The Sowing Season – Katie Powner – Bethany House Publishers – Published 6 October 2020
After he’s forced to sell the family farm he’s labored on his whole life, 63-year-old Gerrit Laninga doesn’t know what to do with himself. He sacrificed everything for the land–his time, his health, his family–with nothing to show for it but bitterness, regret, and two grown children who want nothing to do with him.
Fifteen-year-old Rae Walters has growing doubts and fears about The Plan–the detailed blueprint for high school that will help her follow in her lawyer father’s footsteps. She’s always been committed to The Plan, but now that the pressure to succeed is building, what was supposed to unite her family in purpose, may end up tearing it apart.
When their paths cross just as they each need a friend the most, Gerrit’s and Rae’s lives begin to change in unexpected ways. Can they discover together what really matters in life and learn it’s never too late for a second chance?
This is such a charming, inter-generational story about healing wounds and finding your purpose in life.
Rae Walters is a teenager with a plan. Or at least, her parents have a plan for her life. As Rae fits in as much study, volunteer time and gets everything perfect for the plan to become a lawyer, she struggles to put her heart in it, especially when she gets behind the wheel of a car. It might be the first time she has failed something, and it is set to derail her plan and her relationship with her parents. Gerrit has just sold his family farm. Generations in his family has ended and all his sacrifices – time with his wife and children – gone. Now, with little to do, Gerrit finds himself assessing his relationships, or lack of them, with his wife and grown children. He wants to do better, but isn’t sure where to start.
I loved so much about this book. Mainly, I loved how relaxing it was to pick this book up and sink between the pages. Gerrit is hilarious (and he doesn’t mean to be and he would absolutely hate me for finding him funny). His character is so clear and so strong. Katie Powner does a fantastic job of painting him as the grump, out-of-sorts, awkward farmer. He doesn’t know how to talk to his children, wife, or neighbours. He continually denies any softness, especially about his wife’s dog, Daisy. But despite his gruff exterior, he really does want to change. Being inside Gerrit’s head, gives the reader an insight into his thoughts, crazy ideas and inner softy.
Rae is under a massive amount of pressure. A lot of this comes from her parents, especially her dad. Her relationship with them is really suffering. She isn’t sure what she wants from her future and if everything she is working towards is worth it. She is also concerned about her feelings for a boy she has been forbidden to date (though she has been forbidden to date any boy) and struggling with her relationship with her best friend.
Despite the big age gap, Gerrit and Rae seem to get along really well. Of course, that have their disagreements and they don’t really understand each other – at all. But together, they manage to nut their way through driving lessons, irritating neighbours, rescuing roosters, reuniting with family, and kindling or rekindling relationships.
I loved the elements that are brought to the story with Rae and Gerrit volunteering at the Community Hope Program, helping children and teenagers in need. The characters this introduced are really special and it is while volunteering that Gerrit and Rae start to work through so much of what is in their heads and hearts.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Adult fiction
Genre: Christian Contemporary.
Themes: Family, farming, forgiveness, marriage, friendship, intergenerational relationships.
Published: 6 October 2020 by Bethany House Publishers
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 368 pages.