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Appalachian Song

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Member Reviews

Appalachian Song is a well written book.  I throughly enjoyed the plot, characters and the setting..  I reveal advance ebook from the publisher and Netgalley.  This is my unbiased review.
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You Just Have to Read This Story!

I believe that this quote from the book is its theme: “Family don’t always mean blood kin.” ~Bertie Jenkins

This beautifully written adoption story left me needing several days to contemplate all that this heart-wrenching story taught me. A dual-time novel, Shocklee takes you from the 1943 mountain folk of east Tennessee to Nashville and the mountain life of 1973. The characters and storyline are so endearing. They speak to family (good, bad and taken in) and wreck your heart along the way. The timelines and characters are woven seamlessly throughout the book, making the story easy to read. 

This book has a beautiful spiritual thread including the sharing of the gospel and a Christian worldview. The prologue includes a young woman giving herself to a man (she plans to marry) before her family moves away. There is not a description of this scene and it is later discussed from a Biblical perspective. So, don’t let this keep you from reading this book. The prologue lays the foundation for the rest of the story.

Caroline Hewitt truly gives the audiobook its voice as she crafts representative roles for the broad array of characters in this tale. From the mountain folk of 1943 to the contemporary phrases of 1973, Hewitt’s narration is distinct, believable and just stellar and that’s saying a lot from this born and raised southern girl who cringes when a non-southerner tries to fake a southern accent.

This book is suitable for teens and older with no inappropriate intimate scenes and no bad language. I received this ebook from the author/publisher free of charge, with no expectation of a positive review. I also purchased the audiobook version of this title.
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I have recently taken an interest in books that take place in the Appalachians. I enjoyed Appalachian Song. The characters kept me engaged and I loved Bertie and her sisters and their care for Songbird when she showed up on their property severely injured. Bertie and her sisters nursed her back to health and helped her until she felt it necessary to move on for her new friends' sake. Fast forward to the 1970s. and a young man recently found out that he was adopted. Michelle Shockee does a good job of writing the characters in a way that the reader feels what the characters feel. 

 If you like southern fiction, I recommend this book.

My review of a complementary copy of this book was my own opinion..
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4.5 stars 

“Livin’ life ain’t about seein’ and doin’. It’s about lovin’ and takin’ care of those who’ve been put in your path.“

Appalachian Song by Michelle Shocklee grabbed my attention from the title, had me eager to read it since I knew it was set in the Smoky Mountains, and drew me in completely the moment I met midwife Bertie Jenkins and her sisters in 1943. Also cementing my interest in the book? The fact that I share a birthday with Songbird’s little boy – seeing the date on the note that starts the 1973 part of the timeline made me deeply invested in the outcome.

The Smoky Mountains have long held a special place in my heart, and Shocklee beautifully captures the essence of the people who call it home, the lilt of their speech, and the poetry of their labor. Bertie Jenkins & her four spinster sisters are now part of the fabric of the Smokies to me, even though they are ‘merely’ fictional characters painted to life with an author’s talented words. Rubie & Bertie were my personal faves, but even the sister who took me longest to warm up to had me crying sweet tears before all was said and done. Into this cabin of sisters comes Songbird, a fourteen-year-old girl who stumbles into their lives, running from her father who shot her when he learned she was pregnant by her first love – a soldier now fighting overseas. (Yeah, Songbird’s father is a real piece of work.) Shocklee draws these six women so endearingly that I just wanted to hug each and every one of them. The quiet wisdom from the sisters and the way that Songbird comes to life under their care is truly special. (I also loved the cameo from one of Shocklee’s previous novels!)

The 1973 timeline follows a young man who is left reeling by the unexpected news that he was adopted thirty years ago, his only clue is a note with a birth date and the name of midwife Bertie Jenkins in Sevier County, Tennessee. Walker Wylie enlists the help of another Eastern Tennessee midwife, Reese Chandler to find out as much as they can about his adoption and his birth parents. I found both of these characters to be compelling and layered, and I enjoyed being on the journey for answers with them. The author gives us a front row seat to that journey, and while we suspect the way things might play out there’s enough doubt that keeps us turning the pages and some surprises I wasn’t anticipating. There’s a dash of light romance in this timeline, too, which of course always makes my heart happy. (Just as an aside – it pains me to categorize this as a historical dual timeline novel when this latter timeline takes place just four years before I was born LOL)

