HEART OF GOLD - Beverly Jenkins
A Blessing Novel #5
William Morrow Trade Paperback
Henry Adams, Kansas - The Present
Several years ago, Bernadine Brown caught her husband with another woman. In the divorce decree that followed, Bernadine received millions of dollars. She bought Henry Adams, a historical black town. She has slipped into the community and even found an interesting man. Now, her younger sister Diane suddenly calls and says she is coming to visit. Diane is a privileged, snippy, condescending pain who is all about appearances, and Bernadine does not look forward to what she knows is more than a visit. She learns Diane's husband divorced her, and her kids did not welcome her to stay with them. Diane has nowhere else to go. To add to Bernadine's problems, her adopted daughter Crystal ran away from home.
Viola is a ten-year-old who, as many children in Henry Adams, is adopted. Her Daddy Reg is a doctor. Her Mama Roni is rebuilding her singing career. Unknown to her, friction about the resumption of Roni's career and the time away from home it requires has split her parents. Viola thinks it is her fault. She also feels sorry for the reclusive angry man outside of town. He reminds her of a homeless man she and her mother knew. That was before her mother died. Now Viola wants to help Cephus, and though forbidden to go to his place, she bicycles there anyway.
While the story mainly follows Bernadine and Viola, many characters are involved, some kind, some mean, some misguided. Some interesting twists develop knocking characters off course. Conflict, confrontation, and resolution play throughout the story stoking interest as the reader becomes involved with everyone who lives in Henry Adams.
Not having read the previous volumes, I had no problem following the who and why of what happened. Characters are interesting and memorable, and situations ring true with what readers might expect with so many personalities. Some romance, some inspiration, some serendipity, some great characters, and an interesting social mix-up make HEART OF GOLD a touching, emotional read.