Title: What Momma Left Behind
Author: Cindy K. Sproles
Major Themes: Adoption, Appalachian Mountains, Death, Family, Forgiveness
Synopsis: After her mother’s sudden death, Worie is left to pick up the pieces and figure out how to help the children and work her mother left behind.
I think it was the cover that caught my eye first with What Mamma Left Behind. I thought it was gorgeous! When I read the description, then, I was reminded of two of my recent reads, both of which I fully enjoyed—Christy and Wonderland Creek. I didn’t do much more than scan over the synopsis and decide I’d probably enjoy the book, so I requested a review copy and waited to see if I was accepted. It was a happy day when I was, although perhaps a bit disconcerting, too—“How am I going to get through all those books?”—but I was quite pleased when I was finally able to (figuratively) crack the spine on this one.
Worie Dressar’s worst fears have been realized—her mother is dead. As she buries her, she wonders how she could possibly manage. What’s worst, though, is when she discovers that her mother was caring for orphans, and said orphans now need Worie to look after them. How can she manage to look after other orphans when she’s not even sure she can look after herself properly? And what is she supposed to do when her brother shows up, demanding she leave the place because he is now its legal owner? How is she supposed to take care of the children now?
What Mamma Left Behind is an exciting story, and it had a few more plot twists in it than I expected! I wasn’t planning on such a convoluted story when I picked it up, but I really enjoyed it in the end.
One of my favorite pieces of this book, and one of the most unexpected, was the writing style. It’s written the way the main character thought—bad grammar and all. And while that might annoy some people, it is the way many in the culture she was in would have thought and spoken. It helped set the scene just a bit more, and made me feel like I was pulled into the story better. It’s not something I’ve seen often, but I enjoyed it here.
I also appreciated that this book wasn’t a romance—I thought it would be, for a while, but it never developed into that. This is a family’s story, learning to work through past hurts, look forward to future joys, and make the best of what they had right now.
In many ways, one of the main things I was surprised by with What Momma Left Behind was the mystery woven in. I felt like I was reading real history—or, perhaps, a possible twist on real history—but smack-dab in the middle of it is this family mystery. It’s brilliantly done, and I love how the Christian faith is woven through the story as well. A great read!
I requested a free review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: This is more of an adult read, and I’d have quite a few warnings if I typed them all up! So if any of the following things bother you, this probably isn’t the book for you.
In ch. 1, a woman has just committed suicide, and that is referenced multiple times throughout the book as the main character processes it. There is some description of blood, etc. Several different times, people’s lives are threatened, and there is some lying. There are a few other deaths mentioned in the story, too, due to sickness. In ch. 7, a woman had died and the children had to leave her in the house for days because they couldn’t bury her—a pretty disgusting sight. There’s a little violence here and there as people kick or punch each other. Part-way through the story, a drunk comes on the scene and they try to help him. There’s a pregnancy out of wedlock in ch. 19 and through the rest of the book—a girl had been trying to save her siblings. There’s a bad fight and a man is killed in ch. 26. “What in tarnation” is used several times, “Lord have mercy”, “scared the dickens,” “Lordy,” etc.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults