Sarah Jane Hunter is a 14-year-old Alabama girl with big dreams. She wants to go to college and become a veterinarian. However, because her parents are not wealthy and the entire country is in the midst of a depression, making her dreams come true seems impossible.
Sarah lives with her baby brother Ezekiel (Zeke for short) and her parents, Molly and James. Her mother always calls her Sarah Jane, but her poppa calls her Jay, short for her childhood nickname of Blue Jay. His affection and compassion serve as a buffer against her mother’s harshness and the favoritism she shows Zeke.
So when her father becomes seriously ill, Jay’s world turns upside down. As the family spirals into a depression that has less to do with the economy than their own inner turmoil, Jay fights to keep her hope alive and her baby brother safe from a mother whose behavior worsens by the day.
Thundersnow gripped me from the start. Set in the region and time of my grandmother’s early married life, the story captured my imagination right away. I could picture Grandma going through the same hardships the Hunters encountered.
Because I’d been a part of the online writers group Sheila bounced ideas off for the book’s back cover blurb and product page description, I knew some of the conflict between Jay and her momma before I started reading. Knowing what was to come didn’t dilute my enjoyment of the book though; in fact, it heightened my anticipation of the events to follow. And I absolutely did not see a crucial plot twist coming, although when it happened, it explained a great deal of the dynamic between mother and daughter.
Even if somewhat historical fiction isn’t generally your preference, I’d highly recommend Thundersnow. It is a solidly written, moving story with themes that any reader can appreciate.
Sheila Odom Hollinghead is a retired science teacher who lives in Alabama with her husband. She has a fascinating list of things she’d be (See her “If I were…” list) in the About Me section of her site Rise, Write, Shine !
She’s currently working on Book Two of her In the Shadow of the Cedar series, Clothed in Thunder. It’s in the editing stage; Sheila hopes to have it out soon. Book Three in the series, tentatively titled Rolling Thunder, is in the planning stages.
She also has published a devotional, Eternal Springs, and has written a young adult book and a science fiction book, both of which are the first in their respective series.
When she’s not writing novels or blog posts for Rise, Write, Shine!, she is a contributing editor/author at Readers’ Realm.