Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#BookReview: A Wish and A Prayer - Beverly Jenkins

Like returning home for a family reunion, Beverly Jenkins takes readers back to Henry Adams, Kansas and its town members.  We first met them in Bring on the Blessings, grew to love them in A Second Helping and were amazed by them in Something Old, Something New

In Bring on the Blessings, we learned of this town that had been founded by freed slaves after the Civil War.  When the mayor put the struggling town up for sale on eBay, Bernadine Brown, the ex-wife of a multimillionaire purchased it and began to turn the town around.  With Bernadine's help, town residents were able to foster and adopt needy children from around the country and bring them to a place filled with love and history.

In A Second Helping the residents and kids prepare for the adoption process and readers are treated to a history lesson about an August 1st parade.  If you're as unfamiliar with it as I was when I first read about it, here's some background.   Most of us are familiar with Juneteenth, which is celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the abolition of slavery in Texas, the last state to free their slaves in 1865. August 1st celebrates the abolishment of slavery in the British empire in 1834 and was celebrated throughout towns in the United States up until 1927. To this day it is also celebrated in Barbados, Bermuda, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Anguilla, The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and the British Virgin Isles.

With Something Old, Something New the town prepared for the wedding of mayor Trent July and his high school girlfriend, Lily Fontaine and a few of the adopted children began to wonder about their birth parents.  As Lily and Trent moved forward with wedding plans, they were challenged with assisting their foster kids with making the transition from the new home life they had come to love to being an extended family.

A Wish and A Prayer finds the town doing battle with the neighboring mayor who insists on trying to bring a big box store to their area and wants Henry Adams to pay for it.  Riley Curry, the former mayor and hog lover, shines the spotlight on the little town when he wages a full battle against the county to keep his prized hog and involves a PETA-like organization to assist him.  And Preston Miles finally has a chance to meet his birth mother.

As with any Jenkins' book, there's a historical lesson to be learned and there's no exception with her latest.  Readers are told of the Black Army Corp of Engineers during the building of the Alaska-Canadian Highway.  Not only does it serve as a lesson for the children of town, but for the reader as well.  Jenkins always finds a way to make books entertaining and educational.  If you've not visited Henry Adams yet, there's no time like the present.

Published: April 2012
Disclosure: Copy received from publisher, opinions are my own.

Theme: Already Alright by Yolanda Adams

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