“Joe Peas” by Sam Newsome

Joe Peas

Sam Newsome
Lulu Publishing Services (2016)
ISBN Number:  978-1483448251
Reviewed by Terri Stepek for Reader Views (09/2022)

Enigmatic and diminutive Joe Peas doesn’t attract a lot of attention. Unless he opens his mouth to speak. It’s not just that unmistakable Italian accent, but the humor and wisdom that seems to simply flow from him. No one knows much about Joe, but the stories he bothers to share with others are memorable, often outrageous, and generally profound. What’s the deal with Joe Peas and his silly name?

Joe Peas, has lived an extraordinary life, but no one really knows that. He’s lived in the U.S. since shortly after WWII, but rarely stayed in one place for long and never spoke of his past. Now painting houses for a living, his path unexpectedly crosses that of Dr. James King, one of the few physicians in town. Neither man realizes the impact this relationship will have on their lives or the lives of many others in the community.

Falling into “Joe Peas” by Dr. Sam Newsome reminds me of the Mitford tales by Jan Karon. That outrageously popular series featured genuine characters that felt “normal” and natural in a small fictional town. “Joe Peas” takes us to the small town of King’s Mill, North Carolina, where life more resembles the simpler times of a bygone era; a time when children rode their bikes through the neighborhood and people had genuine respect for each other.

This is not your average tale. If the pace of a mystery read could be considered a marathon, and the pace of an action novel could be considered a sprint, the pace of this gentle read could be seen as a relaxed walk in the countryside. Its natural flow is that rare quality of slowing down to enjoy the scenery; a reminder that it’s not so much the destination as it is the journey itself. In our over-scheduled, hyper-paced, challenging society, this is a nice reminder that there’s more to life than being in a hurry. To borrow a term from last century, there’s no “rat race” in King’s Mill. Life is simpler, calmer, and more tender.

Many readers will appreciate the short chapters, perfect for those of us who feel the need to read in short bursts. Many readers will also appreciate the sweet and gentle style this novel adopts. The reader won’t find pages filled with adult language or steamy romance here.  What they will find is a wealth of enchanting personalities within a charming read.

I heartily recommend “Joe Peas” by Dr. Sam Newsome for those who enjoy a more pedantic pace to their stories; readers who appreciate a novel rich with charismatic characters in a sweet, heart-warming tale. This story of individuality, triumph through adversity, and recognizing the value of those who cross your path in life will leave the reader wanting more.

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