I believe I have said many times before that Earlene Fowler is one of my favorite writers. Her Benni Harper books are right at the top of my list. This book is a followup to THE SADDLEMAKER'S WIFE, which came out a few years ago. I liked it, too, but found this book to be far superior. "Real" people, like the ones you know, in a small town setting. Each is going through their own trials and tribulations, and they just keep on, keepin' on. There was great sadness in this tale, but also the possiblity of great joy and the idea that people can overcome insurmountable odds. There were some religious undertones to the story, but I never felt for a minute I was being preached at, and I am the type of person who is quickly turned off by that sort of thing. It was actually a great counterpoint to a lot of what was going on. Great start to the New Year! RECOMMEND!!