Miracle in a Dry Season  -     By: Sarah Loudin Thomas
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Miracle in a Dry Season

Bethany House / 2014 / Paperback

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It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the small town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor...until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique way with food brings both gratitude and condemnation, placing the pair in the middle of a maelstrom of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0764212257
ISBN-13: 9780764212253
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

"Wonderful, simply wonderful. A story of love, healing, and forgiveness sure to grip the heart of every reader."

--Debbie Macomber, New York Times #1 bestselling author

In a Drought, It's the Darkest Cloud
That Brings Hope

It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor...until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

--

"This debut novel is splendid. The story is genuine and heartfelt, with just a touch of the Divine. A story of forgiveness and reckoning, and realizing love does cover a multitude of sins. Thomas will be a go-to author after you read Miracle in a Dry Season."
--Rachel Hauck, bestselling author of The Wedding Dress and Once Upon a Prince

"Charming, whimsical, and intelligently written, Miracle in a Dry Season is a beautiful debut novel!"
--Ann Tatlock, Christy-award winning author of Promises to Keep

Author Bio

Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fund-raiser for a children's ministry who has also published freelance writing for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as The Asheville Citizen-Times and The Journey Christian Newspaper. She holds a bachelor's in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more at www.sarahloudinthomas.com.

Product Reviews

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Displaying items 1-5 of 5
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  1. An Old Fashioned Girl
    Minnesota
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A tale of judgment and forgiveness
    July 27, 2014
    An Old Fashioned Girl
    Minnesota
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4

    Sarah Loudin Thomas' debut novel focuses on an imperfect community full of imperfect people, as a drought descends on the Appalachian town. 1954 starts out hopeful for Perla Long, arriving in Wise for an extended visit at her aunt's, with her young, fatherless daughter in tow. She quickly makes the acquaintance of Casewell Phillips, an upstanding bachelor and elder of the church. However, rumors soon fly about her unmarried state, and her hopes about a clean start are quickly dashed. Then, when drought descends, her peculiar gift of making miraculous quantities of food further separates her from the town. Will the community band together, or will it crumble like dust?

    Unlike in most historical fiction I've read, the heroine of this story - Perla - actually takes a backseat to the hero. The majority of the story is told from Casewell's point of view, with Perla filling in only occasionally. Through it, we can really see the changes in Casewell's heart. Though he tries to avoid gossip - a plague that runs rampant in the town - Casewell starts out disappointingly self-righteous and judgmental. He forgets to show mercy and extend God's grace. Then, too, when the preacher admonishes the congregation to repent from their sins, he willingly prays yet can't think of a single thing he has done wrong . . . While it is frustrating to observe his blindness in regards to his own spiritual state, what make it even more difficult is how close it hits home - how easy it is to fall into the same traps as Casewell. However, God works in Casewell's heart, and he becomes a worthy hero; He can do the same for us.

    Whatever we may think about how a child was conceived, children are a blessing from God; I'm so glad Perla sees her daughter as a blessing and not a damaging mark of shame that others view her to be. I really enjoyed the tale of the Talbot twins; though Casewell and Perla's story is no parallel, they have much to learn from the fun old ladies. The author drives home several good points on judgement and forgiveness, and she strongly encourages us to examine our own hearts. It is hard to remain dry-eyed through this tender story.

    Thank you Bethany House and NetGalley for providing an e-copy for the purpose of review; I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own.

  2. tmurrell
    TN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Outstanding story by a new author
    July 24, 2014
    tmurrell
    TN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Perla has returned to Wise, West Virginia to stay with her aunt and uncle. But this time she returns with a young girl and no husband. She just wanted a place to stay where she wouldn't be ostracized for her bad choices and where hopefully the rumors wouldn't run her out of town. Casewell is an elder in the church and a very eligible bachelor. Perla knows there is no way that he would ever consider a fallen woman, but for some reason she can't help sharing her secrets with this quiet, steady man.

    I'd reviewed the novella that was a sort of prequel to this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. (See review here.) I once again loved the characters and the sweet simplicity of the little town. The side characters added depth and heart to the story. I was drawn into the story from the very beginning and saw a beautiful little town with flaws and spirit as I read. While I enjoyed the romance and plot in the story, I also really loved the way the author wove the plan of salvation and the difficult act of forgiveness in so seamlessly. The miracle is not so much about something tangible as it is a miracle of the heart.
    It isn't often that I find an author that I can truly add to my favorites list. It's even rarer that this is a new author, just getting started. But this author has definitely made the cut. I look forward to her next books.

    I received this book free of charge from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

  3. AmyG
    North Carolina
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Best read of the year, so far!
    July 22, 2014
    AmyG
    North Carolina
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    If Miracle in a Dry Season were a painting, then I would hang it in my home as a centerpiece among family portraits to showcase my heritage. Of my guests who appreciate it, I would think that they must understand me, that perhaps we are connected. Within the pages of this beautiful tale is the heart of a people closely related to those from whom I descend. With grace and charm, Sarah Loudin Thomas writes beyond the stereotypes of Appalachia and carries us to a place both real and fanciful, where we experience what has been and what could be.
    The special gift of the heroine transforms the book into an authentic mountain yarn lending it a touch of the supernatural to supersede the hardships doled out by this life. The true miracle of this story is not divine intervention upon the laws of nature but the transformation of hearts. Thomas does not preach God’s love to us, rather she shows us through flawed characters living in an imperfect world, who learn how to forgive and love each other.
    The lessons of this book are subtle and inspiring. You will be carried away to Wise, West Virginia where you will find friends to cheer for and a little extra peace for your soul. And if like me, you have roots in those hills, you may even find yourself both smiling and crying at those parts that feel very close to home.

