BOOK REVIEW: The stock market crash of 1929 had yet to affect the families of Shiloh, Arkansas, in the autumn of '31. Though times were hard, the cotton farmers were sure their land and their hard work were insurance aginst the vagarities of the outside world and its financial markets. There was no forewarning of the terrible Memphis panic and disaster of October 1, 1931, when one day the cotton market collapsed and a way of life was blown away with the wind.
Shiloh Autumn is the saga of the Tucker and Canfield families as they struggle to make it through the Great Depression. It is an inspiring story of courage, faith, and the healing strength of forgiveness in the face of loss and betrayal.
Birch and Trudy Tucker are proud of what they've built with their love and labor. The farm produces fine cotton. The pantry and cellar are full of food for the windter. Tom and Bobby are old enough to help with the family chores, yet still young enough to get into mischief. Babby Joey, the joy of his mother's heart, is a loving, laughing child--as full of hope as the life they had before that disastrous autumn came like a whirlwind.
When the farm is threatened and tragedy strikes, the Tuckers battle to save what they worked so hard to build. But even the forces of nature seem determined to drive them from their home. Through the hard times the Tuckers learn that the love they have for each other and faith in a loving God are the only things they can hold on to.
MY REVIEW: The Tucker family struggles to survive after the cotton market crashes, but there are too many forces against them. First, the illness; then Garrick and Caroline Jensen, who are determined to wipe out all the Shiloh families in order to expand their prospering coal mine.
Having to take out a loan from the Jensens to pay for medical bills, Birch has to put up the farm for collateral. But the Jensens don't play fair. When the railroad comes through, the right of way is directly throught the center of Birch's cotton field. And guess who is controlling the railroad activity? Trudy is inspired to start a cafe for the railroad workers, but once again the Jensens come out on top.
The Tuckers refuse to lose faith, and they do make it through, though not in the way they had hoped to. They do have their good days though:
-Tom has a bet with the local bully to see who can catch the biggest opposum. The boys have drastically different methods, which make for a very interesting chapter.
-When the first family in Shiloh is set up for auction to pay back the Jensens, all their friends chip in to help. The auctioneer receives several determinedly persuasive guests in the middle of the night before and is told only to accept certain bidders. Then the young boys band together and all the visitors to the auction somehow manage to get lost or sent in the wrong direction. In the end, the Shiloh residents buy everything with pennies, and return it all to the rightful owners, declaring thus their Penny Revolt.
-Joey's pet chicken, Henny, manages to win first placein the fair, even over Caroline Jensen's hen, which does not please her in the least.
Bodie and Brock Thoene have written several books, including a few more in the Shiloh series.