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In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adoptive family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival into their lives. Though her father supports Mindy's desire to meet her fa In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adoptive family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival into their lives. Though her father supports Mindy's desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he'll lose the daughter he's poured his heart into. Mindy's mother undergoes the emotional roller coaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy's sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family--but also speak of the beauty of overcoming. Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.


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In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adoptive family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival into their lives. Though her father supports Mindy's desire to meet her fa In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adoptive family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival into their lives. Though her father supports Mindy's desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he'll lose the daughter he's poured his heart into. Mindy's mother undergoes the emotional roller coaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy's sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family--but also speak of the beauty of overcoming. Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

30 review for The Nature of Small Birds

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    To open a book by Susie Finkbeiner is to accept an invitation to become part of a family you’ll never forget, a family you’ll miss once the last chapter ends. In The Nature of Small Birds, the characters are so well-drawn you’ll forget you’re reading fiction and feel as though you’re watching real life unfold with all of its wonder and heartache, its grasping and letting go. With subtlety and elegance, Finkbeiner has wrapped this story in layers of meaning. At its core is a tale of belonging, gr To open a book by Susie Finkbeiner is to accept an invitation to become part of a family you’ll never forget, a family you’ll miss once the last chapter ends. In The Nature of Small Birds, the characters are so well-drawn you’ll forget you’re reading fiction and feel as though you’re watching real life unfold with all of its wonder and heartache, its grasping and letting go. With subtlety and elegance, Finkbeiner has wrapped this story in layers of meaning. At its core is a tale of belonging, growth, and of love that gives wings to fly.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susie Finkbeiner

    I can't wait for you all to read this one! I can't wait for you all to read this one!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    1975, 1988 & 2013-2014 Michigan Lovely novel told in the voices of three characters: Bruce (2013-2014), Sonny (1988) and Linda (1975). Each of them has a slightly different perspective about their family and the adoption of Pham Quyen Minh (Mindy) from Vietnam. I especially adored the relationship between big sister Sonny and Mindy and grandfather Ivan and Mindy. As come to be expected by this talented author, she does a wonderful job of bringing the time period to life in an engaging story line.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Chiavaroli

    Susie Finkbeiner never disappoints! Another amazing read. From endorsement: The Nature of Small Birds is a beautiful story about the intricacies of family and the power of love. With a masterful pen, Susie Finkbeiner peels back layers of everyday life to give readers a glimpse of the human heart and what is of ultimate importance. Her authentic characters offer the sacred gift of empathy, compassion, and hope. I didn’t want to leave their company! Most definitely a must-read novel.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emilee

    Finkbeiner has a true talent! Her books pull the reader into the settings. This one has three time periods but it’s the same family just at different times in their lives. Beautifully done!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn Krispense

    Honestly, this book was...a huge letdown. I was soooo excited for this new release by a recent favorite author. But, sadly, it fell completely short of my expectations. I've read books before with dual timelines, but a triple timeline was completely new to me. In this case, it definitely wasn't a bad thing; it was easy to keep up with, and even though the timelines were from different points of view, the cast of characters remained the same, so I wasn't overrun with names to remember. That was re Honestly, this book was...a huge letdown. I was soooo excited for this new release by a recent favorite author. But, sadly, it fell completely short of my expectations. I've read books before with dual timelines, but a triple timeline was completely new to me. In this case, it definitely wasn't a bad thing; it was easy to keep up with, and even though the timelines were from different points of view, the cast of characters remained the same, so I wasn't overrun with names to remember. That was really helpful. 1975. Linda doesn't get along with her mother-in-law, and no one has the guts to stand up to the cantankerous matriarch. Also the year that they adopt an adorable little child. 1988. Sonny is in her late teens, about to graduate high school, needing a new job. 2013. Bruce is enjoying his grandpa life, and wishes everyone could just get along. Three different people. One family. Reading the story, I was pulled in to the lives of the characters, but I wasn't really connecting, y'know? Like, sure, I liked reading about their lives and stuff, but eventually I had to force myself to finish the book. And I couldn't figure out why...until I realized three things: This book has almost no plot. This book has no depth of character. And this book felt like a waste of time once I finished. *hides* *Sigh* Maybe I'm just tired as I write this, but I do know that this book was a major disappointment. I kept waiting for the characters to learn something, to mature, to actually do something worth noting...but they didn't. They were shallow, and it felt like I could've read a book about their neighbor down the road and not even miss them for as emotionally invested as I got in the story. The plot carried the characters—not the other way around—and that, people, does not make for a story that I'll enjoy. What did I like about the book? Well...I liked Ivan. I liked the setting. I liked the pop culture references (except that the people in this historical novel went to see Frozen in the theater and I feel so old). I appreciated the message, about how we're made to spread our wings and fly, but it just...fell flat. All in all, not a book that I'll be rereading. But it was cool to learn some historical facts about the Vietnam war that I hadn't known before. ;) *I received a copy of this book from the publisher for promotional purposes. All thoughts are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    “It’s the nature of small birds to sing their hearts out. And it’s the nature of God to hear them.” A heartwarming story of a girl who was adopted from Vietnam during Babylift in 1975 and the effect it had on her adoptive family. It is told from three voices : Dad Bruce in 2013, Mom Linda in 1975 and Sister Sonny in 1988. I was amazed by the ability of the author to capture three different characters and time periods. Having been a teen in the late 60s, this story was very nostalgic. My husband a “It’s the nature of small birds to sing their hearts out. And it’s the nature of God to hear them.” A heartwarming story of a girl who was adopted from Vietnam during Babylift in 1975 and the effect it had on her adoptive family. It is told from three voices : Dad Bruce in 2013, Mom Linda in 1975 and Sister Sonny in 1988. I was amazed by the ability of the author to capture three different characters and time periods. Having been a teen in the late 60s, this story was very nostalgic. My husband and I lived on Guam for four years, leaving in 1975 just before the evacuation of Vietnam. So memories abound. This is a story of unexpected love and solidity of family. The author has a knack for bringing in the flavor of the eras. She does a great job of getting in the heads of the characters and portraying their foibles and concerns. I most identify with the father, Bruce, maybe because I am around his age. Bruce: “I am a fortunate man who has witnessed God’s new mercies coming whether I deserve them or not... Mixed in with the good and bad is a whole lot of stuff that was just normal everyday living...Rain or sun, storms or calm; nature is good, full of glimmers of God’s glory.” He is shown as having wisdom and having grown in his faith. He is the backbone of the family. The author delights us with word pictures: “The air is crisp, but not biting. The sun is bright but not blinding. And the busiest crowds in the woods are of the feathered variety.” This is a stunning book to be savored and learned from, likening small birds to our children. *A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Revell through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Cox