  4. Susan
    Clover, SC
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Profound and Precious Book
    July 21, 2014
    Susan
    Clover, SC
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    I dearly wish I could give this book 10 stars. It is Sarah Loudin Thomas's debut novel and if this is how she writes, she's on my favorites list from now on!

    The book is set in 1954 Wise, West Virginia. Perla Long has come to Wise to stay with her Aunt Delilah and Uncle Robert. With Perla is her 5 year old daughter Sadie. Perla is hoping her past mistakes will be hidden in this town.

    Casewell Phillips is a bachelor and he figures he always will be. He meets Perla and she's just what he thinks a woman ought to be. He can't quite wrap his head around the fact that he believes she is hiding something serious.

    Wise is in the midst of a horrible drought. Crops are dying, cattle are dying and food is scarce. Perla's gift, a very unusual gift, can help the town, but everyone seems to see the worst in her, instead of being grateful for help when they need it.

    I read a lot of books. A LOT. This book moved me so deeply and profoundly, that it's very hard for me to describe how wonderful it is. Ms. Loudin Thomas has an incredible gift for putting words on a page. I wanted to go to Wise, West Virginia and meet some of these people. I loved nearly all them. The Talbot sisters, Frank, Emily and John Phillips, Delilah and Frank, Perla, Sadie and especially Casewell Phillips.

    The book is told from mostly Casewell's point of view. That's different because most Christian fiction concentrates on the female's point of view or shares with the male. But the reader gets to know Casewell quite well. He is a strong man, a very spiritual man who values his relationship with Christ above all others, always seeking to please God with his life and every action he takes.

    Perla tries to be in the shadows, but she has such a giving heart, but at the same time, she just can't seem to forgive herself for her past mistakes. It seems people react in anger and judgment every time they hear of her or see her. What can she do? Must she leave another town?

    One early endorser of this book said it had 'just a touch of the Divine.' I must differ. This book is guided by the Divine all the way through. God's will is sought by Casewell in everything and His life is guided by God. But he also submits to God his own will.

    This book is as rich as deep as Perla's chicken pot pie and peach cobbler. I found myself smiling often and crying a lot. This was just such a wonderful book. I am not a creative person and feel that I can't do the book justice with this review. It is heart felt, charming and down to earth. It is enriching. It is a story of God's redemption, grace, mercy and healing and forgiveness. It has a great truth to teach if the reader will listen and put this lesson into application in their own lives. I know it did mine with a problem I've been struggling with.

    If you only read a few books a year, read this one. I am definitely giving it pride of place on my shelves and I eagerly anticipate the next offering from Sarah Loudin Thomas.

    *I was given an advanced reader copy of this book by the publisher, which in no way influenced my review.

  5. Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Appalachian fairy-tale!
    July 20, 2014
    Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    In 1954, a young woman arriving somewhere alone was suspicious.
    If she came with a child it was scandalous indeed, and it got even worse if she was pretty.
    Perla Long was all three... lovely, very alone, and with her past spelled out in bold letters by the presence of her five year-old Sadie.

    She was hoping to be anonymous when she came to this close-knit Appalachia town, but there was no chance of that.
    Soon everyone would think they knew *what* she was, and perhaps nobody would know *who* she was.

    Casewell Phillips was born and bred in that place, and the music of the hills ran in his blood. He was equally at home playing the mandolin or crafting furniture, and he was known for both. At 35, he was almost resigned to living life spouseless. He had his work, and his mother and father close by. Until he laid eyes on Perla.

    This seems like a simple tale of second chances and love blooming. It is, at the heart, but it is far more than that alone.
    It is a story of drought, and longing for the rain that we humans cannot call down from the sky.
    It is a story of judgement, punishment and shunning, and a story of innocence leading the way.
    It is a story of great love coming through terrible circumstances.

    This book reminded me of a fairy-tale. What I mean is the story seems magical at times, and mystical, and the dark circumstances let the final light shine brightly.

    The cast of characters also belong to a uniquely Appalachian fairy tale.
    The sweetly impish child Sadie.
    The elvish elderly ladies/ who want Casewell to build them a new potato bin.
    The wild-haired town drunk/prophet who broke hearts back in 1902.
    Perla, the princess-in-disguise, whose gift may save the Kingdom.
    Casewell, the one who finds that strength isn't always shown best by proud opposition, sometimes we are strongest when we are accepting another.

    I'm am delighted to know that this is the start of a series. I think you will be too. :-)

    Thank you to the author, Sarah Loudin Thomas, for a chance to be one of her first reviewers. I received my copy in exchange for sharing my thoughts.

Displaying items 1-5 of 5
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