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The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) [Kindle Edition]

Jenny Wingfield
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (332 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $11.99
You Save: $3.01 (20%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

“Raw, dark, and powerful . . . Southern Gothic at its best. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake puts one in mind of Erskine Caldwell and Flannery O’Connor.”—Fannie Flagg

Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken eleven-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core and setting the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.
With the clear-eyed wisdom that illuminates the most tragic—and triumphant—aspects of human nature, Jenny Wingfield has created an enduring work of fiction.
“Jenny Wingfield has given us a spectacular novel [that] will make you laugh out loud one minute, hold your breath the next, and weep when you least expect it.”—Dorothea Benton Frank, author of Folly Beach
“[This novel] touches on many genres—family life, Christian fiction, coming-of-age, and suspense. . . . Readers will love it.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Wingfield hooks the reader with her opening sentence. . . . The reader is thoroughly caught up in the family saga.”—Abilene Reporter-News
“A lovely debut . . . a bittersweet, inspirational tale.”—The Dallas Morning News
Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.

Editorial Reviews


Advance praise for The Homecoming of Samuel Lake
“Jenny Wingfield’s richly detailed account of good and evil in 1950s Arkansas will captivate anyone who treasures the values of faith and honesty that are a part of America’s rural past. Wingfield’s sense of people and place is uncanny. After reading The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, you too will believe in miracles.”—Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author of Prayers for Sale and Whiter Than Snow
“Jenny Wingfield has given us a spectacular novel with The Homecoming of Samuel Lake. This ensemble of unforgettable characters will make you laugh out loud one minute, hold your breath the next, and weep when you least expect it. I didn’t just love this book, I adored it.”—Dorothea Benton Frank, New York Times bestselling author of Lowcountry Summer
“Readers will lift up their hands in praise of this layered tale of sin, grace, and redemption. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake has a supreme cast of characters including a flawed but righteous daddy, a makes-your-skin-crawl villain, and the sassiest, truest girl heroine this side of Scout Finch. Can I get an ‘Amen’?”—Susan Rebecca White, New York Times bestselling author of A Soft Place to Land and Bound South

“Wingfield writes complex, believable heroes . . . with redemption trumping tragedies in scenes ripe with tension and dread.”—Publishers Weekly

From the Hardcover edition.


'Raw and powerful.' Fannie Flagg, bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe 'With a teeming cast of memorable characters and an often heartbreaking story line, this gracefully written novel is sure to appeal broadly! it is the work of a born storyteller and a good choice for bookclubs.' Booklist 'Expect laughter and tears.' Easy Living, Summer Reading Pick 'Anyone who loves Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird will delight in Swan, the Lake's 11-year-old!This debut novel is so believable one wonders if it's fiction at all. It's all here. Faith. Honesty. Sin. Redemption. A miracle or two. Even a surprise ending. Wingfield's sense of people and place is near-perfect. You know these characters. You have met them.' USA Today 'Wingfield writes complex, believable heroes!with redemption trumping tragedies in scenes ripe with tension and dread.' Publishers Weekly 'With a teeming cast of memorable characters and an often heartbreaking story line, this gracefully written novel is sure to appeal broadly!it is the work of a born storyteller and a good choice for bookclubs.' Booklist 'This is a terrific book and the characters are sensationally good. You will love it' Booksmonthly 'If I could give it more than five stars I would do so without hesitation.' NewBooks magazine 'Guaranteed to warm the cockles of a heart of stone.' Herald Summer Reads

Product Details

  • File Size: 3898 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385344082
  • Publisher: Random House (July 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WNAS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,112 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verbal Feast for the Senses March 28, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Reading "The Homecoming of Samuel Lake" was a pleasant surprise for me. I was not familiar with the author, Jenny Wingfield. When I opened the back flap and learned that this was her first novel (after two successful screenplays), I didn't know what to expect. But it took only the very first sentence to hook me...and the rest of the paragraph to set the hook. After that, all she had to do was reel me in.

Samuel Lake is a good man. He's a faithful husband to the former Willadee Moses, a loving father to their three children, and a preacher by choice. But he's a man in conflict when he finds himself without a job, a home for his family, or any prospects for the future. By default, the only temporary home he can find is with the Moses clan on their family farm.

A sudden tragedy ricochets the trajectory of his preaching career like a bullet off a rock. Sam is forced to question everything he is and stands for--as a husband, a father, and a man of God. The process for him is about as painless as a Civil War era amputation--without anesthesia. And you feel his and his family's pain, yearning, hope, and disappointment as though you were living in their skin.

