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Authors: Meg Moseley

Tags: #Fiction, #Christian, #General, #Romance, #Contemporary Women

When Sparrows Fall

BOOK: When Sparrows Fall
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Praise for
When Sparrows Fall

“Rich, deep, and painfully honest.
When Sparrows Fall
is a lovely work of fiction that portrays a side to American freedoms that is too real to ignore.”

—CINDY WOODSMALL,
New York Times
best-selling author of
When the Soul Mends

“Meg Moseley is the diamond in the haystack you’ve been looking for. She’s a rising star who will have a permanent place on my keeper shelf. In her remarkable debut novel,
When Sparrows Fall
, Moseley spins a tale of depth, poignancy, and humor. I savored every page and after I turned the last, I simply sat for a while, basking in the aftermath of a story well told.”

—Deanne Gist, author of
Maid to Match
and
A Bride Most Begrudging

“Meg Moseley has penned a fantastic debut with
When Sparrows Fall
. It’s a story of darkness and light that she masterfully weaves so tightly, the reader can fully understand just how those seeking God can fall victims to the cult-like practices of false prophets. Still, in this thought-provoking, cautionary tale of extremism, Moseley drops in delightful moments of pure joy. Hers is a fresh new voice that readers—like me—should welcome with open arms.”

—ALLISON PITTMAN, author of
Lilies in Moonlight

“With her debut
When Sparrows Fall
, Meg Moseley writes with passion and daring about a young woman’s fight for truth and spiritual freedom, providing a brave, new voice in Christian fiction.”

—RIVER JORDAN, author of
The Miracle of Mercy Land
and
Saints in Limbo

“Meg Moseley writes with a deft hand, bringing a deep sense of humanity to her struggling, sometimes haunted characters.
When Sparrows Fall
packs plenty of surprises, not the least of which is the way grace can break out in the most unexpected places and the hardest of hearts.”

—J. MARK BERTRAND, author of
Back on Murder

WHEN SPARROWS FALL
PUBLISHED BY MULTNOMAH BOOKS
12265 Oracle Boulevard, Suite 200
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921

Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible®. © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission. (
www.Lockman.org
); and from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The characters and events in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is coincidental.

Copyright © 2011 by Meg Moseley

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Published in the United States by WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown
Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc., New York.

MULTNOMAH and its mountain colophon are registered trademarks of Random House Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Moseley, Meg.

   When sparrows fall / Meg Moseley. — 1st ed.
      p. cm.
   eISBN: 978-1-60142-356-6
1. Widows—Fiction. I. Title.
   PS3613.O77876W47 2011
   813′.6—dc22
                                                               2010051192

v3.1

To my husband, whose love shelters my dreams
.
In memory of my father and his mother
,
who gave me the dream of writing
.

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-one

Chapter Thirty-two

Readers Guide

Acknowledgments

About the Author

one

I
f running late showed a streak of rebellion, Miranda Hanford was already in trouble. Pulling her van to the side of the narrow road, she tallied the other vehicles lined up on the shoulder. She wasn’t the last to arrive at Mason’s emergency meeting. She could steal a moment with Jezebel.

She picked up her camera and climbed out. Working quickly in the cold, she framed the last sliver of sun, as red as a forest fire above the pine-stubbled peaks. In the foreground, a maple sapling curled its bare limbs around the sunset, unwilling to let go—like sweet, stubborn Martha at bedtime, refusing to believe the day was over.

Miranda clicked the shutter. Before the sun abandoned the Blue Ridge to the night, she nailed five promising shots. She tucked the camera into its case and locked it in the van. An old lady who’d seen more of the world than her owner ever would, Jezebel deserved tender care.

Holding her cape closed, Miranda hurried up the long, steep driveway. Mason had called only the single women for this meeting. Six who hadn’t married yet and two widows.

She hated that word. Widows were supposed to be meek, gray things with grandchildren and arthritis.

Around the last bend of the driveway, the lights of the house shone their welcome. Snow flurries swirled like silver glitter as she ran up the steps to the porch.

She knocked lightly and joined the women in the living room. They’d congregated in a semicircle of folding chairs near the feeble warmth of the fireplace, their hands clasped in their laps and their voices subdued. Like the others, Miranda left her cape on, but a draft crept under her skirt and up her legs like icy fingers. She sat beside Lenore Schwartz, the other widow.

“Where’s Nicole?” someone asked.

No one knew. Abigail too was missing, her absence making the room colder still. If Mason’s wife had been home, she would have been dispensing hugs and peppermint tea.

