I loved every single thing about The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A Novel From the sweet Southern charm of some of the characters to the decidedly evilness of others.
Samuel Lake is a Methodist preacher who gets moved around a lot. So, his daughter, Swan is used to being a preacher's kid and being the new kid in town. When Samuel is not assigned a new position, the family is forced to move back home to Arkansas with Samuel's mother.
I totally fell into this book and was faced with the dilemma of wanting to reading it quickly and wanting to savor it. I thought that the characters were well drawn, possibly a smidgen stereotypical, but that only added to the charm. I had trouble reading parts of it...the cruel treatment of people and animals by one of the characters. But I've known someone almost exactly like him, and I know people like that exist.
The writing was perfect:
"Add this to the fact that he preached with what some considered undue fervor, frequently thumping the pulpit for emphasis and saying things like "If you believe that, say 'Amen!'" when he knew full well that Methodists were trying to give up that sort of thing,"
"Her parents certainly loved God. Swan did, too, she was sure, even though she ben His rules with some degree of regularity, and prayed only When It Was Important. She'd never been one to wear God out with small talk."
Really, I became so emotionally involved with this book, that about halfway through it, I started thinking.."nothing bad better happen to these people" and "this better have a happy ending."