Brother Daniel's Good News Revival

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
238 Pages
Reviewed on 09/03/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Bruce Joel Brittain is an author, songwriter and musician. He earned a journalism degree in 1969 and then served three years on active duty in the U.S. Army, primarily as a journalist. His post-military career included creative copywriting, press relations and consumer research. In the latter category, he formed his own consultancy in Atlanta, Georgia, where he still lives. He built a successful business and managed it for over two decades. In that capacity, Bruce became a sought-after conference speaker and was frequently interviewed by national media outlets including CNN,
The New York Times and NPR among others. Bruce’s interest in depression-era history and the timeless issues of human relations created the initial story outline for Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

Brother Daniel's Good News Revival by Bruce Joel Brittain is such a refreshing change from the hundreds of books I read each year. Brittain’s cast of characters is colourful and different, yet completely realistic and believable. Now, put these characters into a religious revival troupe travelling from town to town - complete with a road crew, a pianist, and a dollar counter - and you come up with an entertaining plot reminiscent of a circus: there’s just so much more thumping going on behind and inside those wagons and we’re not talking only about Bible thumping! When naive, polite 19-year-old Michael Boone (no relation to Daniel) joins Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival, he’s eager to please, keen to learn, and forever in fear of doing anything that might jeopardize his first job. That includes staying on the good side of Brother Daniel’s woman, Anna, and not messing around with her daughter, Ruth. Unfortunately for Michael, both ladies have other ideas about Michael. Then there’s his road crew buddy and learned mentor, Bert, who knows everything about everything, has no use for religion and too much use for the demon drink. As for Brother Daniel himself, well, he’s a real piece of work, but I’m not going to spoil your enjoyment of this excellent book by telling you any more about him.

Suffice to say that over the course of this book, a bit like the protagonist in the movie “O Lucky Man”, Michael Boone learns about life by living it, and what an education he gets. A decade or more after Michael first meets this fascinating troupe, has graduated from college, fought in the big war, married and become a father, his past as a member of Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival catches up with him in ways in which he…and readers…never expect. But throughout it all, Michael Boone is, and remains, one very likeable and admirable fellow. While Brittain tells the story of Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival with humor and sensitivity, he also paints a vivid picture of the thinking, mores and culture of that era in US history. The book is rich with historical content but never boring; it teaches but never preaches; it makes one reflect, often with amusement but occasionally with sadness and bewilderment. If this book leaves readers wanting anything more, it’s only more books by Bruce Joel Brittain. Five stars all the way!

Jane Finch

Brother Daniel's Good News Revival by Bruce Joel Brittain tells the story of Michael Boone as he joins the Revival train as a driver and general handyman. Michael is straight out of school and finds he has to adapt quickly to the reality of life on the road. The family members of Brother Daniel’s clan are not what Michael had expected, and he eventually realizes that the real purpose is to make money, not to save souls. Relationships are not what they seem, and Michael finds himself reluctant to respond to one person’s advances and is unable to resist another. Whatever decision he makes will only end in disaster and result in him losing his job. An heroic act finally results in Michael taking a path that will see him fulfill his life’s ambition, despite a confession at the end that could have the potential to ruin everything he had worked to achieve.

The author, Bruce Joel Brittain, has expertly written an enticing and intriguing novel that keeps the reader entranced throughout. Michael’s determination to do the right thing and his moralistic stance are appealing and the reader is totally sympathetic when his human instincts cause him to flounder. The characters are well developed and believable, such as the character of Brother Daniel, who probably believes all that he preaches, but certainly is unable to practice it; Mother Daniel, who is definitely not all she seems; Ruth, who is determined to woo the young Michael; and Bert, the educated and wise handyman with a weakness for the drink and a wry humour. This is a great, well-paced story that has a satisfying ending. Nicely done.

Deborah Lloyd

In the summer of 1933, eighteen-year-old Michael Boone left his aunt’s farm and joined Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival. Michael’s parents and younger siblings had moved to the west coast three years earlier to find work. Michael stayed behind to finish high school and help his aunt. The Daniels became his adopted family for a few years. Brother Daniel was the preacher, and his “wife” Mother Daniel (whom he’d never legally married) were the owners of the traveling troupe. Mother Daniel’s two daughters, Sisters Ruth Grace and Rebecca Joy, as well as Petey, their son together, joined in the travels. Bert Gilbert, another truck driver and stagehand, and Michael soon formed a friendship that served Michael well. In Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival, written by Bruce Joel Brittain, Michael quickly learned that things were not what they seemed. The story finishes with Michael’s experience in World War II, and how events from these traveling days affected his later years.

This story is filled with historical information, such as how the Great Depression affected families and how the need for faith and hope was filled by traveling preachers. The author has written an engaging tale that is entertaining in some sections, and heartbreaking in other parts. There is an easy flow to the story, even as the author captures Michael as an adolescent and then later as a responsible, caring adult. Bruce Joel Brittain has written an informative, realistic and thought-provoking novel in Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival. An intriguing read perfect for fans of historical fiction!

Grant Leishman

It is 1933, in the dust bowl that was to become the American Midwest, when a young man leaves his family farm in search of a future. Finding a job as a truck driver/stagehand for a touring religious revival crusade, Michael Boone becomes drawn into a world of hypocrisy and privation that will cause him to grow up much quicker than he could have imagined. In Bruce Joel Brittain’s Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival, we meet an unlikely cast of characters, all with their own tales to tell and all who will have a profound impact on the young boy from Kentucky as he grows into a man. From the lecherous, borderline pedophile Brother Daniel to his partner, the voluptuous Mother Daniel, and the children, Michael will become very worldly, very quickly. With his fellow driver, the enigma that is the highly educated Bert, this motley crew will travel the small towns of the Midwest, bringing their brand of salvation to a population mired in the Great Depression.

As a fan of historical novels, I found Bruce Joel Brittain’s Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival a satisfying and revealing read. The characters were so perfectly drawn; one could almost picture the lecherous Brother Daniel and his long-suffering woman, Mother Daniel. Michael was exactly as you would expect, the wide-eyed boy from rural Kentucky who was suddenly exposed to the hypocrisy of a world he had trouble understanding at first. The star, for me, was Bert, whose worldly knowledge, questioning nature and well-read character was exactly what Michael needed to open his eyes to reality. The writer’s style, straightforward and flowing, was easy to read and drew perfectly for the reader the picture of a people suffering the great privations of the Depression, who would turn to God and the travelling revival show as a way out of their poverty and hopelessness. I think the author captured the mood of the country at that time so well. This was a great read and one I can highly recommend.

Samantha Dewitt (Rivera)

When Michael signs on to be a driver for Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival, he has no idea just what he’s in for. The revival isn’t only about preaching the word of God. Michael learns a whole lot more about life and the world than he ever could have learned any other way. But he also meets a cast of characters that sets his life on a completely new path. From Mother Daniel and Ruth to Bert and even Brother Daniel, he learns and grows as a young man. But his life is destined to be more than any of them could have imagined in Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival by Bruce Joel Brittain.

This is a story of a young man growing and finding himself through an extraordinary journey. Michael experiences a lot during his time with the Revival and he definitely becomes a stronger person as a result. With this book you find yourself drawn into just what Michael is going through and each choice he makes that leads him down his own path of life. There’s no telling what will happen next for him or any of the characters, but you'll want to find out. Even when the book ends, you will find yourself wondering just what could happen next to the characters. In Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival you get romance, a little bit of action and a whole lot of coming of age in a world that’s finding itself, even as Michael does. This book by Bruce Joel Brittain is one you’ll enjoy reading and thinking about.