cover image The Songbird of Hope Hill

The Songbird of Hope Hill

Kim Vogel Sawyer. Waterbrook, $18 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-59360-081-8

Birdie Clarkson seeks redemption after tragedy forces her into prostitution in the captivating latest from Vogel Sawyer (Still My Forever). It’s 1895 and the penniless 17-year-old is working at a Texas brothel to scrape together a living after her father died and her mother ran off with another man. When Rev. Isaiah Overly and his son, Ephraim, show up, promising the women a new life at their utopian community, Birdie jumps at the chance. She quickly settles in at Hope Hill, singing in Ephraim’s choir and reading the Bible. Ephraim’s intrigued by the angelic-voiced Birdie, who also feels an attraction but fears her “sinful” past will keep her from finding a husband or being loved by God. When the brothel burns down, the madam who ran it unexpectedly arrives at Hope Hill, bringing with her chaos and secrets that bind her to the Overlys. Vogel Sawyer’s immersive narrative gains depth from the characters’ intricately drawn inner lives and momentum from their simmering family secrets. Fans of clean Christian historicals will be happily swept along for the ride. (Apr.)