Quote of the Day:  Courting new patrons is like licking honey off a thorn – you have to go real slow and be extra gentle. Tess Hilmo, author of With a Name Like Love, published by Margaret Ferguson Books, an imprint of Farrar Straus Giroux, August 2011. (It’s still warm off the presses.)

I won my copy of With a Name Like Love by reading and commenting on Tess Hilmo’s blog. I connected with her early on when I started blogging. She left an interesting comment on another blog, I clicked over to her, saw that we both love A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, and the rest is history. Shortly after I joined her blog, she announced that her book had been accepted for publication – her first middle grade novel, and a historical mystery at that. I knew it was one that I’d want to read.

From the opening lines, I was emotionally involved with Olivene (Ollie) Love and her traveling family. I knew her longings. I felt the anguish of the small town they had just pulled into. Her father, the Reverend Everlasting Love, comes from a long line of tent preachers whose mission it is to bring the love of God to rural communities throughout the south.  It doesn’t hurt that the good reverend has been blessed with a deep and soulful singing voice that melts even the iciest of hearts.  The story takes place in 1957, post World War II, yet, a sense of the lingering Depression. Times are hard. People are damaged and hurt. Families are in distress.

Ollie has made her first friend, a boy who is in a world of hurt. His father is dead and his mama in in jail. The mystery behind his death is tearing the community apart. What’s a 13-year-old girl and her family of traveling ministers supposed to do?

Reading this book evoked similar feelings and images from when I read Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, and a lovely picture book, I Wonder as I Wander, by Minnesota author Gwenyth Swain. Tears of tenderness sprang to my eyes during a scene about birthdays and cake, and I felt fear and anxiety wondering what would happen to Jimmy.

I’ve already recommended this book to a mother-daughter reading group. I’d give it to any preteen girl who likes history and mystery, and I hope my traveling friends, The Anderson’s, at Hair in the Air blog, will get a copy. They will definitely relate to the life on the road and the longing for friendship.

The best place to order the books is either at your local bookstore, or go to Tess Hilmo’s blog, watch her amazing book trailer, and order it from her independent bookstore for an autographed copy.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  Do you have longings to sell all your possessions and hit the road? What would it take to unburden yourself and be adventurous?