Nine-year-old Leah's invisible friend seems harmless enough until he aids her in upsetting the tranquility of her new town, a place where her parents desperately hoped she'd finally be able to make friends and fit in. Hidden within a picture she paints for a failed toymaker are numbers that win the toymaker millions. Suddenly, townspeople are divided between those who see Leah as a prophet and those who are afraid of the danger she represents. Caught in the middle is Leah's agnostic father, who clashes with a powerful town pastor over Leah's prophecies and what to do about them.
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Customer Reviews for When Mockingbirds Sing - eBook
Billy Coffey is a maestro who has conducted a symphony in when mockingbirds sing. With the melody of the central theme, each character's story weaves in and out, some in harmony and others in a minor discord. Novel Rocket and I give it our highest recommendation. It's a 5-star read that has gone not only on my Top 10 for 2013 list but my Top 10 of All Time as well.
Leah and her parents have moved from the city to the small town of Mattingly to reunite as a family. Tom and Ellen even invite the whole town to Leah's birthday party, in an attempt to connect to the people of this outsider-averse community. Things start out well, with Leah befriending a town girl named Allie, who looks past Leah's stutter and sticks with her, even as Leah's life begins to get stranger and stranger. First, there's the Rainbow Man, who sings only to Leah and tells her things that nobody else should know. Then there are the paintings - the first of which brings great blessings upon the town's forgotten. But is this Rainbow Man real? Is he good? And are these paintings and prophecies of Leah's meant to help the town, or break it apart?
When Mockingbird Sings reminded me a lot of a book I read years ago, Keeping Faith, by Jodi Picoult. A small girl who seemingly is tuned in to a powerful force, with the public divided over whether it's good, evil, or even real. I won't do a comparison of the books here, but Picoult's book was in my head for most of the reading of this one.
I wasn't sure how to feel about this book; while I admired Leah's commitment to her journey, the story itself was so dark. Leah's life was not easy; the Rainbow Man did not make things sunshine and roses. Leah was outcast, doubted, and mocked. At one point, almost the entire town teams up on her. Yet, she stands her ground; she believes in the Rainbow Man, and she believes she needs to do what he says and deliver his message to the people of Mattingly, no matter the cost to herself or her family, or her very best friend. Additionally, there are multiple mentions of other "magic" that has happened in this town, hints that Leah is not the first person to experience strange things here, yet the stories of the past are never explained, even though one character promises to tell Leah's Father Tom the whole thing. While Mr. Coffey has other books available that reference "a small Virginia town," there is no indication of these books being a cohesive series, and no reference to the order they're meant to be read in, if they're even connected. This left me feeling like I'd missed a big part of the story, and it made it much harder for me to connect to the townsfolk.
Even with my frustration about the plot holes, I was drawn into Leah's world, and anxious to see how things turned out. I wanted to know whether the Rainbow Man was on the side of good or evil, and I wanted to know what the prophecies meant for the town.
I give this book 3 stars.
I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson, as part of their Booksneeze program, in exchange for my honest review.
"When Mockingbirds Sing" by Billy Coffey is a fantasy novel about a stuttering, shy girl, Leah and her strange parents who move to a small town that seems keep its population the same always with few new comers. Leah's parents have a huge birthday party for her and the Rainbow man comes to befriend Leah and give her knowledge. This whole book is kinda weird. It has great reviews and I am not sure why. The whole thing seems like the author's a weak attempt to be deep. There is little introduction so the reader spends the first part of the novel wondering what's going on. With the exception of Allie, none of the characters are particuarly likable. I didn't like this one, however, many people do. Give it a shot. I received this book for free from www.booksneeze.com.
Billy Coffey has written a masterful tale, a novel that pulled me in from the first scene and caught me up into the deep emotion and hurt and pain and wonder of the world Billy has created. There were moments that I laughed and moments that I hurt along with the characters. And there were moments near the end that I nearly forgot to breathe as I lived through the story. The writing is superb, with words that flow ever so smoothly, vivid descriptions, and characters I could not help but adore. The supernatural element in the story adds an utterly unique flavour that I thoroughly enjoyed. "When Mockingbirds Sing" is one of those novels that causes the world around you to fall silent as you are drawn into the story, one that seems achingly real and magical at the same time. It is a book that I will need to ponder for some time as I sort through the messages contained within its pages, messages about grace and about faith and the power of belief. I am left with fresh wonder at how God can choose to work and breathe upon our lives, how His plan can upend our understanding of how things work and reveal that His ways are even better than what we could ask for or imagine.
