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1.08.2018

A Song of Home ~ Review

A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era
Pearl Spence #3
By Susie Finkbeiner

Life for eleven-year-old Pearl Spence has taken on a new normal but she still longs for Mama to return home to them. But living near enough to visit with Aunt Carrie and Uncle Gus is nice. And the family no longer has to worry about too little food. Escaping with a library book is one of Pearl's favorite past times and Aunt Carrie has taught her how to climb a tree in a ladylike fashion, something Mama wouldn't approve of.

Bliss, Michigan, isn't like Red River, Oklahoma, Pearl knows because she and Ray spy Opal dancing with Lenny Miller. But Bliss has a past that isn't that different from Oklahoma when it comes to mixed race relations. When Opal starts teaching her how to swing dance Pearl has found a new favorite and with the upcoming Valentine's dance Pearl is determined to enjoy and show off her new skill.

But Pearl still longs for Mama to return but when Pearl gets her wish nothing is how it was. Mama may be home but she's not part of the family anymore and Pearl just can't believe Mama is home to stay.

This is yet another time of trial and change for Pearl as life continues. There are good times mixed in with the hurt and through it, all love and family are there for her. Growing up is never easy and sometimes the unexpected twists make sometimes harder than others.

I have to admit I have not read the previous two books in this series and I feel that if I had it might have been a tad easier to follow the story when it first started. But overall it was an interesting and enjoyable book. The racist attitudes of some of the people were hard to accept in their opinions of Opal. I really enjoyed Opal, Pearl, Ray, and Pearl's father along with Aunt Carrie and Uncle Gus they knew what was right and did it. Historical fiction is a great way to get a feel for an era and this book is no exception.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Kregel with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Pearl Spence has finally settled into a routine in Bliss, Michigan, far from her home in Red River, Oklahoma. Like all the other kids, she goes to school each day, plays in the woods, and does her chores. But there's one big difference: Mama is still gone, and doesn't seem to have a thought for the family she's left behind.

Escaping from her worries is another part of Pearl's new routine, whether that's running to Aunt Carrie's farm, listening to the radio with Ray, or losing herself in a book. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her favorite place on earth--until she discovers swing dancing. The music transports Pearl to a whole other world.

When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn't the happy occasion Pearl had imagined. Mama is distant and Pearl can't figure out how to please her. And the horrible way she treats Daddy is more than Pearl can bear. Seems life would be better if Mama would just stay away.

Finkbeiner's portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt readers. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won't be disappointed!