At first I hesitated to accept this complimentary copy of Cottonwood Whispers from Tyndale House Publishers for review. It's a sequel, and I haven't read the first book. But that wasn't a problem. Author Jennifer Erin Valent subtly refers to the previous story from time to time while keeping this story fully self-contained. I appreciated that! I wasn't confused and didn't feel I'd missed anything. I just enjoyed reading a well-written story about a 17-year-old girl who finds herself caught in the middle of a serious community crisis.
The story is set in the South in 1936. Jessilyn Lassiter lives with her parents and adopted sister/best friend Gemma Teague. She also has a crush on the “boy-next-door” who's really a man in his early 20's trying to decide if Jessilyn has grown up enough for him yet or not. When a three-year-old neighbor is hit by a car and dies, an innocent man is charged with the crime. Jessilyn and Gemma struggle to bring truth to light without bringing harm to their family.
Cottonwood Whispers is a coming of age story full of strong characters, deep emotions, and a surprising storyline. Woven carefully throughout is a message of God's faithful presence and sovereignty. If you enjoy reading novels, I recommend this one.