The eldest of ten children on a dirt-poor farm, Becky trudges through life as a full-time babysitter, trying to avoid her father’s periodic violent rages. When the family’s barn burns down, her father lays the blame on Becky, and her own mother tells her to run for it. Run she does, hopping into an empty freight car. There, in a duffel bag, Becky finds an abandoned baby girl, only hours old. After years of tending to her siblings, sixteen-year-old Becky knows just what a baby needs. This baby needs a mother. With no mother around, Becky decides, at least temporarily, this baby needs her. When Becky hops off the train in a small Georgia town, it’s with baby “Georgia” in her arms. When she meets Rosie, an eccentric thrift-shop owner, who comes to value and love Becky as no one ever has, Becky rashly claims the baby as her own. Not everyone in town is as welcoming as Rosie, though. Many suspect Becky and her baby are not what they seem. Among the doubters is a beautiful, reclusive woman with her own terrible loss and a long history with Rosie. As Becky’s life becomes entangled with the lives of the people in town, including a handsome boy who suspects Becky is hiding something from her past, she finds her secrets more difficult to keep. Becky should grab the baby and run, but her newfound home and job with Rosie have given Becky the family she’s never known. Despite her guilt over leaving her mother alone, she is happy for the first time. But it’s a happiness not meant to last. When the truth comes out, Becky has the biggest decision of her life to make. Should she run away again? Should she stay–and fight? Or lie? What does the future hold for Becky and Georgia? Providence proves that home is where you find it, love is an active verb, and family is more than just a word. (From Goodreads.com)

Bubby: I loved this book. Loved it. Everything about it is just right. It’s nice and clean, it’s beautifully written and it has the best characters I’ve read about in a long time. I agonized with Becky over her choices and her horrible family. I rejoiced with her when Rosie took her in and made her a new family. I blushed with her when it became obvious that John had feelings for her. There are not enough good things I can say about Providence.

Sissy: Bubby and I read a lot of books for this blog and we don’t always agree about whether or not we should review them or even whether or not we liked them. I am usually right about all books and Bubby is weird and stubborn but every once in a while when we compare notes there is a book that is a standout “bam, nailed it!”. This was the case with Providence. Author Lisa Colozza Cocca is obviously a gifted storyteller and crafter of characters. This is her debut novel (she usually writes school and library materials) and she definitely has the chops to write more. I hope she has a long and proliferate novel-writing career.

Bubby: I tell you, this novel was so good that I am tempted to go out and buy her textbook “Reconstruction and the Aftermath of the Civil War” and I don’t even really like history! I was truly sad when Becky’s story ended. I want to go have dinner with Becky and the baby and Rosie and John all the other fabulous characters that I grew so fond of. Even the crotchety old guy who owned the bike store across the street from Rosie’s shop, Secondhand Rose. I hope that there are very few actual people on this planet like Becky’s father. He deserves to be hogtied and horsewhipped. And whoever left that baby on the train? I have words for them, too, but they are not polite for mixed company, so I will restrain myself. The contrast between the people who had a familial obligation to love and care for Becky and Georgia and the people who actually did love and care for them, with no obligation whatsoever, is striking. It’s a master class on compassion and acceptance.

Sissy: Becky came from such a hard situation and jumped right into what could have been a minefield of disaster. Cocca could have gone all dark and literati and made a tragedy at every turn. In fact I was anxious about what could happen but Cocca makes the story very happy and readable for the anxiety-stricken reader and leaves just enough bumps in the road to make it real. The real message of Providence is hope. With the right mix of people and in the right circumstances, hope blossoms. I think that’s why I loved this so much. The story is unique. The characters are believable. And the takeaway is happiness and hope.

Bubby: “I believe that children are our future. Treat them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty…”

Sissy: Stop that right now or I will barf.

Bubby: I just felt that we needed a musical interlude there. I was moved. I give Providence 5 big fat homemade pie bubbles. Doesn’t get any better than this.

Sissy: Even though Bubby rudely made fun of my sentiment, I will also give Providence 5 bubbles.

Click here to buy Providence at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2014

We received a copy of Providence from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.