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A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great…

A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression

by Susie Finkbeiner

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Showing 5 of 5
I was over the moon about Ms. Finkbeiner’s first book, A Cup of Dust, so you can imagine how delighted I was to see the continuing story!
The worst of the Dust Bowl has passed and but the devastation that stands in its wake is overwhelming. The victims are not only dealing with this but also the Great Depression. I honestly do not see how they continued and hung on with so little left.
As if all Pearl and her family had not been through enough, a double tragedy strikes again but in an even more shattering way. The family is forced to leave Oklahoma and move to Michigan and start a new life. I was surprised at how sad they were to leave their home. With nothing left but miles of depressing landscape, it grieved them to leave. You would think they would be ready to go. I do understand Pearls sadness at leaving the family friend Millard. He was a constant and comforting part of her life for as long as she could remember. I had someone like that in my life as a child.
Once again the author captures living history. Not just the facts and details but through the eyes of those that lived it. I love that the story is written from a child’s viewpoint, now 11 year old Pearl Spence. The saying, “out of the mouth of babes”, comes to mind. Nothing is held back and her innocence and honesty paints a true picture.
Once again I love Pearl’s humor. Not that she was trying to be but the simple way a child see’s things and the quirky twist they put on it. I felt such warmth at the closeness of her family and the strong support. It made me happy that she’s has her friend Ray that the family has taken in. They have close bond, without all the boyfriend girlfriend stuff that goes on today with young kids. This book introduces the characters, Gus Seegert, her Dad’s cousin, and his wife Carrie. They generously and lovingly open their home and lives to give Pearl’s family a new start.
At the beginning of the book it gives a short recap of the previous one, so this could be read as a standalone. Trust me; you will want to read the first book as you will not want to miss out on anything! You are an amazing writer Ms. Finkbeiner! If I could give this book more stars I would!
I received a copy of this book free from Kregel Publications. 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 ( )
  Mizroady | Jan 11, 2018 |
Susie Finkbeiner’s novel, A Cup of Dust, is excellent. It opened my eyes to the forgotten history of the Dust Bowl, but also introduced me to the wonderful character, Pearl Spence. Pearl’s story continues in the her second novel, A Trail of Crumbs, another beautifully written novel that grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. This book gets a highly recommended rating from me.

Tragedy strikes the Spence family once again, and the only remedy seems to be to relocate from the dry dusty world of Red River, Oklahoma to the color-filled town of Bliss, Michigan. Will the family find a new home filled with hope and possibilities or lose their way?

A Trail of Crumbs is filled with wonderful characters, not the least 10 year old, Pearl. The book is told in her first person voice, allowing the reader a look into her story, but also a different perspective of other members of her family. The result is insightful, yet tinged with innocence. This is a coming-of-age novel, and it broke my heart to read Pearl’s transformation from a hope-filled child to one who knew the cynicism of adults. Her observations of the other characters give an almost complete sketch of their motivations and struggles. I say almost, because one can never know just what goes on the in the heart and mind of another person. This did not frustrate me as a reader; rather it made me examine my own assumptions about others. The setting of Bliss is like another character. The wonder Pearl expresses at the depth of color each season brings is in stark contrast to the gray/brown world of her early life. It is no surprise that Pearl is drawn to the story of Dorothy Gale and her adventures in Oz.

The importance of story runs throughout A Trail of Crumbs, and Finkbeiner deftly includes the ridiculously fun stories Daddy relates, the books that Pearl immerses herself in, and the stories Pearl makes up to help her cope with the many changes in her life. All add to the story that becomes Pearl’s life. Home is a major theme — what makes it and how to find it. Pearl’s family is not conventional, not one are related by blood. But as she states: “Blood didn’t mean anything when it came to making a home.” (page 136). As Pearl settles into her new home, Mama seems to lose her sense of it. The book ends with questions that I hope will be resolved in the third installment due out next year, A Song of Home.

