Fifteen-year-old Cindy worked long days beside her migrant worker family in Michigan's sugar beet fields in the early 1940s -- the "war years" -- until she met a dashing young man from a traveling carnival, bringing some joy and fun into her hard-scrabble life. But a tragic twist of fate -- and a dead field boss-- sent the two young people on the run, leaving behind family and everything she'd ever known.
Lucy Tucker, the crotchety old bag lady from the popular Yada Yada House of Hope series, is a veteran of Chicago streets and not about to give up her independence, even as she approaches her 80th birthday.
Until, that is, a young displaced woman with her gentle aging mother and a dog named Dandy seem to need her -- unsettling the secretive Lucy, who doesn't let anyone get too close. But just when it seems her past is catching up with her to bring her in out of the cold... Lucy disappears again. How these two tales intersect and intertwine between past and present gradually shines light into the dark corners of Lucy's murky past. But... why won't Lucy come home?
I got right into Cindy's story. I love history, and so disappearing into a part of the past that I know little about - migrant farm workers - was really interesting, especially since my great-grandfather used to talk about farming long ago. As Cindy met Bo and was attracted to the bright lights and the lure of the circus, I could see how exciting the circus must be after the extreme poverty and difficulties she faced each day.
Lucy's story was a bit harder for me to identify with, perhaps partly because it was scary. As the two stories intersected and you could see more clearly into Lucy's past, while it definitely became more compelling, it was difficult to read about how just one or two wrong choices could alter the course of your entire life - and just how easy it is to end up on the streets. This part of the story became very thought-provoking for me: why would such a kind woman refuse help that could make her life so much more safe and comfortable? Why did Lucy push everyone away? Do many of the other people whom we see out on the streets have similar stories - a wrong choice, a lack of information, a tragedy unable to be dealt with - and then homeless, not knowing where to turn?
The Jacksons are smooth, clear, vibrant writers who definitely pull you right into their storyline. They paint realistic backdrops of each scene until you're right there in them. Every detail from the accent of the neighbors to the smells in the fields are offered up to round out the story. Throw in a faux rich runner, a crime-detecting dog, a circus hawker, and beet picker, and you've got one colorful book.
I can't wait for the Jacksons' next work - but in the meantime, I think the kids and I will be making some more Blessing Bags.
I received a free copy of Lucy Come Home from LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.
About Dave and Neta:
Dave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set.
As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.
Visit http://www.daveneta.com for more info.