Jenny Wingfield's The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is a great piece of fiction - set in the 1950s in the South, Samuel Lake, a preacher returns home one summer to join his wife and children (already staying with their relatives) after he is not assigned a church for the coming year.
Part the story is of Samuel's work as a preacher, but also focuses on his family. As I try to determine which points are most important to share about this family, I realize it is like most families- relationships are complicated, interwoven with various events that happen over time. Willadee supports her husband in all he does and manages to trust him despite her sister-in-law's intentions of winning him over.
Sam and Willadee's daughter, Swan, makes friends with a neighbor boy, Blade, who is abused by his father. Their friendship thrives and when Blade runs away from home, the Lakes and Moses families offer him shelter and safety. Their offer comes with a price as Blade's father seeks to get revenge.
Eventually events reach a suspenseful climax and resolution, and Samuel Lake and the rest of his clan is able to show the strength of a family who supports each other.
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake grabbed me from the beginning. This is Wingfield's debut novel, and one I will recommend to others.