I apologize if my review seems to be rambling. I really loved A Trail of Crumbs, and Pearl found a place in my heart. But with many great books, I often find it hard to express just what they mean to me. Another blogger has coined the term SWOOF — squeezing words out of feelings. This is how I feel about A Trail of Crumbs, a novel that elicits feelings that mere words cannot express. All I can say is get copies of A Cup of Dust (if you haven’t read it yet) and A Trail of Crumbs and settle in for stories that will sweep you up and away.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Kregel for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.) ( )
  vintagebeckie | Apr 13, 2017 |
Title: A Trail of Crumbs (A Novel of the Great Depression)
Author: Susie Finkbeiner
Pages: 320
Year: 2017
Publisher: Kregel
My rating 5 out of 5 stars.
The first novel I read by Susie Finkbeiner was A Cup of Dust, which is a story of the dust bowl, and it was really good. Now, she presents a story that brings some of the characters from the other book into a new story, which is set during the great depression. Now don’t think that Susie focuses on the Great Depression; she leads us on a journey where her characters must leave the Dust Bowl to go to another state. There is where the family, having recently lost a child and asked to raise another by a friend, must learn life in a new county while grieving and adjusting to life without dust everywhere.
There were many surprises in the book and I thought for sure the author was going to take the story in a certain direction that seemed like a good idea at least to me. However, the author leads us to understand true family and what it can be based on and learning to put one foot in front of the other when unexpected choices are made that impact the heart of the main character, Pearl Spence. At this time, she is just a young girl who has gone through so much abandonment and has questions galore while learning how reading can help her cope in daily life.
The church the Spencers go to is nothing like they are used to, but Pearl likes how this preacher speaks and the way he shares truth from the Bible. Pearl’s aunt encourages her imagination and helps her explore the wonderful world of various stories. I loved the aunt for her carefree, loving and accepting heart which Pearl needed desperately.
I sat down to read the book thinking it would take me days to get through when I found myself unable to put it down and completed it in one sitting. I was pulled in by the heart, emotions and circumstances described in the tale and how Pearl’s grandmother had deposited so many nuggets of wisdom in Pearl’s heart when she was alive. What a beautiful example of how our words and actions may not seem to make a difference at the moment, but later can blossom into hope in the heart of a listener!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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.” ( )
  lcjohnson1988 | Apr 10, 2017 |
he second book in this series, and like the first you will not be able to put this read down, and although it opens with a tragedy, and ends with their lives up in the air, but there is another book to come.
After the devastation that hits the Spencer family, they head to Michigan and a new and greener life, after all that dust I can just imagine how they felt when then put their toes on grass. What a transformation, food and rain, and promise of a new life.
While they seem ready to move on, the past and hurts still linger and at times the grief is over whelming, but these are people who wear their faith on their sleeve, and so I had a problem with one of them. Will they ever be whole again?
We also have Ray who has been able to move North with the family, but has never let his hope of his Mother coming for him die.
This is still Susie’s story and it all told from her perspective and we are with her for her milestone eleventh birthday, and what an eleventh birthday it is. Who wouldn’t want this child as their own, and her parents have really done a wonderful job so far. She has so much compassion for mankind and as we read this we are reminded of her meemaw, and what a great influence she was in Susie’s life, and we remember her from the first book.
I personally cannot wait for the next book in this series, I loved this read.

I received this book through Kregel Blogger Tour, and was not required to give a positive review. ( )
  alekee | Apr 10, 2017 |
I loved reading this book so much, I hated to see it end. It sure did bring back some memories for me. My granddad lived in Oklahoma. We would go there every summer and stay at his farm. As the author described the dust storm, I vividly remember going to the cellar one time when the storm started heading to my granddad's farm. The author captured the moment with clarity and I could feel the dust as it pelted my skin as I ran to safety.

What a terrifying moment for Pearl and her family that tragic day when the storm hit suddenly. I found myself screaming at Pearl to run faster as the storm engulfed her. The family is devastated by a tragic loss and I could feel the powerful emotions of the pain they endured. I cried when the family grieved for their loss. When the decision is made to leave Oklahoma , each family member must say goodbye to their home . Can you imagine leaving most of your belongings and traveling to another state?

The author takes us to the depression era where rations are the norm for families. They must be careful with their food and make it last as long as they can. I loved learning about this era and thought the author did a great job of making the story come to life. Pearl has had a hard time in her short life and hopefully the move will help her move forward. It was nice to see her friend Ray join the family on their move. Ray was sad that his mom wasn't able to provide for him, but his dream was for her to send for him soon. As a mother I don't think I could leave one of my children behind. It must have been painful for Ray's mother to let her son go, but perhaps she was hoping for a better life for him. The story is emotional, and has quite a few surprises in it.

I loved the librarian that Pearl met in their new town. She tried so hard to pick out a book she thought was proper for Pearl to read. I did laugh at this because I remember going to the library every week and hoping I could find just the right book. When Pearl started reading The Wizard of Oz my eyes lit up. I loved that book as a child and never missed the movie when it came on TV. Pearl is such a wonderful character and I loved her strength and faith. The author writes a story that tells about a family who must have faith , hope and love as they journey to what God has for them. I look forward to the next book that continues Pearl's story.

I received a copy of this book from Kregel Book Tours. The review is my own opinion. ( )
  Harley0326 | Apr 8, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0825444462, Paperback)

"I believed it would have been a sin to stay inside when God had sent us such fine weather. According to Pastor Ezra Anderson, sin was the reason we'd got in the dusty mess we were in. The way I saw it, that day was God's way of letting us know He wasn't mad at us anymore. Just maybe He'd seen fit to forgive us."

Pearl Spence has been through more in her young life than most folks could handle. But through it all, her family has been by her side. They may not be perfect, but they love her and they all love each other, come what may. That's one thing Pearl no longer questions.

But the end of her beautiful day signals the beginning of the end of her secure life.

Now her family is fleeing their Oklahoma wasteland. Pearl isn't sure she'll ever see home or happiness again. Are there any crumbs powerful enough to guide her back to the dependable life she once knew?

The strong narrative voice of Finkbeiner's young protagonist from A Cup of Dust returns in this gritty yet hopeful sequel, sure to please her many fans.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 03 Mar 2017 07:14:16 -0500)

"Pearl Spence has been through more in her young life than most folks could handle. But through it all, her family has been by her side. They may not be perfect, but they love her and they all love each other, come what may. That's one thing Pearl no longer questions. But the end of her beautiful day signals the beginning of the end of her secure life. Now her family is fleeing their Oklahoma wasteland. Pearl isn't sure she'll ever see home or happiness again. Are there any crumbs powerful enough to guide her back to the dependable life she once knew?"--Back cover.… (more)

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