5 Star Book Review-
Bringing Maggie Home
Kim Vogel Sawyer
‘Well, except for Hazel. She still prayed. Every night she prayed the same thing. She whispered the prayer again, there in the smelly, dim, lonely chicken coop. “Let us find Maggie, God. Please bring her home.”’
Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.
Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can’t understand her mother’s overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother’s inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan—a cold case agent—cherishes her grandmother’s lavish attention and affection.
When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel’s painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that’s been lost?
My thoughts: If you are a mother or a daughter, you need to read this book. Mother-daughter relationships, like all relationships are fraught with misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and hurtful words. It’s easy to judge, to think we would do a better job, without knowing or understanding the truth behind the motivations of others.
‘“Exactly. You did the best you could with me, out of love. And Grandma did the best she could with you, out of love. You did things differently, but your motivations were the same.”’
Bringing Maggie Home beautifully unwinds the tangled relationships of 3 generations of women, where secrets, guilt, and regret have kept them for melding together into the close family Meghan always longed for.
‘Strange how each stage of her life required a separate section. Shouldn’t there be an overlap? Hazel hoped their planned trip would give them a fifth section—one dedicated to togetherness.’
In the summer of 1943, Hazel Mae Blackwell loses track of her three-year-old sister, Maggie, while picking blackberries for her daddy’s birthday, setting off a series of tragic events, for all of which she blames herself.
‘“Yes. Yes, it was. When we lost Maggie, we lost…” Mother paused, her throat convulsing. “Everything.”’
Kim Vogel Sawyer brilliantly threads a three-fold cord of the lives of Hazel, Diane, and Meghan. I loved the flashback scenes that bring meaning to their current situations. I also loved how she marked each scene with date, location, and POV (point of view) character, as needed. That made it simple to follow, while skipping between the past and present.
‘“Pardon me. I was…thinking. Remembering. After so many years of pushing memories aside, it’s both a joy and a heartache to open the floodgates.”’
You’ll not want to rush through this book. Take your time and savor every word. With beautiful turn of phrase and realistic descriptions, this story comes to life. A bit of romance, a bit of mystery, a bit of suspense. I got goosebumps when Maggie disappeared. I loved the exchange between the little girls in the opening, especially Maggie’s, Hazoo Mae. As the older sister, I understand Hazel’s feelings of both annoyance and responsibility.
This book is not a light-read. It has a depth of emotion and faith that I will never forget; the kind of story that stays with you. A storyline both predictable and unexpected at the same time. I had to take frequent breaks to absorb it all.
‘“But if I tell you about her, then someone will know she once lived. She’ll no longer be forgotten. Someone like Maggie, someone who brought so much joy to her folks, should never be forgotten. You’ll remember her, won’t you, Meghan?”’
I received this book for review from Netgalley. A positive review was not required. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Award-winning, bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wife, mother, gramma, chocolate-lover, cat-petter, and–most importantly–a daughter of the King! With more than 1.5 million books in print in seven different languages, Kim enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Her “gentle stories of hope” are loved by readers and reviewers alike. Kim and her retired military husband, Don, reside on the plains of Kansas, the setting for many of her novels.