“Wish Me Joy, West Virginia” by Valerie Banfield

Those who enjoyed Catherine Marshall’s Christy will enjoy the way faith is incorporated into Valerie Banfield’s Wish Me Joy, West Virginia. Those who enjoyed Kim Michele Richardson’s The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and Donna Everhart’s The Saints of Swallow Hill will like way Banfield delivers the historical aspects of a small town. And anyone […]

Claire Hamner Matturro interviews H. H. Leonards, author of “Rosa Parks Beyond the Bus: Life, Lessons, and Leadership”

Rosa Parks (1913-2005) was a Southern Black woman born into the Jim Crow South who became an icon of the civil rights movement after her refusal to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama. Author and friend, H. H. Leonards, writes that with that “one simple act, Mrs. Rosa Parks changed the trajectory of […]

“Song of the Chimney Sweep,” by Tamatha Cain

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The rich musical history of Jacksonville, Florida, provides an appealing backdrop for Tamatha Cain’s debut novel Song of the Chimney Sweep (Orange Blossom Publishing, August 2022). R&B, jazz, and rock stars with Jacksonville roots making appearances include the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ray Charles, Ma Rainey, Blind Blake, and James Weldon […]

June Read of the Month: “Fast Break,” by Terry Lewis

Reviewed by Claire Matturro Ever since Scott Turow re-energized the legal thriller with his critically acclaimed and commercially successful Presumed Innocent, there’s been a bounty of novels written by lawyers about lawyers and legal proceedings. Into this now-crowded field, former Florida circuit court judge Terry Lewis spins a compelling, authentic tale of courtroom intrigue and […]

“Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” by Sean Dietrich

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Personal, warm, heart-rendering in spots, funny in others, and nearly perfectly written word by word, Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Zondervan 2020) is classic Sean Dietrich. Which is to say, this memoir is good, very good—excellent, in fact. It has the power, the poignancy and emotional impact of Angela’s Ashes, […]

“Still Breathing: My Journey with Love, Loss, and Reinvention,” by Katie Joy Duke

Reviewed by Donna Meredith A memoir centered around a stillbirth hardly sounds as if it could be full of light and spiritually uplifting, but that’s exactly what Katie Joy Duke’s story Still Breathing: My Journey with Love, Loss, and Reinvention (New Degree Press, May 2022) is. Stillbirth is far more prevalent than most realize, affecting […]