Kelly continues turning out Christian novels with strong characterizations about the Hammond and Wortham families in Depression-era Illinois. Seven years have passed since Katie’s Dream, and the Worthams’ fortunes have risen to the extent that meat at meals is no longer a rarity, although resources are still tight. Fresh disaster looms when Samuel Wortham is severely injured during a barn fire, throwing him out of work. Blame for the fire falls alternately on two of the Hammond kids: Franky, the clumsy “dummy” who might have knocked over a lantern; and Rorey, suspected of clandestinely meeting a much-older boy in the barn that night. Resolving the crisis shakes up family relationships and tests everyone’s faith.
Country life in the Depression is vividly depicted, such as making do with the food produced on one’s own farm, and the difficulty of communication in emergencies. Kelly overdoes describing domestic routines, with all the action except for the last chapter taking place over one weekend. Even so, I enjoyed the characterizations. This is volume one in the Country Road Chronicles, although it continues with the same characters from her other books. Readers will appreciate the Worthams’ story most if they begin with Julia’s Hope.