Bottom Line: Appalachian Song by Michelle Shocklee is a tender story of love, loss, adoption, faith, family, and grace. The parallels between a physical adoption and our spiritual adoptions were beautifully rendered, touching my heart with the cadence of redemption and pointing me straight to Jesus in a gentle melody of layers. Songbird, Bertie, Walker, and Reese are memorable characters who will linger with me for quite some time, and I confess that I’ll be looking over my shoulder for them the next time I’m in their – and my – beloved Smoky Mountains. A perfect choice for fans of Sandra Robbins’ Smoky Mountain Dreams trilogy, Karen Barnett’s When Stone Wings Fly, Laurie Alice Eakes’ The Midwives series, or Cindy K. Sproles and Pepper Basham’s historical fiction!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
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It’s 1943, and five mature, single sisters live together in a cabin in the Tennessee Appalachian Mountains. They have no electricity, plumbing, or a phone. Songbird is a pregnant teenager who crosses paths with the sisters. Reese is a midwife working in Tennessee thirty years later. Appalachian Song is a dual timeline story told from the point of view of Songbird, Reese, Reese’s acquaintance Walker (who is a country music singer), and one of the sisters, Bertie.

Bertie is my favorite character. She finds much to love in her simple life and appreciates the love she receives.

As you can imagine, womanhood and singleness is a major theme in the story. Are women complete without a man? Without birthing a child? Shocklee tackles these issues along with adoption, abortion, education, poverty, and faith.

Shocklee fits a lot of Christian elements into this story, and she does it through the characters’ (mostly the sisters’) everyday lives. They read aloud from their pa’s Bible after every supper. The sisters’ beliefs and their faithful living flow from their personalities. It’s smooth, natural, convincing, and never preachy. Kudos to Shocklee.

Walker, the popular country music star, whines a lot and is melodramatic. The rascal grew on me by the end of the book, so no stars off. 

A tear-inducing miracle happens near the end of the book, and that scene alone makes the story worth reading!

The five unmarried sisters in the book are based on the real-life Walker sisters who lived their entire lives in the cabin their father built in the 1800s in the Tennessee Appalachian Mountains. Bonus points for incorporating Appalachian history into the novel.

I read Appalachian Song through net galley, and I’m happy to share my own thoughts about the book.
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4.5 stars.

WOW, this book was so good!

True confession - I almost set it aside at first, as I wasn't really feeling it. But I am So. Glad. I picked it back up and kept at it!

The read is moving and powerful on all the levels. Romance takes a back burner; it's present in the 1973 storyline, but not in the 1943 one. Learning about both eras, and more specifically within the Appalachian setting, was eye-opening. Now knowing that the author is from Tennessee, as well, lends an extra ring of authenticity that only enhances what was already there! (And now that I live down South, too, not far from TN, I appreciate the setting that much more.)

Somehow I thought I'd already read Shocklee's _Under the Tulip Tree_, but it turns out I haven't--maybe my repeated oohs and aahs over the cover translated into "I've read this," lol! I'll definitely be remedying that, as I loved this book! The characters and powerful message of adoption--both in the literal sense and the spiritual, as Christian believers are adopted into God's family when we come to faith--will stay with me for some time. (I actually had to wait a few days before reviewing the book; it defo gave me all the feels and I had to sit with it for a bit to process!)

I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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This  dual timeline story set mostly in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee is an emotional tale of love and sacrifice. It is also the tale of God's plan for adopting us as His children and the ways he works through earthly adoptions. The author does not ignore the pain that may accompany adoption, but honors the process of working through the pain to find the joy.

Shocklee masterfully allows each character to reveal his or her own voice. She mingles characters who live in vastly different circumstances, honoring the value of each. Her characters and their experiences will stay with her readers for a long time.

I am grateful to have received a complimentary copy of Appalachian Mountains from Tyndale House Publishing via NetGalley without obligation. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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Readers who love historical fiction will enjoy this book. This dual time novel is set in the heart of Tennessee, featuring unforgettable characters. Midwifery and adoption are topics throughout along with the strong faith of five unmarried Jenkins sisters Heartwarming and realistic! Very enjoyable! Highly recommended!
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Appalachian Song 
Michelle Shocklee
Oct.3, 2023 
Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion. 
For fans of historical and Southern fiction this is a wonderful book that reminds us we are perfectly loved, I loved this story of adoption and hope admidst dark circumstances. 
5 stars
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I was so excited when I came across this book! I’ve discovered, over the years, that I love books set in the Appalachian Mountains, and combining that with an intriguing dual-timeline mystery sounded like the perfect book for me.

