Author: Cindy K. Sproles
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: June 2, 2020
In the face of overwhelming obstacles, she'll need courage, grit, and a tender heart.
Worie Dressar is seventeen years old when influenza and typhoid ravage her Appalachian Mountain community in 1877, leaving behind a growing number of orphaned children with no way to care for themselves. Worie's mother has been secretly feeding several of these little ones on Sourwood Mountain. But when tragedy strikes, Worie is left to figure out why and how she was caring for them.
Plagued with two good-for-nothing brothers--one greedy and the other a drunkard--Worie must fight to save her home and the children now in her begrudging care. Along the way, she discovers the beauty of unconditional love and the power of forgiveness as she cares for all of Momma's children.
Reviewer: Connie Porter Saunders
"I was afraid. Afraid of bein alone. Not afraid of bein by myself, but of bein alone---with nobody that cared."
At seventeen, Worie Dressar has seen a lot of trouble and endured a lot of hurt, and now, she is experiencing the worst pain of all. After finding her mother dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, Worie is both grief-stricken and angry. Why would her mother leave her alone to deal with two brothers who have done nothing to help the two of them since her father died? But Worie has been taught well, and after burying her momma, she sets out to carry on.
Cindy K. Sproles is a new-to-me author. I was captivated by her story that begins in Sourwood Mountain, Tennessee, in 1877. Her characters are fascinating, and I was especially drawn to Worie and her special friends, Ely, and Bess. They are both loving, God-fearing people, and I believe that it is their Christian witness that allows Worie to grow in her own faith and carry on the work of her momma. It is the discovery that her momma had been secretly caring for children who had been orphaned by "the fever," that offers Worie another challenge and a new mission. How can she help them when she can barely feed herself? Is there a chance of redemption for her brothers, Calvin and Justice? Will Worie finally find peace, forgiveness, and a family as she works to provide homes for these precious children?
Sprole's use of the Appalachian dialect, an implied mystery about Worie's birth, and the historical facts about typhoid and influenza epidemics that invaded the Appalachian Mountains are all reasons that I enjoyed this book. What Momma Left Behind is a story that I won't soon forget, and I recommend it to all who enjoy historical Christian fiction.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell through Interviews & Reviews, for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Nora St. Laurent
The year is 1877 – Sourwood Mountain, Tennessee, 17-year-old Worie’s heart aches, “The spring breeze whipped my hair around my face, brushin the clay trail of tears from my cheek. …” Just the day before, Momma was hangin clothes on the line and singing. She didn’t seem to have a care in the world. Today she was dead.”
Worie becomes an unlikely hero while grieving the loss of her mother. She tries to make sense of it all, find her purpose in life, seek answers to her nagging questions, and find out where God was in it all. The reader experiences Worie gain strength and courage with every little orphan she finds and every surprising story she hears about her mother.
The author says, “This story is loosely based around two diseases that plagued the mountain people – typhoid and influenza, both referred to as the fever. Devastating and deadly, they changed life in the mountains forever.”
The novel is told in first person, which allows the reader to walk in the main character’s shoes and feel her struggle and pain. Worie grabbed my heart and never let go. Worie remembers her Mom, “Life ain’t easy in these mountains,” Momma would say, “When the messes happen, you swallow the ache and do what needs to be done.” She’d say, “..buck up and shovel my feelins over my shoulder.”
Worie’s grows up fast as she realizes her mother had been secretly feeding little ones on Sourwood Mountain. Worie thinks, “I was gonna have to figure out a way to take care of these youngins. A way to rid myself of Calvin (her brother). A way to help Justice (her other brother in jail). A way for an orphan. The words dug deep. I was beginning to see the burden Momma carried.”
I enjoyed and couldn’t stop thinking of this mysterious, haunting, heart-wrenching yet hopeful read I couldn’t put down. This book is an experience you don’t want to miss.
This would make a great book club pick, there is so much to talk about, especially with the world currently in the middle of COVID-19. This is the first book I’ve read by this author. It won’t be the last.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy from Revell Publishers through Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
A very enjoyable read by Cindy Sproles, who wrote so well that I thought I was in the novel with Worie Dressar.
Worie impressed me so much! She’s one strong and determined young lady who does what needs to be done to survive in 1877 Appalachia’s.
She also learns valuable life lessons like forgiveness and love as she helps the needy children who lost their loved ones. The language of the mountain people is beautiful. Sort of reminds me of Kentucky.
The one person that I didn’t like was shifty Calvin. I felt that he should have stayed around to help Worie. To me, it didn’t matter about his upbringing. He still should have stepped up to be a man. He made me mad at him.
This story will tug at your heart as you read Worie’s story. It did me. I will be looking for more of Cindy’s work in the future. I appreciate that Sproles doesn’t beat around the bush about the hard times and tough subjects in this book. She will make you smile and cry at the same time.
This book will keep you turning its pages until you are finished and will leave you thinking about Worie and her family long after this story is finished. I highly recommend it!
My thanks to Interviews and Reviews through Baker/Revell Publishers for a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Cindy K. Sproles is a new author to me, and the title, premise of the story and the book cover instantly drew me in. I knew I had to read it.
At first, I was a little thrown off by what I thought were grammatical errors. Then I realized the author was writing in the dialect of the characters. Once I got used to that, I was able to enjoy the story. And what a remarkable story it is!
Worie Dressar is seventeen years old and finds her mother dead of what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. As Worie deals with the betrayal and anger she feels over her mother's suicide, children start showing up at her door. She begins to realize her mother had been feeding the orphans in the area whose parents had died of the "fever." Worie now has to fend for herself, provide for the children and be prepared to defend herself against her dangerous brother Calvin. He wants something else Momma left behind and will stop at nothing to get it.
I am torn on how I feel about this book. I loved the faith element and seeing Worie discover God while working through her anger issues and resentment over her mother's death. I loved the mystery surrounding Calvin. I loved the ending. I loved how Worie fiercely loved and protected the children that were dropped in her lap as if they were her own. That kind of love is rare. But some inconsistencies drove me crazy. For example, how did Calvin know his mother was shot? Worie silently asks herself that question, but it is never addressed again. Why bring it up at all? If Calvin is central to the plot, why not make that part of it? How Momma died and why really threw me for a loop and seemed the wrong way to go. But maybe that's just me.
As for Pastor Jess - why did he talk like Worie? It is clear that Worie was uneducated, and that explains her language, but why would an educated man speak like that too? Again, it might just be me, but that bothered me right to the end of the book.
I loved Ely and Bess and their devotion to Worie and especially to God. Despite all the troubles they had been through, their steadfast faith in God was admirable.
While it sounds like I didn't like this book, I really did! And I do recommend it, but like Worie, I still have questions that beg to be answered. And maybe that is the point. God didn't give Worie all the answers she needed, but He gave her enough to place her trust in Him. In the end, what Momma left behind, was a lesson in faith for Worie. To trust in God even when things seem impossible. Something we all can take to heart during these trying times.
I received this book courtesy of Baker Publishing/Revell, through NetGalley.
Reviewer: Marta Aldrighetti
1877, Appalachian Mountain, Tennessee.
The book is written in the first person, with a slang-English, I suppose. A bit difficult for me because English isn't my mother language.
The story is fast to read, detailed, emotional.
In the mountains a big sad fever is around, many people are dead.
Worie is seventeen years old. Her Momma teaches her to read and write, ride the old wagon, grow the garden, and can vegetables.
"Mountain women shovel their feelins over the shoulder and go on."
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing/Revell through Interviews & Reviews and NetGalley.
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