Appalachian Serenade is a prequel to another book by Sarah Loudin Thomas, A Miracle in a Dry Season, that I have read and reviewed earlier this year. You can read that review here. In the novella, you meet Perla Long when she’s only fifteen and Casewell Phillips as a young man. The main characters in this short story are Robert Thornton and Delilah Morrissey.
Delilah and her sister Charlotte grew up in the hills of West Virginia. While her sister stayed in the area after she married, Delilah and her husband went to live in Chicago. Now, more than a dozen years later, Delilah is back after her husband’s death. She is living with her sister, brother-in-law, and her niece Perla in the little town of Wise. Besides being a companion for Perla, she has no idea what to do with her life. But then she found a job working in the local General store. She felt life held some promise after all, that is until Ed’s employers, the railroad company, planned to transfer him somewhere else. Delilah was faced with a decision. Should she move with her family, or stay in Wise?
Years ago, Robert Thornton took over ownership of his father’s business, the General store. Robert loved his work and the opportunity to socialize with his patrons, who were more like family to him than customers. But he was frustrated because sometimes he was so busy he didn’t have time to talk as much as he wanted to. So when Delilah Morrissey inquired one day if he needed help, he hired her on the spot. Before long, he couldn’t imagine how he operated the store’s business without a woman’s touch. She nearly doubled his business. But more importantly, he was attracted to the widow. His yearning for her grew stronger the longer she worked for him. He wondered if she returned his feelings. One hindrance stood in the way of pursuing a relationship with Delilah; he had a secret that has kept him from marrying anyone these past years. He didn’t know how she would react if she knew about it. At the very least, he didn’t want to lose her friendship.
This is a sweet romance of two mature people beyond their 30’s. The prequel is short and only took me a few hours to read. I have already read Miracle in a Dry Season, and was delighted to have an opportunity to review this novella and get the chance to get some background on Robert and Delilah. They play a major role in Book 1 of the Appalachian Blessings series.
One of the things I like about this tale is how well it complements the theme of community we find in the first story. Robert’s store was already a hub of activity in his small town. When Delilah became part of the community again, she fit right in. She regained her sense of family and her participation further endeared her to the many customers she came in contact with. The ending of this romance was not really much of a surprise.
Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, released August 2014. Married with one dog, she now lives in Western North Carolina, which is almost as beautiful as West Virginia.
Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency. You can visit her at SarahLoudinThomas.com
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. 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.”