Bethany House Publishers
Winter Birds by Jamie Langston Turner takes readers into the mind an 80-year-old female and locks the door. Sophia Hess is an irritable old woman, and she knows it. She spends her days reading death notices and watching reruns of television shows that readers are supposed to know. This story offers the chronicles of her thoughts, as Sophia looks back at the many years she’s lived and ahead at the few years she has left. The purpose of the book is to help younger people understand the alienation that aging causes: old people feel forgotten, out of synch with the rest of the world, misunderstood, and useless. It makes them aggravated about a situation they cannot control, and it stirs a longing to return to former times.
For readers who are more plot-oriented than character-driven, the book gets off to a slow start and threatens to remain dull. However, about midway through the novel, the pace picks up as secondary characters become more interactive with the central character. Patrick and Rachel, the relatives with whom old Sophia resides, are patient and gentle, but also realistic in their needs for privacy and a life of their own. The family living across the street is made up of Steve and Teri and their daughters Mindy and Veronica, and they have any number of personal problems that add some zest to the overall story. There are many back stories that could have been elaborated on, and many subplots that demand more attention than they are given, but overall everything is decently explained.
Though this book may seem tedious to those who would prefer a fast-paced and exciting story, people who enjoy slower, more thoughtful works and who are interested in becoming more empathetic to older adults, just might find Winter Birds worth their time. – Sarah Haines, Christian Book Previews.com
Sophia Hess has lived most of her life without ever knowing genuine love. Her professor husband had married her for the convenience of having a typist for his scholarly papers. The discovery of a dark secret opens her eyes to the truth about her marriage and her husband.
Eventually nephew Patrick and his wife, Rachel, take Sophia into their home, and she observes from a careful distance their earnest faith and the simple gifts of kindness they generously bestow upon her and others--this in spite of an unthinkable tragedy they've suffered. Dare she unlock the door behind which she stalwartly conceals her broken heart?