The Melody of the Mulberries
by Tonya Jewel Blessing
Capture Books

"'If you tell a bad dream before breakfast, it will come true. Appalachian Folk Belief'"

This second book in the author's Big Creek series begins with the second generation of the Ashby family: Emerald, Ernst, and Coral. Set in the 1920s and in West Virginia's Appalachia, the story is a sequel to Whispering of the Willows, and fans of the first book will have much to discover and enjoy in this volume. The strength of the continuing story rests in the author's weaving successfully and nearly seamlessly the multiple stories of the book’s many diverse characters. The characters themselves are developed extraordinarily well, including the crimes of the family's nemesis, Charlie, who is in prison for kidnapping and rape. Coral is determined to visit him in order to tell him of her forgiveness of his crimes perpetrated on the family members and the redemption for him that she feels is possible through Christ.

The story was inspired by the author's mother. The former "borrowed [her] mother's maiden name, several names from her past, and the name [of their home] Big Creek." Additionally, the author describes her love of West Virginia—its geography, philosophies, and people—throughout the story. The story is, as one reader whose review is included in the book described it, "unpredictable," but its consistency is demonstrated in a firm belief in God, redemption through the acceptance of Christ, and that never giving up on people—regardless of the apparent hopelessness or tragedies in their pasts—will ultimately lead to resolution. The story does not provide pat answers but takes the readers through the varied processes that the characters experience and endure prior to resolution.

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