Lead Me Home

Lead Me HomeLead Me Home by Amy Sorrells
Genres: Contemporary
Published by Tyndale on May 3, 2016
Pages: 384

 

About Lead Me Home (from the back cover):
Amid open fields and empty pews, small towns can crush big dreams. Abandoned by his no-good father and forced to grow up too soon, Noble Burden has set his dreams aside to run the family farm. Meanwhile, James Horton, the pastor of the local church, questions his own calling as he prepares to close the doors for good. As a severe storm rolls through, threatening their community and very livelihood, both men fear losing what they care about most . . . and reconsider where they truly belong.

Lead Me Home is the first novel by Amy K. Sorrells that I’ve read so far, but now that I’ve read one of her books, I’m eager to read her previously released novels.  I will admit that the story was a bit of a slow start. I wasn’t sure about the pacing of the small-town set novel, I soon found myself invested in these characters and the choices they faced – choices that would affect not only themselves, but everyone around them. Noble Burden has dreams of performing in Nashville, but feels responsible for his mother and brother. James Horton feels like he has failed God – he is a pastor whose flock has steadily dispersed over the years and whose church’s doors are soon closing. Not only that, his only daughter is withdrawn and angry.

The small town of Sycamore comes to life, from its farming landscape to its local hardware story.

I wasn’t sure how well I would relate to Noble and James, however, there was no reason to worry about that at all. They are very compelling characters. I do wish that perhaps some of the story could have been told from Shelby Horton’s perspective because I think it could have added a bit more depth to the story, but that could just be a personal preference. The setting is a huge positive in the story. The small town of Sycamore comes to life, from its farming landscape to its local hardware story. I could feel the history that James had there with various former members of his church, as well as Noble’s deep-set ties with the dairy farm where he lived and worked, as well as the people he loved. The relationship between him, his brother Eustace, and his mother particularly brought a lovely ache to my heart with the way they depended on and loved one another. The details of the often harrowing work that goes into dairy farming was both daunting and inspiring. I so admire those who still pursue this way of life, despite so many being pushed out in favor of large corporations, and I was humbled to learn more about it within the pages of this story.

One of my favorite things about this story is how the personal struggles of James and Noble parallel one another, then come together to culminate in a meaningful ending.

One of my favorite things about this story is how the personal struggles of James and Noble parallel one another, then come together to culminate in a meaningful ending. Both are being led home by God in different ways. Noble is making the decisions whether to stay or leave his home, and James returns home in a spiritual sense, returning to the idea that God can use him anywhere, regardless of whether he is a pastor or not. Despite not having much in common with Noble or James, I still found it easy to empathize with them and understand them. Amy really put me in their shoes, and I felt for them deeply.

There are no easy answers found within this story, but rather realistic, flawed people trying to come to terms with the path their lives have taken.

I admire Amy for tackling such a tough subject. There are no easy answers found within this story, but rather realistic, flawed people trying to come to terms with the path their lives have taken. There were several sentences I highlighted while reading, wonderful bits of wisdom that came through the story in an organic, light-handed way. Ultimately, this story is about facing doubt and despair head on and doesn’t shy away from what can happen when it seems like God is occupied elsewhere, and we feel like we’ve failed Him – that there will be times that doubt and anger take the lead, but God is big enough to handle it all and meet us right where we are.  Lead Me Home is a unique, compelling read that I can easily recommend for its endearing characters and thought-provoking themes.

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