Where Willows Grow

Written by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Review by Viviane Crystal

Harley Phillips is a man grown bitter with increasingly devastating circumstances in drought- and Depression-stricken Kansas in the 1930s. All he wants to see is a smile, all too infrequent, upon his beloved Anna Mae’s face. Harley represents the thousands of men whose pride was maintained with desperate efforts in trying to eke out a living and for the small, almost unnoticeable, pleasures that bond husband and wife, parent and child together. Anna Mae is horrified to learn that Harley is giving up trying to farm completely barren land and will take a job with the WPA, Works Progress Administration, despite the hard conditions it also entails.

Although this is a familiar story to many, the author increases its compelling nature with the scheming, plotting, and stealing of a “caring” neighbor, Jack, who has decided that Harley is good for nothing and gone for good. The plot crackles with suspense as Jack is haunted by the evil he cannot control and Harley has a life-saving experience that forever rivets his faith in a God of blessings and hope. Kim Vogel Sawyer’s style is soft, sweet, poignantly honest, and engaging.