by Bette Lee Crosby
Series: Wyattsville #2
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's fiction
When tragedy strikes a West Virginia coal mining family, two children start out on a trek that they hope will lead them to a new life. Before a day passes, the children are separated and the boy is caught up in a robbery not of his making. If his sister can find him, she may be able to save him. The problem is she’s only seven years old, and who’s going to believe a kid? Jubilee’s Journey is Book Two in the Wyattsville Series. This story of discovering lost family and finding love reconnects readers with Ethan Allen and the other heart-warming characters of the bestselling novel SPARE CHANGE.
In 2012, I read Betty Lee Crosby’s novel Spare Change and absolutely fell in love with the characters in the small town of Wyattsville. I enjoyed it so much I gifted it to friends and family that Christmas. At the time, the book was standalone, but Betty told me that, Jubilee’s Journey, came to her and I am delighted that it did. In Jubilee’s Journey, I was once again transported back to the apartment complex and reconnected with Ethan Allen and Grandma Olivia.
Mini-review: Touching, engaging and heart-warming. The characters spring to life and wrap themselves around your heart.
Told from multiple POV’s we begin our tale with the Jones’, a Virginia mining family. We learn about the parent’s courtship and the births of Paul and Jubilee. It is a hard life, but we quickly become attached. When tragedy strikes and the children are forced to leave the mining town, young Paul takes his sister to Wyattsville in search of their estranged aunt. Paul spies a “For Hire” sign in the local market and asks seven-year-old Jubilee to wait on a bench directly across the street. He pulls down the sign and enters. At that moment, their lives will be forever altered, as will Olivia and Ethan Allen’s. The tale that unfolds is full of tragedy, warmth, and lessons. Jubilee’s Journey is a beautiful tale of love, innocents, hope, and community.
Crosby has an unbelievable gift for creating fleshed out, unique and lovable characters. She draws you in exposing their quirks, flaws, gifts and very soul. Olivia referred to as Grandma by Ethan Allen had her life altered when Ethan Allen entered her uncomplicated life. When Jubilee makes an entrance she becomes a fierce mama bear and sets out to help this adorable child. Ethan Allen is rough around the edges, skips school and causes his Grandma grief but underneath it all, he is the sweetest young man and it was wonderful seeing him again. Old characters and friends from the apartment complex make a return and all step up to help. Aunt Anita seemed harsh, but even her tale was fleshed out and had me connecting with her. A young man named Hurt is introduced and I both loathed him and wanted to hold him. Crosby fleshed out even the secondary characters weaving them into the tale and our hearts.
Jubilee’s Journey blends several genres together making it a captivating read. It is a tale of growth, hope and inspiration, with a mystery weaved into it as people in Wyattsville move to help this young child and her brother. Set in 1956, Crosby captured the era and transported us back to a simpler time. It reflects on the rush to judgment, forgiveness and most of all love. The multiple perspectives made the tale engaging. We got inside Olivia’s head and experienced her fears, concerns, hope, and love. We also get into Jack Mahoney’s head an officer who goes the extra mile as he works to help Jubilee and her brother. His detective work was fascinating and reminded me of those old dime store PI books. Other character’s share their perspectives, added warmth and furthering the tale. This was such an easy read; I was drawn in from the first page and held captive to the end. It makes you believe in the power of the human spirit and the kindness of strangers.
Jubilee’s Journey is a heart-warming tale and one that stays with you. It was a welcome addition to the Wyattsville series. I love Crosby’s voice and have never been disappointed in her stories. I look forward to her next novel.
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