cover image The Divine Proverb of Streusel

The Divine Proverb of Streusel

Sara Brunsvold. Revell, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-80074-299-7

New beginnings, long-buried secrets, and German culinary delicacies combine in this touching tale of familial hurt and healing from Brunsvold (The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip). Reeling from her parents’ divorce and her father’s remarriage less than a month later, high school teacher Nikki Werner seeks refuge over summer break at her late grandmother’s farmhouse, now owned by her uncle Wes. While cleaning, she stumbles upon a cache of old family photos and a composition book that her great-grandmother Lena, a German immigrant, filled with a mix of recipes and spiritual insights (“Three things withstood the pressures of time and assimilation,” Lena mused of the family’s roots; “faith in One True God, hope for better things, and love of butter”). Undone by the tension with her father and a recent blowout with her boyfriend, Nikki seeks comfort in Lena’s recipes and wise insights into the power of prayer. As the summer wears on, Nikki uncovers tangled secrets about her dad’s traumatic childhood and his relationship with his own angry, volatile father, though she’ll need God’s help to forgive him, heal, and move forward. Brunsvold animates each of her well-drawn characters with palpable, deeply rooted emotion; Nikki’s mix of simmering resentment and love toward her father is rendered with particular care, and makes their eventual reconciliation all the sweeter. Interwoven with gentle humor and plenty of German recipes (heavy on the potatoes, cabbage, and of course, butter), this is sure to satisfy. (Jan.)