Colman Harpe works for the C&O in the Appalachian rail town of Thurmond, West Virginia, but he'd rather be a preacher and lead his own congregation. When a member of the rival McLean clan guns down his cousin and the clan matriarch, Serepta McLean, taunts the Harpes by coming to a tent revival in their territory, Colman chooses peace over seeking revenge with the rest of his family.
Colman, known for an unnaturally keen sense of hearing, is shocked when he hears God tell him to preach to the McLeans. A failed attempt to run away leaves Colman sick and suffering in the last place he wanted to be--McLean territory. Nursed by herbalist Ivy Gordon--a woman whose unusual appearance has made her an outcast--he's hindered in his calling by Serepta's iron grip on the region and his uncle's desire to break that grip. But appearances can be deceiving, and he soon learns that the face of evil doesn't look like he expected.
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What I love about Sarah Loudin Thomas' stories is the miraculous surprises found within, and in When Silence Sings there are plenty of them. Thomas took the conflict, hatred, and danger of a Hatfield vs. McCoy-like feud, threw in a Jonah-like situation, and added some special characters and events to make this a very worthwhile and satisfying read.Thomas gives the reader many points to ponder. Of course, it all fits perfectly in the 1930s West Virginia setting.
There was so much going on in this story that even though the book concluded naturally, it had been messy, and many questions were left unanswered. I mean this in a good way, that perhaps there could be a sequel, and if not, it's okay because that was the nature of the story.
Men and women who appreciate historical fiction and the West Virginia setting and culture will enjoy this book.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, on behalf of the author, for review purposes. The thoughts expressed here are my own.
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