How long are you bound to a promise you made? What does “family” really mean? And when everything else is stripped away, what do you really want? Those questions — and more — about secrets, sacrifice and Southern lore weave together in This Is Where It Ends by Cindy K. Sproles to create a heartfelt tale of what family and promises really mean.
Back cover copy:
When Minerva Jane Jenkins was just 14 years old, she married a man who moved her to the mountains. He carried with him a small box, which he told her was filled with gold. And when he died 50 years later, he made her promise to keep his secret. She is to tell no one about the box or the treasure it contains.
Now 94, Minerva is nearing the end of what has sometimes been a lonely life. But she’s kept that secret. Even so, rumors of hidden gold have a way of spreading, and Minerva is visited by a reporter, Del Rankin, who wants to know more of her story. His friend who joins him only wants to find the location of the gold. Neither of them knows quite who they’re up against when it comes to the old woman on the mountain.
As an unlikely friendship develops, Minerva is tempted to reveal her secret to Del. After all, how long is one bound by a promise? But the truth of what’s really buried in the box may be hidden even from her.
Minerva Jane Jenkins and her story captured me from page one.
The historical details are authentic and put you right in the middle of the story. Characters come to life with all their goodness and their faults. Everything about them — their actions, their emotions, their dialogue — is realistic and relatable, and adds to the story.
I loved watching the relationship between Minerva and Del bloom and grow into something beautiful. They both learned things about themselves and each other, and their interactions made me think about some things for myself.
How important is a promise, and how long should you keep it? How do the small things I say or do affect other people? How stubbornly do I cling to beliefs versus being open to change or other perspectives? Where do I draw my line in the sand on issues? Yet as weighty as these and other questions might seem, they’re all undercurrents in the story and don’t feel forced on the reader.
This Is Where It Ends is the perfect balance between a story that’s light enough to easily read and enjoy and a story that’s heavy enough to make you consider things for (and about) yourself. The story and characters will be with me for quite a while.
Minerva’s relationship with God is one constant throughout her long life. She’s lived many years on the mountain with just herself and God, until Del arrives. In the times when she isn’t sure she’ll make it, faith is part of what helps her through.
I appreciated how realistic Minerva’s attitude toward God was: funny, angry, tender, conversational — but most of all, honest. She also stayed open to what God wanted to teach her, which isn’t always easy for us to do. She also recognized when God answered one of her longstanding prayers. Even though she initially didn’t realize that’s what it was, God’s answer was bigger and more perfect than she could have hoped.
Sometimes the faith aspect of a story line can seem manufactured or stilted (or worse yet, cheesy). The opposite is true in This Is Where It Ends. Faith is an integral part of the story and strengthens every layer in realistic and relatable ways.“This Is Where It Ends” by Cindy K. Sproles #bookreview Meet Minerva: loyal, spunky, determined to do what she believes is right — yet still willing to open her heart & grow. Heart warming #Christianfiction by @cindydevoted… Click To Tweet
Who should read This Is Where It Ends:
This Is Where It Ends is written as adult fiction but is appropriate for teen or young adult/new adult readers. All content is family friendly. Some themes (and scenes) related to death and dying are part of the story, but they’re handled very well (and shouldn’t surprise readers since Minerva is 94).
Cindy K. Sproles is one of the best authors writing Appalachian fiction. If you enjoy Southern, mountain, or small-town historical fiction, look up This Is Where It Ends. You’ll be glad you did.
The bottom line:
I enjoyed every bit of This Is Where It Ends about Minerva Jane Jenkins and her life as a mountain woman.
From the opening page with Minerva and Stately to the last with Del, Cindy K. Sproles shares a beautiful story of a woman who’s loyal to a fault, spunky despite all the hardships, determined to do things the way she believes is right — yet still willing to open her heart and grow.
Your turn: What’s a lesson you’ve learned from a book recently? Leave a comment below to help encourage someone else.
Book details: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Cindy K. Sproles
Genre: Historical fiction; Appalachian fiction
Publisher: Revell; 273 pages
Publish date: June 27, 2023