This is the first novel that I've read by Billy Coffey, and I have been so moved by the grace and beauty of his words that I can promise I will be reading the next book he has to offer as well. I highly recommend this read and award it 5 out of 5 stars.
A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.
It is hard to describe this novel. It is part parable, part fantasy, yet all drama.
Tom, a psychologist in the city, moves his family to a small town in the country. His daughter, Leah, is very shy and stutters and is alienated from others her age. She has an imaginary acquaintance, the Rainbow Man. He sings and reveals to her pictures she is to paint and people she is to see. When her first painting contains winning lottery numbers, the town adores her. But then succeeding paintings are not so uplifting and the town turns on her and her parents.
This novel has much in it to think about and discuss. There are the characters, like Reggie, the pastor who has devoted his life to his faith and ministry. He is angry that one would even think God might speak through an agnostic little girl. There is Barney who testifies God loves him when he wins the lottery but when his wife dies a few days later, testifies that God is cruel. There is Tom, Leah's father. He is a troubled man, unable to cure his own ills even as he helps others.
There are many questions originating within the storyline. When we say “God loves us,” what do we really mean? Does he love us when He has us win the lottery as our business is dying and medical bills are mounting? Does He love us when He allows your wife to die? Does God love us when we put in our coins of good works and out comes our reward? Does He love us when we put in the correct change but the machine doesn't deliver?
There is nothing like adversity to reveal the true character of people. And this hick town of Mattingly has it's share. A disgruntled Barney thinks about the “rottenness that lurked just beneath the goodness of his town.” (266) And during a town confrontation with Leah, “In that moment the townspeople's brittle facade of community and kinship was peeled back to expose the beasts that lurked beneath it.” (297)
There would be much to discuss about this novel. What does it mean to believe? Would God speak through an agnostic child? Are events planned by God and are they inevitable? What do we do when God acts in a way we were certain He would never do? What do we do with the mysteries of God that we do not understand? As Christians, should we deny or accept a move of God when it is foreign to our expectations? When we call something magic, what does that mean?
Coffey is a fine writer. This is a novel with a good story on the surface and many underlying truths and questions below. Not all of the Christians we experience are wonderful people. They are real, with faults and problems. And as is often the case with God, not everything is as it seems. As for Tom and so many others, I guess that is why they call it faith.
There are discussion question so this would make a very interesting book for a reading group.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Billy Coffey’s newest novel, "When Mockingbirds Sing," kept me guessing to the end. It’s kind of a bizarre story, but gives a worthwhile message at the end. A few questions are left unanswered, but I suspect that was intentional. Coffey’s next book, which comes out in March 2014, will be set in the same town. I’m already curious to see what will happen next in Mattingly.
"When Mockingbirds Sing" is the story of a little girl named Leah and her invisible friend, the Rainbow Man. Leah and her family are new to the town. Because Leah is quite shy and tends to stutter—a lot—her parents throw her a birthday party and invite the whole town. There Leah meets Allie who chooses her as her new best friend. Barney, the town’s toy maker, brings an easel as Leah’s birthday gift. This is where the troubles begin.
Leah’s mysterious paintings seem to predict the future and quickly divide the town. Is she gifted or cursed? And is the Rainbow Man real? Each person, including Leah’s parents, Allie, Barney, and the town’s minister, must choose what to believe and how to respond to this young girl.
I received a complimentary copy of "When Mockingbirds Sing" from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for this honest review. I was thankful for the opportunity to read this intriguing book.
The best part of a great book is when you can take a few moments after the final page has been turned, you close your eyes, sigh, and remember just how great a story that was you just read. One that will live long in your soul like a priceless memory. In fact for as far back as I can recall, almost anything that author Billy Coffey has written has lingered in my mind and touched my heart in profound ways. In his latest novel, When Mockingbirds Sing is definitely not like anything I had ever read from him before. This one gripped me from the first chapter and wouldn't let me go. I quite literally couldn't do anything else until I uncovered the magic that was taking place in the small town of Mattingly, Virginia. Think of it like your personal Mayberry of sorts. The kind of town where everyone knows one another, where often times they can rally together for the good of the community. It's also a place where when things can't be explained that people can assume to worst in others. But all that is about to change when one little girl, Leah Norcross came to town and brought the magic with her.
