About the Book
When Kate Mallory’s mother is killed in a tragic car accident, she’s left with nothing but dead-end jobs, an on-again, off-again boyfriend, and a craving for something… more.
Despondent, she clears out her mom’s apartment and discovers an old love letter from a William Wheaton of Bell Buckle, Tennessee. Could this be the father her mom refused to discuss? With nothing left to lose, she decides to find out.
Noah Wheaton honed the gift of discernment the hard way—through a twenty-year military career and an unfaithful ex-fiancé. So, when gutsy Kate Mallory shows up at the family restaurant and applies for a waitressing job, his internal lie-detector flies off the charts. Why would a native New Yorker seek out a job in small-town Tennessee? Whatever she’s up to, messing with his family is not an option.
Kate could never have imagined that a spontaneous journey to search out an absentee dad was not spontaneous after all. A force bigger than both Kate and Noah is at work, and they may get more than they bargained for.
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A Sojourner’s Solace is a novella by Jennifer Sienes that is a quick, easy read. This is also the first book I’ve read by Ms. Sienes and I’m not sure I would read another one. This novella is fine and written well, but there was nothing memorable about it.
Kate Mallory is one of the main characters. In the first chapter, she is cleaning out her mother’s apartment after she passed away and comes across a picture of a man with her mother, and deduces it must be the father she’s never known. Luckily, there is a name on the back that leads her to a small town in Tennesse.
Noah Wheaton is the other main character. He lives in the small town and is the son of the man in the photo. Noah recently retired from the military and moved back home to teach, and has an ex-fiancee who lied and betrayed his trust.
Can you see where this is going?
First off, despite some lip service from the characters regarding the potential sibling situation, Noah is set up as Kate’s love interest, and I was never concerned that Noah’s dad would also be Kate’s dad. Kate gets help from Noah’s family (a job, and a place to stay), and feels guilty that she might break up the family if she’s his daughter. Noah finds out she came there purposefully under false pretenses, and gets upset about it. Cue drama.
Because this is a novella, this all happens very quickly, and I’m not convinced that these two will work it out, despite the grand gesture at the end. The themes of family and forgiveness abound.
This book is written in first person, and Ms. Sienes does manage to differentiate the voices of each of the main characters, something that is not easy to do. The atmosphere of the book is great, and the side characters are a lot of fun.
I give this book 3/5 stars. It’s written well, the Tennessee small-town setting is nicely described and detailed, and the first person point of view works. However, two days after reading it I could barely remember the character’s names. This book did not resonate with me at all.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.
More from Jennifer
I grew up with three sisters and a brother, and although life could be chaotic and a little crowded, I can’t imagine any other childhood. We spent summers camping with my grandparents and great uncles, and holidays with lots of cousins, aunts, and uncles. Being part of a large family was central to my life. I thought about this as I created the Wheaton family for my Bedford County summer novella. Four siblings—two sons and two daughters—who often rub each other the wrong way, but at the same time, would lay down their lives for one another.
Noah is the oldest sibling in the Wheaton clan—retired military who’s been badly burned by a woman in the past. Trust doesn’t come easy, and he’s as loyal to his family as they come. Born and raised in the small Middle Tennessee town of Bell Buckle, he’s not a fan of the big city—or of people from the big city. His family owns and operates a restaurant in a nearby town where everybody knows everybody. He’s suspicious of outsiders, especially those of the female persuasion.
And that’s where our heroine, Kate Mallory, comes in. A native New Yorker, raised by a single mother, she never knew who her father was. She arrives in Bell Buckle on a quest to find what she’s missed all her life—family. What she discovers is far more than she bargained for, and her mother’s words come back to haunt her—“Be careful what you wish for.”
You may wonder why I chose New York City for Kate’s upbringing. My son lived in Tokyo for five years—a city of almost 14 million people. He told me on several occasions that living there, he never felt more alone or isolated. I wanted Kate in A Sojourner’s Solace to experience the same thing. Plopped into Middle Tennessee, she discovers a world as foreign to her as Tokyo was to my son—just in the opposite way.
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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
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Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.