Friday, April 17, 2015

The Shepherd of the Hills

Sitting down to read The Shepherd of the Hills is like sitting down with a friend.  You feel like you are right there on the Matthews' porch listening to their conversation.  It is a little tricky learning the accent of the people in the book at first, but once you get past that the book is a calm, delightful read.

We started off our book club with a crossword puzzle to see if we remembered the names of the characters.  I read the book over a month ago and couldn't remember a single name.  (Perhaps that is why I can pick a book up a year later and feel like I'm reading it for the first time.)

Book Club Questions:
1. Who was your favorite character?  Why?
Some of our book club's favorite characters were Young Matt, Aunt Mollie, and Dad Howitt.  We liked Young Matt because he was strong, but humble.  It was interesting to us that even though she didn't have any formal schooling, Aunt Mollie was the lady in the area that everyone looked up to.  She didn't need the schooling to have the heart of a true lady.  And who couldn't love Dad Howitt?  He was patient, kind, and wise.

2. One of the main themes of the book is redemption.  Discuss the different ways each character received redemption and why it was important.  
Dad Howitt's redemption comes when Old Matt is able to forgive him for what his son did to their daughter.  We were really impressed with Old Matt being willing to forgive Dad Howitt.  At the beginning of the book he was so angry he threatened to kill the person who caused his family so much sorrow.  After getting to know Dad Howitt he looked past the hurt at the character of the man and was able to forgive although it wasn't easy.

Redemption came for Mad Howard when he finally got the chance to tell the Matthews what happened before he died.

We decided that Sammy had more of a growth or enlightenment rather than a redemption.  We loved how Dad Howitt taught Sammy to find a person's true character.  

3.  What was your favorite "scene" or part of the book?
The love triangle between Sammy, Ollie, and Young Matt was fun to read.  It seemed so obvious that she should be with Young Matt that it would have killed us if she didn't end up with him.  We liked that when he came back to court her, she gave him a chance even though he wasn't what the people in Mutton Hollow thought was a "real man."  He wasn't big and brawny, but she took the time to learn about his character to see if she could live with him for the rest of her life.  We found that commendable.

When Young Matt nearly decided to step out of the picture when it came to Sammy because of all of her learning we were in agony.  We are glad he didn't give up and tried to better himself as well.  I have to add my two cents here: I was hoping for a nice, juicy kiss after all of that emotional torment.  I understand it probably wasn't proper for that time period, but I wanted it anyway.

My favorite scene is when Young Matt rushes to Dad Howitt's house to protect him from the gang.  It was bravery at it's finest.

After an enjoyable discussion we had some absolutely DELICIOUS berry cobbler and ice cream.  Thank you Elsa for hosting and introducing me to one of my new favorite books to read!

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