CHASING DOWN A DREAM – Beverly Jenkins
A Blessings Novel , Book 8
William Morrow
ISBN: 978-0-06-241265-2
July 2017
General Fiction with Romance Elements

Henry Adams, Kansas – The Present

Ten year old Lucas Herman and his younger sister Jasmine lost both of their parents. The only relative willing to take them is their uncle, but this is after both children suffered in the foster care system. While their uncle drives through Kansas on the way to his home in California, a freak storm causes him to stop and seek shelter. He leaves the children in the car, and Lucas and Jasmine never see him again. The tornado's strong wind tumbles the SUV into a roll. Lucas helps Jasmine from the damaged vehicle, but he has no idea where they are. Gemma Dahl sees two children walking the roadside, and hearing their story calls 911. Not only does she stay with the children until the sheriff arrives, but afterward takes temporary custody of Lucas and Jasmine. The two fit right into her small family which includes her grandson Wyatt. Gemma's daughter is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The unsympathetic social worker insists Gemma, a white woman, cannot foster African American children, but the town's owner, Bernadine Brown, overrides her…for now.

More is going on in Henry Adams, and many story lines will intertwine throughout the story. Rochelle ‘Rocky' Dancer's marriage to school teacher Jack James is approaching and Rocky, who works at the Dog and Cow diner, has the jitters, plus problems with her co-owner Malachi ‘Mal' July, who has a now tenuous relationship with Bernadine. The relations keep going south. Gemma, besides her problem with the social worker, has problems with her superiors at the grocery store where she words. The town matriarch, Tamar July, has a speeding problem for which a new deputy keeps ticketing her. Then her cousin Eula calls Tamar to inform her that she's dying. The two have shared a contentious relationship, yet Eula says she has no one else, can she stay with Tamar until her end? Moreover, a wild segment of Tamar's family from out of state has settled on her property to visit for the town's August First celebration.

The Blessings Novel series began when Bernadine purchased the failing but historic Kansas town of Henry Adams. Her patronage during the seven previous books has reestablished the town. New people are starting to settle there, although some of the life-long residents are troubled over changes. While many residents have found blessings in Henry Adams, it is often an up-hill climb. Even good people can do bad things.

As a reader, you don't need to worry about not having read the previous novels, and while the many characters may confuse you at first, you will still have no trouble following the story, and by book's end, you will want to read previous stories.

Robin Lee