April 27, 2022
Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Slavery, Racism/Prejudice, Faith, Appalachia (rural North Carolina), WW11 and Civil War
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Thanks #NetGalley @TyndaleHouse for a complimentary copy of #AHundredCricketsSinging upon my request. All opinions are my own.
In split timelines (1861 and 1944) and through two wars (Civil War and WW11) we hear the stories of two young women who lived on the same plantation and same house in No Creek, North Carolina (Appalachia) as they face the hardships of war and encounter unrelenting racism and prejudice. It’s through Celia’s discovery of a hidden journal in 1944 that we hear Minnie’s story from the Civil War days and cheer for Celia as she attempts to right a wrong.
Lots to Love: I love both main characters, the connection between the two storylines, and the exploration of racism/prejudice between the two time periods. However, what I love the most is that each timeline is equally compelling and tension filled. So often in a dual timeline story, one timeline is more interesting and engaging than the other, or one is more dominant. But in A Hundred Crickets Singing, I loved each timeline and cast of characters and I didn’t mind the time hop in alternating chapters. This is a rare occurance for me and is what ultimately leads me to a five star rating. The entirely of the story from beginning to end through two time periods and two sets of characters is compelling. Each storyline is so well developed that it could easily be two separate books. To combine them is great story telling from my perspective!
Characters: Admittedly, there are a lot of characters to track! I had to be mindful of the chapter title at first which clearly denotes the time period. You might want to keep notes of characters at the beginning until you are fully acclimated in the story. I think if you have previously read Night Bird Calling, you will have more familarity with the characters (although this can be read as a stand alone). I admire both young women from each storyline for their endurance and determination and sense of justice. Both are realistically portrayed. First, Minnie (1861) as she assists her family and community in the operation of their part of the Underground Railroad. I also admire her faithful and descriptive journal entries and careful records which Celia will discover eighty years later in a secret, hidden, and sealed room. I also admire Celia (1944) and her determination to unravel a mystery from the past and make things right for one family. I appreciate her community efforts and vision for a better future. Both women are admirable in their ability to manuever through a minefield of political opinions and prejudices.
Setting: The author creates a strong sense of place in each time period through her vivid descriptions of rural, small town (small minded) North Carolina and the colorful cast of characters she places there.
Themes: I appreciate the thoughtful themes presented including friendship, family loyalty, righting a wrong, leadership in the community, the ongoing fight against racism and prejudice, holding onto faith, hardships of war, confronting injustice, and taking risks. Personally, I do appreciate when faith is presented as an authentic part of a character’s life and not in a preachy way.
“The persistent, conflicting voices of all those I love, spoken and not, are deafening–a hundred crickets shouting, screeching in my brain. The mounting tension is intolerable. Help us Lord!”
Highly Recommended: When I noticed that Cathy Gohlke was the author, having loved The Medallion, I knew I wanted to read A Hundred Crickets Singing. Although it’s a follow up to Night Bird Calling (which I haven’t yet read and am now eager to read), it can absolutely be read as a stand alone. I’m enthusiastically recommending Hundred Crickets for fans of well-written and well-researched histfic, for readers who love stories of inspirational women, and for those who appreciate important and heartfelt themes. Book clubs will definitely enjoy this for its rich discussion possibilities.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Meet the Author, Cathy Gohlke
Bestselling, Christy Hall of Fame, and Carol and INSPY Award-winning author, Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Her critically acclaimed novels include A Hundred Crickets Singing, Night Bird Calling, The Medallion (winner of the 2020 Christy Award), Until We Find Home, Secrets She Kept (winner of the 2016 Christy, Carol and INSPY Awards), Saving Amelie (winner of the 2015 INSPY Award), Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008 and winner of the 2008 Christy and American Christian Fiction Writers Award) and William Henry is a Fine Name (winner of the 2007 Christy Award).
When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at http://www.cathygohlke.com, and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks; on Bookbub (@ CathyGohlke); and on YouTube, where you can subscribe to Book Gems with Cathy Gohlke for short videos of book recommendations.
Is A Hundred Crickets Singing on your TBR or have you read it?
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