Wednesday, July 22, 2015

At Home in Persimmon Hollow

Today is cookie baking day in my house.  My mother loves chocolate chip cookies, and I bake up a new batch when she runs out.  The dogs also love cookie baking day.  I make them peanut butter cookies (since they cannot eat chocolate).  Of course, that means I also have dogs lying in the middle of the kitchen floor while I am trying to bake (Wolfie--a Siberian husky and Doozy--St. Bernard and English Pointer mix).  

At Home in Persimmon Hollow by Gerri Bauer is a Christian romance novel.  The book is set in Persimmon Hollow, Florida in 1886.  Agnes Foster was raised in St. Isidore’s Home (for orphans) by nuns since she was left on their doorstep as a baby.  Due to pressure from the patrons of the home (because of the incident with Rufus Smith), Agnes has accepted a teaching position at Persimmon Hollow Academy in Persimmon Hollow, Florida.  She arrives in town with Billy Taylor (age 12).  Agnes agreed to keep an eye on Billy when he boarded in Jacksonville (his aunt put him on the train).  Billy is going to stay with his Uncle Seth Taylor. 

Seth Taylor is waiting at the station for Billy to arrive.  Seth is not the greatest welcoming committee (the death of his brother and sister-in-law as well as the railroad people trying to get his land through unscrupulous means).   The Alloway’s and other townspeople are very happy to see Agnes.  Agnes is to stay with Eunice and Fanny Alloway (they are her bosses at the Academy as well).  Agnes is immediately drawn into life in Persimmon Hollow when there is a death in town.  Everyone joins in to help with the funeral arrangements (building the coffin, digging the grave, gathering flowers, food). 

Over time Seth starts to mellow as he spends more time with Agnes.  Seth is drawn to Agnes and her positive outlook on life (her helpful nature and a scripture quote for every occasion).  Seth starts rejoining life in town (he has mostly kept to himself for the last ten years).  The only problem is Barrel and Lester Little.  They are trying to get Seth to sell his land to the railroad and will do whatever it takes to get what they want.

Agnes’ trouble follows her to Persimmon Hollow.  She has been trying to get away from Rufus Smith.   Rufus Smith is a nasty man who owns a brothel.  He is determined to get Agnes (using illegal methods).  When he also tries to get Polly Todd (Agnes has raised her since she first came to the St. Isidore’s), Polly is sent to Persimmon Hollow.  Unfortunately, Rufus tracks down Agnes and Polly.  Rufus joins up with Lester Little and Barrel (nothing worse than three bad people joining together).  The town will come together to help Seth, Agnes, and Polly.

At Home in Persimmon Hollow is a cute story, but it is very preachy.  I enjoy reading Christian fiction, but when a book contains more scripture than story, it is too much.   There are some good characters in the story and a nice setting.  I just thought that Agnes came across as very pious.  Hearing the descriptions of the orange groves reminded me of when I first came to Florida.  We lived in Lakeland at the time and there were miles of citrus groves (our first home in Lakeland was built in a citrus grove).  I give At Home in Persimmon Hollow 3 out of 5 stars. 

I received a complimentary copy of At Home in Persimmon Hollow from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to read my review. I am currently reading Mrs. Covington's Sunday School Dropouts by Connie Miller Pease.  Have a joyful afternoon and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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