Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you’re holding together with me as the months turn hotter, and we continue to navigate the #newnormal. Books are my favorite medicine, and today, Lone Star Lit and author Cindy K. Sproles are bringing us a compelling escape into the past. Keep reading for an exclusive look at What Momma Left Behind and don’t miss the lovely giveaway!
WHAT MOMMA LEFT BEHIND
by Cindy K. Sproles
Christian Historical Fiction
Date of Publication: June 2, 2020
Number of Pages: 256
Scroll down for the giveaway!
1877—Sourwood Mountain, Tennessee
“They was nothin I could do for her. Her eyes was fixed on the sky and she never moved again. Despite me shakin her, she was gone.”
Ely slipped his worn hat from his head and pressed it hard against his chest. “Miss Worie, thangs is what they is. Ain’t nothin you coulda done.”
The spring breeze whipped my hair around my face, brushin the clay trail of tears from my cheek.
Just the day before Momma was hangin clothes on the line and singin. She didn’t seem to have a care in the world. Today she was dead. This didn’t make a bit of sense. “Like you said, Ely, it is what it is.” I swallowed hard, tryin to be strong.
Ely shoved a flat rock into the soft clay. “This’ll mark her till we can make her a cross like your daddy’s.”
“I never knew what a chore it was to bury a person.” I dropped to my knees and gingerly swept the clots of dirt to one side, smoothin the mound that covered Momma. I wasn’t sure if I was to be angry or hurt. Either way, my heart was achin.
Ely grunted. “Uh-huh. ’Tis a chore. But you was smart to drop that quilt over her. Kept the buzzards away whilst we dug that hole.” He placed his hat back in its spot, pushin his dark, tight curls from beneath.
I stared at Ely, his skin blacker than the rock coal Daddy would bring home from time to time. He was a good friend. Stood by Momma and Daddy through thick and thin.
The sun peeked through the newly formed leaves of the old oak tree, castin a shine on ever one of those curls that boasted around Ely’s ears. “You’re startin to look a little shabby there, Ely.” I smacked at a curl.
He busted into a guffaw that shook ever bone in his body. “You always make a man laugh, Miss Worie. Even now, in the shadow of your own troubles.”
“Lordy, lordy. Like you said, it is what it is. Ain’t my fault. Leastways I hope not. But I don’t understand, Ely. I did everthing Momma ever told me. Never give her no reason to pull such a stunt. I thought my bein good would make up for the boys.”
“You stop right there, girl. Ever man makes his own choices. Calvin chose his swindlin and connivin. Justice made his bed with a bottle of hooch. Them ain’t your doins. And I feel right sure Miss Louise was proud of you. Ain’t many young girls would choose stayin home to help their momma over bein a wife and mother.”
I laid across the mound of dirt and commenced to sob. Long, hard wails. Ely stood solid by me, bendin down ever once in a while to pat my shoulder.
It wasn’t long before the buzzards went to squallin overhead. “Get way!” I hollered. “Go on. Can’t you see we buried Momma?”
Ely took my arm and lifted me to my feet. “She’s safe. We buried her deep and covered her with stones and more dirt on top of that. Ain’t nothin can get to her.” He tugged me toward the house.
“But I’ve seen them beasts peck at the ground until they dig up what’s buried. Buzzards don’t care what the meal is, just so it’s fresh.”
“Like I done said, she’s safe. She’ll sleep unbothered.”
I clapped my hands together and knocked the red clay loose.
“You need to get yourself cleaned up.” Ely yanked a dress off the clothesline as we passed. “You stoke that fire in the fireplace and hang the pot. I’ll pump some fresh water for you to boil, then I’ll send Bess along after a while to bring you some supper.”
My legs grew weaker with ever step to the house till my ankles finally twisted and I sat on the ground with a thud. They was no quiet in my stomach either. My gut twisted and churned until I couldn’t hold it no more. Ely held my head while I vomited.
“Miss Worie, you been through a lot today. Help me get you inside, now. Come on. Let’s go. Get your feet under you. Come on.” He slipped his arms under mine and lifted.
I tried to stand but I couldn’t. Ely hung the clean dress over his shoulder, then scooped me in his arms and carried me. He turned his head to one side, tryin to get a good breath. They wasn’t nothin to say. I knew I smelled like sweat and blood. And I knew the only reason them buzzards was circlin Momma’s grave was because they caught the vile scent from my clothes.
Ely stood me by the screen door. His face said everthing his mouth wouldn’t. Like what happened here to rip the screen outta the door frame, but in his kindness, he didn’t ask. He pulled open the broken screen door and pushed his shoulder against the heavy inside wooden door. It sounded like a wildcat screamin as it swung open on its rope hinges.
“I’m gonna set you in this here chair while I stoke the fire. You ain’t in no shape to mess with a fire.”
“The pot is already filled. Momma was ready for me to wash clothes.” Ely nodded and headed into the back room. I heard him movin and stackin wood in the fireplace, then they was the puff of the billows. The smell of hot embers filled the house as the fire caught and went to burnin.
Ely laid the dress he’d yanked from the line on the table, then he squatted at my side. “Miss Worie, I’m goin on home. Get yourself cleaned up. You reek of blood. Your purty skin is tainted red.” He brushed my hair from my eyes, then kissed me on the head. “Me and Bess will be back later on. You hear me?”
I heard him, but words wouldn’t work their way out.
“Worie. You hear?”
I nearly jumped outta my skin. “Yeah, I hear.” The words quivered as they come out. He squeezed my shoulder and left.
Worie Dressar is seventeen years old when influenza and typhoid ravage her Appalachian Mountain community in 1877, leaving behind a growing number of orphaned children with no way to care for themselves. Worie’s mother has been secretly feeding a number of these little ones on Sourwood Mountain. But when she dies suddenly, Worie is left to figure out why and how she was caring for them.
Plagued with two good-for-nothing brothers—one greedy and the other a drunkard—Worie fights to save her home and the orphaned children now in her begrudging care. Along the way, she will discover the beauty of unconditional love and the power of forgiveness as she cares for all of Momma’s children.
Storyteller and popular speaker Cindy K. Sproles pens a tender novel full of sacrifice, heartache, and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
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PRAISE for What Momma Left Behind:
“Worie Dressar isn’t your typical heroine—she’s tough, she’s opinionated, and she’s loud. But at her core she wants to love and be loved—just like the rest of us. Cindy’s special talent is in telling about life the way it is—hard parts and all—while preserving the beauty and wonder of love shining through even the darkest night.” —Sarah Loudin Thomas, Christy Award-nominated author of Miracle in a Dry Season
“Seldom does a story move me to tears and encourage me to examine my life. A powerful story. Highly recommended.” —DiAnn Mills, author of Fatal Strike
“Cindy Sproles has a way of placing readers inside the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her ability to transport readers into her Appalachian adventures is nothing short of genius. Leaving us hanging on every word, Cindy writes with feeling and incredible historical knowledge. This book is a must-read!” —LaTan Murphy, writer, speaker, author of Courageous Women of the Bible
MEET CINDY K. SPROLES
Cindy K. Sproles is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries. An author, storyteller, and popular speaker, Cindy teaches at writers’ conferences across the country and directs the Asheville Christian Writers Conference in North Carolina. Editor of ChristianDevotions.us and managing editor for Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, Cindy has a BA in business and journalism and lives in the mountains of East Tennessee with her family.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
First Winner: Copy of What Momma Left Behind + $20 B&N Gift Card
Second Winner: Copy of What Momma Left Behind + $5 Starbucks Gift Card
Third Winner: Copy of What Momma Left Behind
June 23-July 3, 2020
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