With nowhere else to go, Samuel and Willadee move in temporarily with Willadee's mother and all the problems surrounding this family also become theirs. But, everywhere she goes, Swan manages to make life a little bit better. She brings together a family torn apart and continues to be hopeful even in the worst of situations. She focuses a lot of her time on a neighbor boy that she believes is being harmed at home...a belief that is very much correct...and Swan is determined to save him. She's so, so good, while still being a complete innocent.
Talk about the perfect read for summer. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake packed in fabulously rich characters with an incredibly intriguing family story, all while making me feel just about every emotion possibly. I was angry at times, I felt hopeful at others, and even found myself laughing quite a bit.
Swan's character is just so touching and lovely and real. You'll want to scoop her up and bring her home with you. She haunted my thoughts for days after I finished the story and I still think about her at times...sometimes with a little chuckle and others I have a heavy heart. For such a little girl, she had a lot on her shoulders.
Though tough subjects are explored within the story, I highly recommend picking this one up this summer. The setting and time period and sense of close family ties made me think of summer and picnics and reading on the porch (which is exactly where I read this). I wouldn't exactly call it a "beach read," but certainly a book to read in the hammock with your lemonade on a hot and sunny afternoon.
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake
July 2012 (paperback)