Every visit to Henry Adams, Kansas, is like a warm hug. The town is growing again and new families are welcomed. The sadness of life evolving and folks passing is balanced by the new blood that continues to flow into town. All is not perfect because humans make mistakes, but the knowledge that the people of this town will rise to the challenge, together, is a blessing.

Finding a young brother and sister walking on the side of the road after a killer storm, Gemma Dahl feels compelled to take them in while she and the town elders uncover their origin story. Sadly, the kids turn out to be orphans on their way to their new home, and their temporary guardian has been killed in the storm. Gemma, who is white, feels that she is meant to take these children into her home, along with her grandson Wyatt. But the social worker assigned to their case has decided that “cultural concerns” justifies her putting these black children into a different home, regardless of the feelings of Gemma and the kids. Meanwhile, Tamar July is dealing with her evolving emotions about the changes in her town. Is her role as town matriarch as important as it once was? Add to this the strange behavior of her son, Malachi, and the upcoming wedding of Rocky and Jack, and Henry Adams has a lot of change to process. (WILLIAM MORROW, Jul., 336 pp., $14.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jacqui McGugins