Rachel’s Prayer

Written by Leisha Kelly
Review by Lisa Ann Verge


In this cozy inspirational novel set during World War II, Leisha Kelly has written a story full of homespun wisdom and deep faith. On the day the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Julia Wortham realizes that the terrors of the outside world will soon change the simple life she loves. A number of young men, including her oldest son, join the army, and the whole community gathers to see them off. Over the next few years they suffer the interminable wait for letters, and grimly accept news of injuries, soldiers missing in action, and death in battle. Not everyone is stoic, however. Julia’s neighbor, a widower, suffers from alcoholism and depression. He neglects his young children and verbally abuses his crippled son, Frank. Julia’s daughter, Sarah, strives to help that family through the daily difficulties of farm life, while raising questions about the purpose of faith in time of war.

Kelly musters an enormous cast – farm families were big in those days, and the author keeps track of every last cousin – but she mitigates confusion by sticking to three main points of view: that of Julia, Sarah, and Frank. The result is a sweetly nostalgic novel full of honest, kind, hard-working people: a slice of old-fashioned Americana.