cover image The Wind Blows in Sleeping Grass

The Wind Blows in Sleeping Grass

Katie Powner. Bethany House, $17.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-7642-4200-7

Powner (Where the Blue Sky Begins) spins a sincere tale of childhood secrets and second chances in small-town Montana. Pete Ryman has settled into a quiet life as a garbage collector in Sleeping Grass, where he’d lived as a child, after an anger problem cost him a string of jobs and forced him to hop from town to town. Now, he spends his free time reciting Thoreau and Robert Frost and caring for his “sweet-tempered swine,” a 79-pound pig named Pearl. What he doesn’t know is that Wilma Jacobsen, the 82-year-old widow on his garbage collection route, harbors a secret about his childhood, which was spent bouncing between foster homes after his mother left when Pete was 11. One evening, Pete notices Wilma’s trash can hasn’t been set out and ventures into her house to find her on the floor after a fall. He helps her up, and after she invites him over for dinner to thank him, the two slowly begin to bond, though things get complicated when Pete falls for Wilma’s housekeeper, Lily. After Pete’s sister and nephew arrive in town, further jogging Wilma’s memories of the Ryman children’s volatile upbringing, she’s no longer able to contain her guilt about the past. Powner’s well-drawn characters will charm readers from page one, and the meditations on the power of faith, forgiveness, and hope form a strong emotional undercurrent that lends the narrative depth and momentum. This tender story and its unassuming hero enchant. (Sept.)