From Sean Dietrich—also known as Sean of the South—comes a poignant tale of the stars that shine all around us . . . if only we’re willing to look.
When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, Marigold is rejected by her family and forced to fend for herself. And when she loses her baby in the forest, her whole world turns upside down. She’s even more distraught upon discovering she has an inexplicable power that makes her both beautiful and terrifying—and something of a local legend.
Meanwhile, migrant workers Vern and Paul discover a violet-eyed baby and take it upon themselves to care for her. The men soon pair up with a widow and her two children, and the untraditional family finds their way in fits and starts toward taking care of each other.
As survival brings one family together, a young boy finds himself with nary a friend to his name amid the dust storms still raging across Kansas. Fourteen-year-old Coot, a child preacher with a prodigy’s memory, is on the run with thousands of stolen dollars—and the only thing he’s sure of is that Mobile, Alabama, is his destination.
As the years pass and a world war looms, their stories intertwine in surprising ways. With a voice both humorous and heartfelt, Sean Dietrich weaves together a tale about the dignity of humanity and the value of enduring hope—reminding us that when the dust clears, we can still see the stars.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Goodreads Rating: 4.16
Recommended Drink Pairings:
Tea: Southern Sweet Iced Tea
Coffee: Iced Coffee
Why I Chose This Book
I am part of the TLC Book Tour for this new release by Sean Dietrich. I haven’t read too many books set in Alabama during the Great Depression so I thought it would be interesting.
First Initial Thoughts
There are three separate stories in the beginning of the novel and at first it was kind of confusing because by the middle of the book you start to wonder if these stories are going to intertwine in anyway. I won’t say if they do or not - no spoilers!
Marigold is a 15 year old girl who just gave birth to a baby girl and is essentially homeless living in the woods with her baby because her family kicked her out for getting pregnant. I really felt sorry for her because the way she got pregnant was not her fault. You have to read the story to find out. She one day goes to town to get some food but through certain circumstances is stuck in town overnight. Her baby, Maggie is left in the woods and their Vern and Paul shows up.
Vern and Paul are out in the woods with their dog when they find Maggie in the woods. Vern is captivated by the baby and wants to keep her. Paul ultimately caves in and lets Vern keep her. Marigold is devastated when she comes back and her baby is gone. The next few months she is walking around the woods with little food and water. By the end of those few months she is emaciated and dehydrated. A group of woman at a “saloon” house take her in and help her get better.
Coot and his friend are in Kansas barely surviving the dust bowl. They suddenly come upon some huge amounts of money and run out of town. However, Coot’s friend boards him on a bus to Alabama and leaves him there to build a better life with the money they stole.
This book is not only set in Alabama but also Kansas and other southern states. Sean captured the Great Depression perfectly. We often hear about how Europe struggled during the late 30’s and during the war but not so much America. It was inspiring to learn how people coped and survived during this difficult era.
Midway through the story the story jumps 6 years ahead. Vern and Paul is with another family and taking care of Verna (the little baby Maggie). Marigold is still with the group of girls as a housemaid. Coot is in Alabama as a works-man upset that he can not go to war due to a murmur in his heart.
Marigold soon finds out she has a gift of healing and the whole town starts seeing her for this “gift”. I was surprised how well she adapted to helping those in need. Healing is a spiritual gift given by God, and quite rare.
I think this story is about getting through the hard times and leaning on the Lord to get you through those difficult times. I found it interesting that Sean wrote about the Great Depression and the WWII in the south and what it was like for the families. Families often went hungry and without basic needs for years due to job shortages and rampant dust bowls. We often don’t hear about these historical stories in our own country.
This story also reminds us that there will always be good and bad people. Even though someone may be experiencing difficult times, there are always people there that will support you and be you there when times are tough. Also, family is not just blood. Family can be friends, neighbors, etc. Family can be those closest to you and it’s important to hold them close.
Would I Recommend?
Though I thought it read slowly, I think some may really enjoy the story and find it worth while to read.
Connect With Sean
Please Note: I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher to review. All opinions are my own.