In those long days between the town’s death and its rebirth, everyone had a story of how the magic came to Leah Norcross. Whether that magic was divine or deviltry, real or imagined, hinged upon the teller. And though many declared they had trusted all along, the fact was that in the beginning no one believed but Leah and Allie, and not even they could have known what that carnival week would hold. ~When Mockingbirds Sing
I read it over two days. Not every minute, but in the car (passenger seat), during the grandgirl’s softball game, instead of sleeping or doing dishes or cooking or writing or any one of a number of other things I “should” have been doing.
I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.
Billy Coffey cuts to the heart of the matter in his new book, brings us to the who, not the what, of the people in the little town of Mattingly, Virginia.
A town where darkness looms and tragedy hovers. A town that by the end of the week would never be the same.
Billy introduces us to people who value roles more than relationships, people who refuse to believe in what they can’t see, people who trust in magic rather than mystery, people who distrust the different.
There’s the Family from Away, spiritual but not religious, with a father who “loves too much.”
The Rainbow Man who sings through Leah, wise beyond her years and size, who stutters and wears a gully in her thumbnail.
There’s Allie, Leah’s feisty–and only–friend.
Barney, the old man who’s lost hope and dotes on his wheelchair-ridden wife, who lives in a mist and whose only words are, “I love you.”
And Reggie, pastor of the First Church of the Risen Christ, whose heart belongs to God and who always uses “the correct change,” but who struggles to believe in the Maybe or in the possibility that someone smaller can see what he can’t.
Billy Coffey knows how to tell a tale, and this one sucked me right into its vortex from the first paragraph. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, and in the end I was left wandering in a daze much like the people of Mattingly. I didn’t want the story to end.
Billy raises hard questions and gives lots to think about. He doesn’t tie up all the loose ends–because life’s never neatly packaged, and one’s story never ends this side of heaven. But I do look forward to a promised sequel, so if I were you, I’d read this one quick so you’re ready for the next.
In this video, Billy talks about the story behind When Mockingbirds Sing.
And here’s the book trailer.
Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.