And I was right—I got sucked in from pretty-much page one. I remember telling Mom that I found myself invested in both timelines; I couldn’t decide which one I was more excited about! The characters were dynamic, relatable people, and the situations they found themselves in were the kinds of things I could sympathize with.

About half or two-thirds of the way through the book, though, I noticed my excitement for the story waning. The story became somewhat predictable, and although I enjoyed seeing how things turned out for the characters, I wasn’t as invested in the second half as in the first. That was disappointing.

There was so much to love in this book, though! As I mentioned, the characters and setting were well-formulated (although I did have a bit of trouble keeping all of Bertie’s sisters separate—two of them, especially, ended up blurring in my mind), and the plot was also well-formulated. I absolutely loved the scene where several characters were introduced to farm work, and their responses to it…even if some parts of that didn’t feel realistic to me, as a farm girl, it was still hilarious and so much fun! I also loved the adoption aspect of the story and the growth process for the characters. The peep into hippie communities in the 1970s was fun (and, thankfully, clean!). And I loved the midwifery aspect of the book!

This was a good book. Not one of my top favorites, but an enjoyable story. If you’re looking for a sweet, satisfying read with a strong faith element, this could be the perfect book for you.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
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Michelle Shocklee did not disappoint this reader with her new book Appalachian Song, an unforgettable Christian historical duel timeline, about adoption.  Favorite quote:  “There’s no such thing as illegitimate children. Every child is planned by God.”  The author based the story on the actual Walker sisters, who were sometimes referred to as grandma women/midwives.

I was totally engaged throughout the entire story as I traveled with the characters between 1943 and 1973 set in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.   The story opens with Songbird running from her Pa to protect her unborn child.  My heart immediately went out to her and brought tears to my eyes.  Luckily she is found by Bertie, one of the Jenkins sisters, who is a midwife.  Thirty years later Wylie Walker (Amos Joshua) is told that he is adopted, and sets out on a journey with Reese, a midwife, to find Bertie and then Songbird.  

This story is told in both first and third POV which meshed together very well in the duel timelines.  A story of God’s true love, family whether related or adopted, and sacrifice.

Many thanks to the publisher Tyndale House Publishers via NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this story.  I was not obligated to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
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4.5 stars

Do you love Southern fiction? I do! If you do too, I definitely recommend Appalachian Song by Michelle Shocklee. This is a Christian, dual-timeline, historical fiction book that I just could not put down. The book begins with the Jenkins family in the 1940s - 5 unmarried sisters who live on their late parents' homestead. Bertie Jenkins is a midwife who serves her community in rural Appalachia. The Jenkins sisters' lives are turned upside down when a young, pregnant teenager is found on their property with a gunshot wound. What happens next starts a series of events that will both steal your heart and shock you.

The other timeline follows Walker Wylie, famous singer, in the 1970s. His father has just passed away and he has been told the shocking news that he was adopted as an infant. His world is rocked as he wrestles with his identity. He meets a friend, Reese, who quickly sets him on the path to finding out about his past and helping him to move forward.

Appalachian Song stole my heart! It was especially emotional for me as I am due with my third baby and day now, and there is *a lot* of birth content, especially with midwifery care - which I LOVE. This story also highlights the incredible sacrifice of adoption and the amazing miracles that can happen. It will definitely pull at your heartstrings! I also loved the setting and found myself so wistful for a trip to the mountains! 🌄 

