How many times have you walked past a penny on the ground without so much as a second thought? Jenny Blake did just that, and then for some unexplainable reason, turned, ran back and retrieved the penny from the hot asphalt.
Â At the tender age of 14 Jenny had no way of knowing the significance of her actions on that blistering summer day in 1955. The Blake family lived in St. Louis, which during the 50â€™s and early 60â€™s was a hotbed of racial tension. So when Jenny, a white girl, befriends Aurelia, a black girl recently integrated into the same school, she must keep the friendship a secret. Although Aureliaâ€™s family welcomes Jenny into both their home and church, the same acceptance could not be found within the Blake household. Jennyâ€™s father in an abusive, horrible man, that mistreats his daughters in every conceivable way. Working for Miss Shaw, the local jeweler, Jenny begins to see Christianity at work, in small ways that others barely notice. Yet, no matter how hard she prays, her fathers abuse continues and she struggles to understand why God seems to be ignoring her pain. With Miss Shawâ€™s guidance, and Aureliaâ€™s unwavering friendship she continues building her faith, one step at a time. Little by little Godâ€™s truth is revealed to herâ€¦..â€God doesnâ€™t always make something go away because we pray, He often gives us the strength to stand up to it.â€ And that knowledge changes her life and that of those around her.
The authors indelible ability to recognize the miraculous wonders of God, even the smallest of details, is but one of the many things that makes â€œThe Pennyâ€ a beautifully moving reading experience. Despite your religious convictions, this is a wonderful story where the authors reveal their inspirations subtly and slowly, never preachy, over-bearing or offensive, â€œThe Pennyâ€ is much like the soft-spoken, loving direction one receives from a beloved parent. Thereâ€™s something for everyone in this heart-felt, inspirational story. The narration is exceptionally well delivered, adding depth and conviction to the reading experience. I highly recommend this novel to any reader that simply enjoys a strong, powerful story. (Just make sure you donâ€™t start listening (or reading) until you have several hours of free timeâ€¦ you will not want to put it down.)
Reviewed by RJ McGill, 3Rs Reading Den