By: Joyce Crawford
Publication Date: November 2020
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: May 19, 2021
The latest book by author Joyce Crawford, The Warehouse, begins in the Garden of Eden with a cast of fairies and gradually morphs into a vitally human quest for happiness through hard work, sadness and survival.
Three families will meet in the north Florida wilderness in the difficult years following the end of the Civil War and create a marvelous legacy. John was a drummer boy in the Confederate Army who witnessed death almost daily and mourns the loss of a girl he thought would be a true love for life. Traveling to ease his spirits, he meets a Cajun beauty, Babette, in the swamplands of Louisiana. They share a strong Christian faith, and together they push forward to a largely unsettled homesteading region of northern Florida.
In northern Florida, John and Babette will become neighbors and friends to Leo and Susan, who have ventured into this unknown territory with a wagon that held, among other things, a powerful saw. When their wagon breaks down on a thorny riverbank, they take it as a sign from God to stop and settle. And Leo and Susan are already closely connected with homesteaders Jake and Marsha, who will help them set up their new dwelling. Unknown to any of these hard-scrabble humans, fairies deputized by God and his son Jesus are watching over them, believing they may build the Warehouse, a place where God’s greatest treasures can be stored. Needing a meetinghouse and community storage shelter, the three families are inspired to do just that. Their cooperative efforts will continue to influence events in the little town of Graceton well into the twentieth century.
Laden with symbolism and rich with fantastical touches, Crawford’s book provides new characters and scenery on nearly every page. The award-winning author grew up in a small rural Florida town whose history surely played a role in shaping this metaphorical Christian saga. The fairies, appropriately named for their singular characteristics, such as Serenity, Grace, Courage and Curiosity, flit through the story, conversing with God as He, too, observes the developing faith of the hardy homesteaders. The families’ religious convictions spring from tough and sometimes enlightening experience and the lore of Biblical wisdom passed through their forebears. By the end of this engaging tale, the Warehouse has somehow been transformed from a mere building to a mystical shrine of good deeds and good counsel. Keeping all these threads shimmering and intertwined is a constant task that Crawford has set for herself and handles with admirable skill.
Quill says: Joyce Crawford’s fable of family and faith will resonate with readers of many backgrounds, combining a strong religious theme with vivid depictions of America in its formative years and the determined, resilient people who quietly worked to make it a haven of charitable acts and open-hearted acceptance.
For more information on The Warehouse, please visit the author's website at: joyce-crawford-author.website