Saturday, May 11, 2024

THE SONGBIRD OF HOPE HILL by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt

I'm so glad He (God) sees what we can be instead of what we are.

I've been a fan of Sawyer's books for a long time. I love how she tells stories of redemption, restoration and God making something new from the ashes of broken lives. This was just as good as I anticipated it would be!

I enjoyed getting to know Birdie, who was forced into a lifestyle not of her choosing. The guilt and shame she felt was palatable and connected me to her in a deep way. My heart rejoiced when both she and Olga decided to leave the brothel when preacher Isaiah Overly invited all the girls to a better life at Hope Hill. I was pleased to see how they much changed with tender loving care from Isaiah, his wife and the example of Christ they embodied.

Their son Ephraim followed in their footsteps with a heart for the downtrodden and ministered with his gift of music. He was patient, always kind, helpful and lent a hand in whatever needed done. His treatment of the girls that stayed at Hope Hill was a testament to his genuine character.

There were a few surprising twists and turns that were definitely heart-warming and made the story even better, in my opinion. This is a character-driven, faith-filled book that kept me glued to the pages; I had a hard time putting it down! I love the theme of forgiveness (even for oneself), new life in Christ, broken dreams reshaped into something better and, of course, a happy ending for all. Sawyer knows how to pen a great story not only to entertain, but also feed your soul!
* Many thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah publishers through NetGalley for a copy of this book. I wasn't obligated to write a review & all opinions here are my own. *


BackCover Blurb:
Driven by survival to a life at a house of ill repute, Birdie Clarkson now longs only for escape. So when Reverend Isaiah Overly and his son, Ephraim, appear and offer a better life, she jumps at the chance. Ignoring the furious raging of the madam, Birdie climbs into the back of the preacher’s wagon.

The men take her to Hope Hill, the haven the reverend and his wife, Ophelia, founded so women like Birdie can be taught skills to help them rise above their pasts. Soon a resistant Birdie finds herself singing in the choir Ephraim leads at revival meetings, even though she’s certain she’s the last person who should be representing God.

Reverend Overly teaches that no one is irredeemable, but even as Ephraim is falling in love with her, Birdie remains convinced that she’s past saving. After all she’s been through, can she ever believe that God’s redemption wipes every soul clean? And can Ephraim convince her that God loves her more than she can grasp—and that he does, too? 

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing, April 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:

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