Daily Archives: July 28, 2011

Review: The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

Jenny Wingfield

352 pages

Publication Date: July 12, 2011

Publisher: Random House

Source: Publisher

John Moses couldn’t have chosen a worse day, or a worse way to die, if he’d planned it for a lifetime. Which was possible. He was contrary as a mule. It was the weekend of the Moses family reunion, and everything was perfect−or at least perfectly normal−until John went and ruined it.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake starts out with the patriarch of the Moses family but luckily for all of the book’s readers, it doesn’t end there. Every year on the first Sunday in June, the Moses family hosts their family reunion. Family from all over come back home to Columbia County, Arkansas including Willadee Lake, John’s only daughter and favorite child. Willadee married a traveling preacher, Samuel Lake, and now can only visit Arkansas once a year. But when tragedy strikes and Samuel loses his parish back in Louisiana, the Lakes are forced to stay in Arkansas longer than they counted on. But what happens next is an amazing story of love, faith, and joy that affects not only the Lakes and Moses but the community around them.

Okay so I didn’t really tell you much about The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, did I? Like that Willadee and Samuel have three amazing kids Swan, Bienville, and Noble.  I also didn’t tell you how Willadee’s sister-in-law Bernice is one low woman who’s trying to win back her high school sweetheart which happens to be Samuel? I also didn’t mention that the Moses’ next door neighborhood, Ras, is a villain that I have no problem hating, a man beyond redemption or pity.

So now you know. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is only the second book (besides 32 Candles) that I stayed up all night and mid-morning to read until I knew what happened to each character. I loved the Moses family, who aren’t perfect but understand what it means to be a family and how loyalty truly works. Samuel Lake is a man who thinks he has somehow lost favor with God and don’t understand why he doesn’t have a parish to preach to. The book deals with faith in a straightforward way that doesn’t preach, which I appreciate.

My only problem with the book is that Bernice didn’t get her just desserts and that I wanted to know more about Willadee’s brother, Toy. Toy is a man who suffers throughout his life and though readers are told a lot about Toy’s past, I wanted to know even more.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is a great thick summer read that left me teary in some parts, laughing in others, and ready to hug it at the end. If you love books with Southern settings, you can’t go wrong reading this which is why I’m giving away one copy to a lucky reader. Let me know in the comments if you want to be entered in the contest. I’ll pick a winner in a few days. Good luck.

Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 stars