the pews to worship and quietly leave without feeling they've made an impact on the congregation. I think it's encouraging to speak to them and ask how their week went or if they have any special plans coming up. Just making the connection is encouraging, as much for me as for them.

  3. 3. Seven years ago I was laid off from an office job I loved. I spent 13 months searching for work and ended up taking a job writing for a local newspaper. While I enjoyed the writing and the interesting stories I ran into, I HATED all the evening meetings I had to attend and the thousands of miles a year that I put on my car to do the job. After 3 years of doing that, I got a call out of the blue from the Administration Commission at my church asking if I would ever consider taking the job of church secretary. That's the job I had hoped for when I originally lost my first job!! I have enjoyed every minute of being in the church office and it would take a PERFECT job offer to lure me away!

  4. 4. The article on "Living a Romance Novel" looks fun!

  5. Yes! The crime scene tape on the "Who Killed My Church?" ad drew me in and made me want to read about the book.