Under His Wings
by Rosemary Fisher
Christian Faith Publishing

"There have been joys in my life, and there have been sorrows. I know I’m going to have some more sorrows before long."

Life has taken a number of unexpected turns and twists for Coop Smith. While he is studying at Wichita State for business and perhaps even a path to the seminary, his father Walter's cancer returns from remission stronger and more devastating than ever. Leaving university life behind, Coop assumes control of the farm, taking over the family business and reuniting with his loved ones and small-town life. Unbeknownst to Coop, the town's veterinarian has a new assistant, a woman named Becky with a big heart and a troubled past. Before long, they find each other and learn to open up to one another as a beautiful relationship begins to blossom between them, providing much-needed stability and joy to the doom and gloom that has been weighing over Coop's life.

Walter's condition continues to worsen. The family has to brace for the inevitability of death but keep their spirits up through a combination of their faith and a tradition of hard work. An old high school classmate of Coop's named Misty pops up working in the town diner after college out in California. Though her sensibilities clash with the rural community, Coop sees an opportunity for friendship and a link to younger, happier times. Misty's plans are for something much less wholesome, however, and when she doesn't get her way, she threatens to upend the godly farmer's life, reputation, and his shot at a happy life with Becky. Trust in the Lord and doing the right thing has never failed Coop before, and he hopes it will keep the direction of his life straight and true during turbulence often outside of his control.

Alternating between idyllic and honest portrayals of small-town farm life and the day-to-day struggles that come with it, the author calls to mind the sights, smells, and sweat of the work it takes to live off the land with vivid and descriptive detail. In the peaceful moments, out among nature or with neighbors who are trustworthy and kind throughout the community, the descriptions are serene and breathtaking. When the money is tight, or the work is hard, there are no minced words to shield the reader from what it takes to get things done in the countryside.

As the Smith family and their community are full of faith and spirituality, various hymns and biblical verses are woven into the fabric of the story itself, sometimes referenced directly, other times as an undercurrent to the challenges or triumphs happening in each chapter. Those ties to Christianity and the Bible are what draw the characters together. The Smith family leans on favorite psalms and Coop's ability to sermonize to deal with the grief of losing a father. Becky's trust in God is what allows her to open up and try to love again. That the entire community seems to rotate around Wednesday and Sunday services is no coincidence and speaks to the values that guide this story along. Tense and sorrowful, joyful and heart-lifting, this story will speak to a shared and common experience that all people deal with, livened by exciting plot twists and romantic throughlines.

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