After the loss of her young son, Carver, an African-American preacher’s wife named Delilah Evans moves with her family from Montgomery, Alabama, to Sinking Creek, Pennsylvania, for a fresh start. The last thing she could have imagined was becoming friends with Emma Mullet, a reclusive Amish woman.
Emma is fighting personal battles of her own and feels estranged from her small Amish community. The secrets that have kept her isolated from her own community serve to unite her in an unlikely friendship with Delilah.
Sparrow, Delilah’s eldest daughter, knows she is responsible for the death of her little brother. When tensions at home become unbearable, she seeks solace at Emma’s house, becoming the surrogate daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own, secrets that could sever all ties to her safe refuge.
Life for these three gets harder when church and social issues confront them, causing rifts within Sinking Creek’s three distinct communities: whites, blacks, and Amish. When their carefully protected secrets come to light, there seems to be little hope for friendship, restoration, or even forgiveness. But when the unthinkable happens, Delilah and Emma find themselves looking into the mirror of their own self-deceptions and are forced to make a choice that will set the way of their future.
A heart-wrenchingly somber tale of three women and their lives, the pain of losing a child, the sorrow of the emptiness inside, the secrets of the families, the racial and cultural unrest of the 1950s, and the turmoil of hearts when the darkest, deepest corners of your heart and mind are being exposed to the community surrounding you.
With breathtakingly beautiful prose, the author tells a story that went straight to my heart and shattered it repeatedly with the realistic and raw grief each of the women experience in their lives.
From the hidden alcoholism, self-mutilation, manipulations of mind and body, to the blame, bitterness, and agony, the sense of failure as a woman, mother, wife, sister, daughter, a Christian, a person of the community, every emotion and event tours a new wound to the fragile souls. Each of the three women seemed to burst into dust with their own unique pain until they were able to start to heal, to let the past go, to try to start a fresh, and find a new direction and purpose in their lives.
Each of the ladies gets their turn to tell their side of the story and events unfolding, in the first POV. And through their own eyes and thoughts, the reader gets to live the moments at their side, feeling all the emotions and the despair of their minds.
While I admire and applaud this devastatingly heartbreaking novel, it might have been one of the most difficult books to read with its burdensome lessons and heartfelt messages, even of the survival and strength of women when put them through the worst hardships of life.
These ladies and their destinies have stayed with me, lingered in my mind, and made me wonder how much - if any while watching the recent events - has the society advanced with certain matters over the decades.
While there is nothing light or fluffy about the story, and it definitely cannot be considered escape-reading, this delicate tale about the racial differences, and the mother's heart and its grief, about lives in turmoil, and the growing pains of a teenager, for an open mind and heart it will give a new perspective, a new understanding, and a new respect, appreciation, and confirmation of the strength of a woman and their heart, mind, and soul. Yes, the story will shatter you, your very core being, if you let it, but it will bring the healing, mending, encouragement, and inspiration before the ladies continue their new lives with their fresh start.
A stunningly affecting and poignant story
~ Five Spoons