Content warnings: death during childbirth, birth trauma, stillbirth
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APPALACHIAN SONG by MICHELLE SHOCKLEE is a most enjoyable and inspirational read, with a heartwarming story, wonderful characters and a strong Christian message from Romans chapter eight verses fourteen to sixteen, where we are reminded of the Fatherhood of God and the believer’s adoption into His family. 
In 1943 we come across five aging Jenkins spinsters who live in the  mountains of Tennessee. When a young pregnant girl with a bullet in her shoulder comes out of the woods, a victim of her father’s wrath, they take her in and nurse her back to health. Bertie Jenkins is a midwife and delivers Songbird’s son. …
The story is about adoption and family relationships and I love the way the author has based her story on God’s love and faithfulness…
.In 1973 Reese Chandler, a midwife who was also adopted, is asked by Walker Wylie, a famous  singer from Nashville, to help him find out about his birth mother……
I am not  going to tell you any more for fear of spoiling things for you, excepting to say that I loved everything about Allalachian Song and cannot recommend it highly enough.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Tyndale House Publishers. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
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3.5 stars. I thought I would give this book a try although it is not in my usual bookshelf. I found it difficult to engage with this story although it is well written. It touches on several life-changing topics and handles them with grace and kindness. If you are looking for a Christian storyline set in Appalachia I think you would very much enjoy this story. The time skip really works in this book although it is not my favorite writing style. I am glad I read this book and appreciate the ARC from the publisher, author, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I found this a bit slow to start, but mostly enjoyed this book.  I loved the dynamics of the sisters.  Bertie, was a real loving, caring person.  I thought Songbird's character grew throughout this story.   She had some pretty big decisions to make and considering she was legally still a child, made those decisions much harder.
It was a shame we didn't get to meet Amos, other than the opening chapters, but this was explained in the book.  There are some sad moments in this book, but that is true to life.  Bad things do happen unfortunately, and sometimes we don't understand why God allows them, but have to trust in his sovereignty.
I loved the Christian themes of forgiveness, adoption into God's family, how much Our Father God loves us.  It was a tough book to read in some respects, personally, as I am adopted, so I can understand some of the feelings related in this book..
It would be lovely for a follow up to this book, I think, that would be interesting, following the lives of Reese and Walker (Josh) plus the others in this book..
All in all, a great book.  I also loved the historical details in there, and the author's notes added more to the story, for me.
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Adoption, both earthly and heavenly are prime topics in this book.  Taking place in the back hills of the Great Smokey Mountains in Appalachia, you soon learn to love the people, their plights in life and how love plays a huge part in this book.  The story flows smoothly between 1943 and 1973 revealing what happened to a young girl who received the name Songbird and country music singer, Walker, who at the age of 30 has just learned he is adopted. Armed with a very short note with little information, he wants to see if he can find out details and find his biological mother. He connects with a midwife, Reese, who is an advocate for adoption, as she was also adopted.  Reese takes him to the primitive area when she learns the name on the information he has is that of an elderly midwife, who might have information that will help them.

You will love this book and will not want to put it down.  I highly recommend this book.  It is the first one I have read by the author, Michelle Shocklee, and will certainly be looking for other books written by this author.  I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House and NetGalley.  The opinions expressed are my own.
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"Appalachian Song" is a Christian romance set in 1943 and 1973 in Tennessee. Walker and Reese fell in love while spending time together searching for the midwife who delivered him and for the story of why he was given up for adoption. They mostly bonded over both having been adopted. I can understand why Walker felt rejected when he learned he was adopted, but a Christian apparently feeling that he was meant to have one life but that was messed up when he was adopted just seemed strange to me. He did change his attitude, but it's not like he missed out on a better life or something.

The 1943 story was about Bertie's life with her sisters and as a midwife. She took Songbird in and protected her against her violent father. Bertie taught her about how God adopts us as his children when we confess our sins and accept Jesus and that God is our good Heavenly Father. The main characters were engaging and realistic. Interesting historical details were woven into the story to give it a distinct sense of time and place. There was no bad language or sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting story.
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Appalachian Song by Michelle Shocklee is a
great book. Appalachian books always catch my attention, whether true or fiction. This is about a famous singer who has just discovered he was adopted after being delivered by a midwife in the Appalachians. Follow his adventures as he searches for the midwife and possibly his birth mother. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. All words are my own.
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This is the second title I have read from Michelle Shocklee, after her 2023 Christianity Today Book of the Year award and Christy finalist. She is becoming a master of telling a historic tale while showing the impacts in the future. The characters are written where you quickly empathize with their situation while enjoying seeing how Bertie and Songbird’s decisions made in the early 1940’s impacted many lives over the years. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy stories that are compelling, with a little romance. Fans of Tracie Peterson who are looking for another author will find Appalachian Song a very satisfying read.

I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley and the publisher, Tyndale House Publishers, in exchange for an honest review.
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I haven't read many books by Michelle Shocklee, but the ones I have read have been soul stirring.  Appalachian Song is one of those books you read slowly in order not to miss one word or emotion.  The characters are more than words written on a page.  Mrs. Shocklee has breathed life into them and you can almost hear their words as you envision their actions.  I am a frequent vacationer to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and have visited the area where this book is based upon.  I could just picture the landscape in my mind, the people living off the land, and the Jenkin sisters so full of life.  It reminded me of my childhood growing up in Louisiana.  I don't want to give anything away but this book is one of the most beautiful stories I have read in a while.  I will definitely be recommending it to all of my friends and family.  It is so heartbreakingly beautiful that you will put it on your to be read again list.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Tyndale House Publishers for the advanced readers copy it in no way influenced my opinion of the book.
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