The ladies hushed when their pastor strode into the room. Mason crossed to the hearth and picked up the poker. He shoved the logs into compliance, making sparks fly.

Amid the smell of smoke and ashes, he hung up the poker. He cut a handsome figure, his temples barely touched with gray and his face remarkably unlined for his fifty-some years.

“Ladies, thank you for coming on such short notice. I want to share what I announced at the men’s meeting last night.” He paused, surveying the semicircle like a watchful shepherd inspecting his lambs.

One of the flawed lambs, Miranda shifted in her chair. It squeaked in the silence.

“I have a word from the Lord.” Again, Mason took a moment to study the women. “I am to move from Slades Creek.”

Mason leaving town? Miranda’s heart made an unexpected leap, but Lenore bleated in distress and twisted her age-spotted hands together.

“We’re moving to North Carolina,” he said, “to a beautiful little town
called McCabe. Where people take care of themselves and each other. Where the government stays out of people’s business.”

Miranda fidgeted again, and her chair betrayed her restlessness with another creak. If the government didn’t stay out of people’s business in Georgia, it wasn’t likely to be much better in North Carolina.

“If it’s the Lord’s will, it’s the Lord’s will,” Lenore said, “but I don’t know how we’ll get along without you and Abigail. We’ll miss you terribly.”

“No, you won’t.” Mason smiled. “You’re coming with us. All of you. It’s a new beginning for the whole church. There are jobs in McCabe. Inexpensive housing too, and clean air and water. It’s practically paradise.”

A wave of excited whispers rustled through the room, but defiance woke within Miranda and prowled like an angry cat. She couldn’t leave Slades Creek. She wouldn’t.

“I’ve already put our house on the market,” Mason said, “and the other men will follow suit as soon as they can.” He nodded at Lenore, then Miranda, the only single women in the church who owned homes. “I’ll be glad to help you start the process.”

Some of the men might have argued, but these women without men didn’t. They embraced their marching orders with joy.

All but Miranda. She saw an escape route.

Yet, as Mason answered questions with a twinkle of amusement in his eyes, she felt a pang of loss. The church had become her family. She would miss the women, especially Abigail. Friends, secret-sharers, burden-bearers, these women were the sisters Miranda had never had. The mother she’d lost to an Ohio jail.

Once the discussion had played itself out, she spoke, veiling her agitation with a downcast gaze and a respectful tone. “I’ll miss everyone—very much—but Carl wouldn’t have wanted me to move.”

The room hushed to a shocked stillness, punctuated by the snapping and hissing of the fire.

“I only want to honor his wishes,” she added. “He always said we should hang on to the land, no matter what. For the children’s sake. He said it’s as good as money in the bank.”

Mason’s silver blue eyes flashed a warning. “We’ll discuss it later, Miranda.”

She studied the blunt toes of her sturdy brown shoes. Now she’d reinforced her status as a troublemaker.

But so what? Her pastor was leaving town. And soon.

She frowned. Why the rush? Well, Mason and Abigail could hurry. They had no family. No children to uproot from their home or leave behind.

Miranda looked up, startled, when a paper appeared before her, in Mason’s hands. She took it, and he gave one to Lenore too.

“A checklist to help expedite the process,” he said. “Weed out, fix up, sell. It’s almost spring. The perfect time to attract buyers.”

The photocopied list was written in Mason’s neat, square printing. With bullet points. With tips for increasing the value of a home. With phone numbers of handymen, painters, and real estate companies. He’d even included the donation drop-off hours for the local thrift store.

He dismissed the meeting. Each woman folded her chair and leaned it against the wall beside the piano. Abigail’s living room returned to normal except for her absence.

“Somebody needs to tell Nicole,” Lenore said. “I wonder why she never showed up. And where’s Abigail?”

Mason laughed and opened the front door, admitting a gust of cold. “Why should my wife attend a meeting of single ladies?”

Because she’d attended every other women’s meeting, Miranda thought, wondering if Abigail’s absence was related to Nicole’s.

“Well, tell her we missed her.” Lenore turned to Miranda. “You’ll find another nice piece of property, honey. You’ll find a new husband too. You’re so young.” Lenore seized her oversized handbag in one hand and her cane in the other and led the charge to the front door. “All you pretty young things, you’ll find husbands there.”

Miranda hung back as the chattering pack traipsed onto the porch, exchanging their good-nights. When Mason closed the door on the cold and faced her, she’d never felt so much like an ungrateful and obstinate child.

“Miranda, Miranda,” he said with a heavy sigh. “I hope you aren’t serious about staying behind.”

BOOK: When Sparrows Fall
3.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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