Leah is the only child of Tom and Ellen Norcross. Your average family from the looks on the outside. Tom is a full-time psychologist in town and has cut back his hours to spend more time with his family. Something he promised them before they moved here. But something in Tom's past won't let him go and he'll have to decide where his true priorities lie when no matter what he tries, he can't seem to heal his own daughter, Leah of her ability to stutter. What's even worse is the divide it has been causing in his own marriage to Ellen. They are more like room mates than husband and wife lately and he is struggling to find a way to create bridge to bring his family back together. Will Leah's magic be enough to heal her family as well?
Leah's only goal in life to to have friends, but she has learned long ago that when you are different like she is, people will often go to great lengths to be mean and stay away from you. So she is more than thrilled when the Rainbow Man appears and offers to work with Leah to help what is ailing this small town. The only problem with the Rainbow Man is that no one can see him but Leah. Leah and the Rainbow Man are about to change the lives of the people living in Mattingly like they had never imagined and all those prayers to God are about to point to what Leah can paint in her remarkable pictures handcrafted just for each one of them. What is really going on with Leah and her paintings? Just what is the Rainbow Man? Is he sent from God or somewhere else?
For that answer to the mystery of the magic in Mattingly, you'll have to pick up a copy of When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey. After picking up a copy of this novel, you'll want to carve out a good portion of time to sit back and watch the real storytelling magic of Billy Coffey's writing transport you as a silent observer into the lives of the people in Mattingly. The interesting note I found when I began my own journey is that the voice in the story reminded me of the narrator from the movie Charlotte's Web (1973), Rex Allen, whose gentle and warm voice lulls you into a magical world that only Billy Coffey can create through his words. This is one not to be missed and will change how you see things in the world today. There is magic alive all around us if we are only willing to look for it.
It's been a true pleasure to review When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and the down to earth author Billy Coffey, himself. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review on this novel and easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars. I've had the distinguished pleasure of adding so many of Billy Coffey's short stories to my personal library through his novels but also through his blog, What I Learned Today. Make sure you grab a comfy spot on the porch swing, make a tall glass of some Southern Sweet Tea and prepare yourself for a truly unforgettable journey into the world of Billy Coffey today! To wrap up this novel in one word would simply be "Awesome Sauce!"
Leah Norcross is the nine year old daughter of the town psychologist in the small town of Mattingly. Seemingly inhibited by a stutter, she lives in a world all her own. Drawing pictures that are breathtaking in detail, and talking to an invisible man she calls the "Rainbow Man", she is not exactly the most popular kid in town. While some of the townspeople seem amused by Tom and Ellen's daughter, others are leery of someone so unlike themselves.
Barney and Mabel Moore are part of the accepting group. Explaining that the small town does not easily accept strangers from Away, Barney tries to smooth things over for everyone. When he wins the lottery from numbers that Leah painted, the lines are drawn. The minister refuses to believe a child can hear from God even more clearly than he can. Leah father, Tom, is equally as confused, but sticks with his daughter, even though he cannot understand what is happening to her. Can he save his daughter from the clutches of her own mind? Or is there really more to this Rainbow Man than he is willing to admit?
This is definitely an ambitious novel. But more than that, it hit the mark. I was expecting a quaint little town with a quaint, backwoods feel to the story. I got so much more than a nice story with a feel-good ending. Coffey takes you on an adventure that leaves you pondering the tale long even when you're not reading it. He sometimes raises more questions than he answers, and then in a breathtaking, effortless sweep brings you to understanding without even trying. It is very different than what I've ever read, but it was worth every word. If you don't read a lot, make the time for this novel. You won't regret the remarkable journey.
This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.
If you love Peretti, you will love Billy Coffey's latest book. It contains all the elements of a fast-paced novel right up to the dramatic ending. The story kept me guessing page after page, wondering how the town will survive a young girl's friendship with her invisible Rainbow Man and what her paintings meant to the townspeople. If you are looking for a heart-stopping read this summer, this is the book.
When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey is poetically breathtaking. This is the story of Amy and the wonderful townspeople who are in for a life altering experience, to say the least. This story weaves the struggles of belief and understanding like no other novel has done in quite a while. It was stunningly descriptive and transportive because at times when ever anyone asked what I was reading I would answer, "this movie is a must see" followed by laughs on both our parts because I was clearly holding a book not a tablet of some sort. This has only ever happened to me once before when I was reading a thriller and it has taken 15 years for this to happen again. In the end I am extremely glad I read this story and have a new author to follow, he is amazing.