In the town of Henry Adams, Kansas, intrigue and second chances abound.
Jenkins' (Tempest, 2018, etc.) ninth jaunt into Henry Adams continues the story of Bernadine Brown, who bought the town on eBay in the first Blessings novel. Several years into the new history of a budding small town, Bernadine has fallen in love with Malachi July and finally decided to pursue a relationship. Unfortunately, due to misplaced male pride and momentary stupidity, Mal has screwed up and embezzled money belonging to the town only to lose it all to a con man. Word travels quickly, and Mal loses the trust and respect of everyone in town and the surrounding areas—but most poignantly, Bernadine has decided to never forgive him. While Mal is working to earn back the money lost and the trust of everyone in the county, grocery store manager Gary Clark is preparing for a high school reunion with both his ex-wife and the woman he loved before getting cruelly manipulated into marriage. In the meantime, a hired hit woman is after two of the town’s newest residents. Finally, the continued coming-of-age of the town's collection of adopted teenagers evolves through family troubles, new teachers, attitude problems, and potential crushes. An ever growing cast of characters and a lack of a constantly engaging plot limits the reach of the novel, leaving the reader to experience an uneven balance of empty filler and engrossing moments. The format feels like an ongoing television series, with episodic moments that sometimes lead nowhere; this might work for some readers. Award-winning author Jenkins knows how to create sympathetic characters, but the residents of Henry Adams seem to have outlasted her capability to keep us interested in the goings-on of their lives for more than bits at a time.
Only for readers waiting with bated breath for the next Henry Adams story.