Our family received this book as a Christmas gift from the author, who also happens to be our Aunt Pat. This easy to read fiction book is about a young man, Jesse, who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The setting, of course, is a real place, located just outside our door.
The Blue Ridge during the 1940’s, when the story takes place, was a time of superstition, moonshining, and fighting. Although it is mostly fictitious, the author weaves in threads of true events passed on from generation to generation.
Life was rough for the young father who had made some bad decisions in his life, but even through those times, God continually pursued Jesse’s heart. Through the faithful friendships and kindnesses of Jesus-loving people, he watches and experiences the hands and feet of Christ at work.
Mrs. Guthrie doesn’t shy away from the real domestic problems of the day nor does she dismiss real life tragedies that strike. Over time, and with the prayers of those who love Jesse despite his faults, the Holy Spirit opens the young man’s eyes to his need of a Savior.
I enjoyed this book because the author shows that even though life can be messy and hard, the Gospel has the power to transform a person’s life. Also, how no one is ever “too far gone” for Christ to love and redeem.
A favorite excerpt from the book is:
“Jesse, Honey, what’s got into you?” she asked with a smile that filled her face with light. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she kissed him back until Timmy, entering the room said in a sing-sonny voice, “Mom-my!”
Unwrapping themselves, Jesse picked up Timmy and told him, “Timmy, I jes love your mommy so much I jes gotta hug her and kiss her, and I love you so much I jes have to…”
“Not kiss me!” Timmy cried out pulling back and making a disgusted face.
“Nope!” I jes have to squeeeeeze ya and tickle ya!” Jesse answered, squeezing Timmy and tickling him until he giggled and wiggled himself out of his grasp onto the floor, laughing.
The house had never known such pure joy before, and it was only the beginning of a long, new relationship between the three of them that would grow greater and closer with time.
My age recommendation for this book would be 14+. It would be a nice supplement if you are studying Southern history during the 30’s or 40’s, or just need a reminder that God is still alive and at work in His world.