Southbound Birds

Christian - Fiction
184 Pages
Reviewed on (not set)
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite

Southbound Birds by Janetta Fudge Messmer is the perfect sequel to her earlier book, Early Birds. Two retired couples, Rose and Larry and Betsy and Ben, are great friends and their travels across country (joined later by another couple, Mary and Jeff) to Biloxi and then Florida in their RV’s bring them into contact with adventures, new friends, and people to help. Their mission is to go where God directs them and take on any challenges that they know are meant just for them. Mishaps, hilarities, calamities, puzzles and profound moments abound. This time Betsy has an additional challenge of her own. And can the friends really make any difference to the life of one young woman and her teenage daughter, as well as finding a way to help Linda find an opening for her talent?

Janet Fudge Messmer’s writing just bounces along and I was drawn into the entertaining and adventurous lives of the characters from the very first chapter. I loved Early Birds and this sequel did not disappoint – of course, this one can be read without reading the first, but I can recommend not missing out. Rose and Larry and other characters are depicted so well – their personalities, concerns and relationships with one another are very believable. I loved the humor and the banter between them and their openness and ongoing willingness to understand each other. In many ways, Southbound Birds is an exploration of how relationships might be challenged and strengthened when individuals set off and leave their normal environments and routines behind.

How prayer helps and guides the characters is an important theme. This is a Christian novel too then, and the travels of the four characters act as an inspiration. As Rose says: “It’s not the destination, it’s finding people we can help along our journey.” An entertaining, thought-provoking and enjoyable story with very likable characters and plenty of surprises too.

Chris Fischer

In a lovely, sweet and fun new work by author Janetta Fudge Messmer, Southbound Birds will keep readers engaged from the beginning all the way through until the end. Continuing the adventures of the Early Birds, a group of interesting and fun loving retirees who travel the countryside in their motor homes, readers will again be sucked into the lives of Rose and Larry Wilford, Betsy and Ben Stevenson, and Mary and Jeff Wells, following their exploits with glee. The Early Birds have encountered some difficulties on their journey to Florida, and end up stalled out for a while in Biloxi, Mississippi, getting involved in helping out their neighbors in ways they wouldn't have expected. But through it all, they have each other, prayer, and God, and are certain that somehow they will make it through!

I very much enjoyed the continuing saga of the funny and entertaining Early Birds that author Janetta Fudge Messmer writes about in Southbound Birds. Her writing style is fast paced and adept, and kept me turning the pages throughout. Her characters are vividly drawn and realistic, and many readers will be able to recognize them in people in their own lives. There is a strong Christian influence and theme throughout the story, and the theme provides a hopeful and uplifting message in the end. Any reader who is looking for a quick read that is fun and funny, has a good Christian base, and continues the story of a great group of friends should absolute read Southbound Birds by Janetta Fudge Messmer as soon as they possibly can!

Vernita Naylor

Author Janetta Fudge Messmer of Early Birds is back! In Early Birds we were taken on a journey across country. While Early Birds Ben and Betsy Stevenson and their friends, Rose and Larry Wilford, drove their RVs across country, they were faced with fear, uncertainty, and their faith was strengthened. Janetta Fudge Messmer continues the journey in Southbound Birds where we are joined by two more early birds, Jeff and Mary Miller. The early birds' travel provides them with an experience unlike any other. While the early birds thought they were merely taking a trip, God was ordering their steps and Rose was continually in prayer. As in Early Birds where Betsy’s prayers were answered when she wanted Ben to retire from his job and see the world traveling in an RV, in Southbound Birds God puts it in Betsy's heart to write a book about the cross country journey. The book was ironically inspired by Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again.

As I read Southbound Birds, just as in reading Early Birds, the focus is on our faith and hearing the voice of God. Prayer is the order of the day. In all things we should pray before we eat, go shopping, or go to the store. Our prayers guide us, keep us focused and speak for us in our relationship with God. Prayer does work. Even though Southbound Birds is primarily about six early birds traveling across country, the essence is all about our salvation. To bring the message home, you are invited to the Call of Salvation. If you are not a believer, Janetta Fudge Messmer takes you through the steps in accepting the Lord Jesus Christ into your life and suggests what you should consider next.