Seedling--The Youngest Years

Seedling--The Youngest Years
As an editor for a book review site, complimentary copies of books are sent in to be reviewed. I approach each book with an open mind and, as I read it, I try to imagine if its subject matter would have any limitations for an audience segment. Having received an email one day asking if I would be interested in receiving a complimentary copy of a new book that told the story of an evangelist who was now in her seventies and had been known for her song and charitable works, I, of course, accepted. I gave my standard response that the book would be fairly judged and the review—good or bad—would be written. My curiosity was piqued. I could not imagine who this woman might be, but I imagined her story would be interesting. It would be refreshing to read a story of an old-time evangelist, especially that of a woman. Yet, from previous reviews, I knew that autobiographical stories were not widely popular. It was not until the book arrived, that I discovered the requestor was one of the authors and the story was that of her mother.

The book, Seedling: The Youngest Years by Jessica Janna and April Alisa Marquette is billed as one of six purse-sized books with a seventh—a full-length novel—to tie the stories together. Just less than one hundred pages, Seedling read as though you were sitting on a porch, in a rocker, beside Jessica Janna with a glass of lemonade. As you enjoy the breeze and soak-up nature, Jessica regales you with tales and lessons learned from her youth.

Providing insight into what it was like to work in the cotton fields, how scary it was to wake up and find a rat in your bedroom (I can relate to that one), the bravery of her mother’s decision to leave a physically abusive husband in 1940s America, growing up poor, attempted rape, and several other topics. Each chapter provides quirky little quotes and sayings. One of the biggest lessons in this first book reminds me of a saying a good friend always said, “God don’t like ugly”. The book deals with the ugliness of actions and attitudes and trusting in God through it all. Nicely summarized in the title, seedlings refers to the formative years in young Jessica’s life. It also refers to the words of wisdom imparted to her by her mother, Ms Cleo. Well narrated, you can almost feel Jessica pat your arm as she says “Oh, I forgot to tell you,” or “Oh, I need to let you know”. Out of selfishness, the only thing I did not care for was its brevity. Not one for delayed gratification, I wish I could read more of the story now.

As I mentioned earlier, I was unaware that the book was penned by the person who emailed me and also unaware that they were mother and daughter. I was curious about the loving tribute and the passion April had for ensuring her mother’s story be shared with the world. It was at that point that I decided to request an interview. Please check out what she had to say in the accompanying author interview. I’ve since sat and wondered who has influenced me? Who in your life deserves such accolades?

To order a copy of the book, visit the author's website at

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Author Interview

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