Wingfield's characters are as deep as a well--and as refreshing as a cool drink from it. The plot's twists and eddies carry you along their strong current to its dramatic conclusion. Wingfield knows how to keep the suspense as tight as a fishing line--giving a little play of humor to relieve the tension before hauling back on the line again. And her writing style is original and fresh with Southern homespun phrasing. "The Homecoming of Samuel Lake" was a verbal feast for the senses. This might be Jenny Wingfield's first novel; but I fervently hope it's not her last. Highly recommended!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Puzzling December 26, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's hard for me to decide whether I liked this book or not. On the one hand, yes, the characters are well-drawn, and the plot moves along at a fast, straight-forward clip, and the language is evocative. I think the problem is the voice--there's a stark contrast between the warm, cozy feel of much of the story, and the really brutal harshness of some of what happens in the story. If I compare it to The Secret Life of Bees, wherein there's a warmth and gentleness and humor to the story despite some pretty terrible events, this still feels a lot more jarring. It's almost as if you were reading along in To Kill a Mockingbird, and then suddenly there was a lurid description of a lynching, complete with an up-close description of a castration.

I am also a little unsure how to take the theme of the story--it seems to grapple with theodicy, why does God allow evil, especially evil perpetrated against children and even animals. But what is the resolution? is it that despite not having an answer, we should go on trusting in miracles and in love? Probably, and probably the point is that the pastor Dad embodies God's love in a way--but what are we to make of his action at the end? And are we to take Toy's action as Christ, taking the punishment that rightly belongs to us sinners?

I think the story probably does mean that, and that makes the whole thing even more jarring, because it is put into such a golden-hued setting, with a voice that uses devices such as capital letters to give a jocular tone: when The Bad Thing happened, she wanted to be Ready. (not a quote, just an approximation.)

I'm not sorry I read it, but if you have a hard time hearing about animal abuse or child abuse or spouse abuse, please beware.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new classic April 9, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"The Homecoming of Samuel Lake" is a beautifully-written book. At some points it's as carefree and fun as Huck Finn rafting the Mississippi; at other points as bittersweet and touching as "To Kill a Mockingbird." In fact, I'd almost go so far as to say this might turn out to be a new generation's "Mockingbird." It's that good!

It's the story of what happens when a preacher with a wife and three kids loses his job and they return to the family farm which isn't really a working farm as much as a general store and all-night bar.

With memorable characters and a captivating plot, it's a story about good vs. evil, miracles and disappointment, redemption, faith, and forgiveness.

I finished it this morning and I may just have to start reading it again this afternoon.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! April 21, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I wasn't sure I'd care for this writer or her book. My first choice is always a great mystery. That being said however, I fell into this story like falling in love! The unforgettable Moses family does that sort of thing to you. Each family member is a character that could stand alone beginning with the young heroine, Swan Lake. A name so funky that I thought I wouldn't be able to tolerate her. Wrong!! She's terrific. A wise cracking pint sized big mouth. She carries the story along and provides an intro to the other quirky members of the clan. The plot revolves around her and becomes very exciting as she helps to rescue a little boy from a brutally abusive father, soothes the spirits of a wounded veteran, and eventually gets herself into a situation that becomes heart pounding for the reader. By this time I liked Swan so much that I didn't want to believe what was happening to her. I won't say anymore, you'll have to read it yourself. But I can promise that you won't be disappointed. Without meaning to be overly critical, I DO have to mention that there are a couple of places where the writing might have benefited from some extremely careful editing. Nothing spoils this story though.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Samuel Lake is Home at Last!
I enjoyed the book, easy read, well written, with interesting characters.
Published 13 hours ago by bob king
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story
Excellent character development and descriptions. Love the kids..their innocence. A story of a family facing hard times with love of family and faith in God. Loved this book. Read more
Published 4 days ago by MAC
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth the time.
Really enjoy this book. Love the ending....

Sometimes it was slow, but it still turned out to be a very good read...
Published 6 days ago by P. W.
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful
This was a truly good read. The characters were well developed. The story itself was very well written. I would have given it five stars, but I reserve that for the very best.
Published 6 days ago by Janice K Hurst
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite
This book is writing at its best. There were many times when I had to put the book down because the subject matter is difficult to read, but wow. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Rachi J
5.0 out of 5 stars my favorite book of 2015
So far, my favorite book of 2015!!! Could not put it down, excellent from the first page! Can't wait to see more from this author!!
Published 15 days ago by Ellenky
5.0 out of 5 stars Great southern writing
Engaging. Great southern writing.
Published 16 days ago by smc
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story told in the manner of "To Kill a ...
Great story told in the manner of "To Kill a Mockingbird" I would recommend this book to any who likes a good, well told story!
Published 18 days ago by Rita K. Higgs
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming story of darkness overcome.
This book has a perfect blend of childhood adventures, growing up, love, misguided love, loyalty, miracles, and courage. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Dana Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
A great read - kept me interested the whole way through. Created lots of emotions.
Published 24 days ago by Kellye
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More About the Author

Born in Fountain Hill, Arkansas, Jenny Wingfield was a preacher's kid who grew up "pretty much all over Louisiana". She graduated from Southern State College in Magnolia, Arkansas, and for several years, taught English, French, and Language Arts.

Her screenwriting credits include The Man In The Moon, The Outsider, and Hallmark Hall of Fame's A Dog Named Christmas (winner of the 2010 Genesis Award). The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is her first novel.

She lives in Texas, surrounded by dogs, cats, and horses that she and her family have rescued.

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