    This book wasn’t what I was expecting. At all. Yet, it was still beautiful and deep and touched every emotion inside of me. When I first heard about this book, I was thrilled that I had finally found a Vietnam story. Only, it kind of isn’t. It touches on the Vietnam War, but it doesn’t show the war itself. In fact, it never actually steps one foot into that country. That was disappointing. However, I’m a sucker for an emotional adoption story, so this little birdie wriggled its way into my heart onc This book wasn’t what I was expecting. At all. Yet, it was still beautiful and deep and touched every emotion inside of me. When I first heard about this book, I was thrilled that I had finally found a Vietnam story. Only, it kind of isn’t. It touches on the Vietnam War, but it doesn’t show the war itself. In fact, it never actually steps one foot into that country. That was disappointing. However, I’m a sucker for an emotional adoption story, so this little birdie wriggled its way into my heart once I found my rhythm with the three time periods, all of which were written in first person. That took some getting used to, but I’m glad I stuck with it. The story was so amazing. Little Minh was so adorable! I couldn’t get enough of her, truly. The emotional punches and tension-filled adoption story reminded me so much of Susan Schoenberger’s A Watershed Year, a favorite book of mine that I’ve read at least three times already. If you love that one, you’re going to absolutely want to find a copy of this one… and vice versa. I’m still not sure what I think of the ending of each of the three storylines. There was resolution in some ways, but so much was left open… but I think it was in a good way. I need to mull it over more and possibly give it another read or two before I fully make up my mind. Y’all, tears were shed at multiple points during this story, especially in the back third. Have tissues handy if you’re a weeper like me! I love it when a book gets in my heart so much that I feel personally invested to the point of waterworks. It’s a beautiful moment, to cry over an exquisite yet heart-wrenching scene. May I just say, I loved the Froot Loops lady. Goodness, but I wanted to jump up and give her a one-person standing ovation. Between Linda and her, that bully stood no chance of having the final say-so. I love it when characters stand up to bullies and let them know it’s not okay to treat people like that. I was glad to see that a random stranger was willing to step into the fray for her fellow human being. Speaking of bullies, it was hard for me to like Hilda in the beginning. I understood her pain and where she was coming from, but it was still so hard to read her rudeness and hate. At about the halfway point, I realized that I actually was appreciating her scenes a little more. I couldn’t really say I ever liked her, but she did grow on me to the point where I got emotional over certain parts of her journey. She had a pretty good arc, even though heart changes weren’t exactly a big part of it. I would have liked to see more growth in her, but the way her story ended up was completely realistic. I can’t imagine it any other way unless she learned more forgiveness, compassion, and acceptance along the way. And maybe she did in her own way. She wasn’t exactly a touchy-feely type that would outwardly express her feelings much, so at times she was a tough one to get a good read on. One moment did dock a star from my rating. It took no more than a half page, but, for me, that was a half-page too long. A curse word was used right on the page. Not only that, but it was belabored when two different characters made a big deal out of it: “Never in my life had I heard an old lady swear” from one and “seemingly unfazed by the curse word” by the other. I was disappointed in this whole moment. It served no purpose for the overall story arc and, in fact, interrupted a very important scene in the plot. It felt very out of place for multiple reasons. Just a quick note about the cover: While I adore the simplicity of the cover as well as the beautiful sparrow perched on a branch, that blurry title font has got to go. It nearly gave me vertigo every time I looked at it. The color scheme was beautiful, though. I really cherish book covers with such eye-pleasing colors and images as this one has. Still, this was a really good book that I will likely read again. A solid four stars, for sure. Content: replacement expletives, replacement profanity, tobacco, drugs inferred once, alcohol, expletive, gambling (included a teenager)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rosalyn

    Any reader of this novel will find themselves ending the book with the feeling of having made new friends... I was privileged to read an arc kindle version of this book. My biggest complaint...I was completely unaware I was getting close to the end of the book until I reached the last page. Say what??! I need more! :) Before I get started though, I would like to comment about the cover. Sometimes the cover and/or the title is what really puts a book on my MUST READ list. Well, not so for this book. Any reader of this novel will find themselves ending the book with the feeling of having made new friends... I was privileged to read an arc kindle version of this book. My biggest complaint...I was completely unaware I was getting close to the end of the book until I reached the last page. Say what??! I need more! :) Before I get started though, I would like to comment about the cover. Sometimes the cover and/or the title is what really puts a book on my MUST READ list. Well, not so for this book. I’m not necessarily a bird lover, so seeing the cover just wouldn’t have really drawn me to it. No, what really captivated me and made me know it was, in fact, a MUST READ is seeing Susie Finkbeiner’s name on the cover. I’ve read two others of her novels, All Manner of Things, and Stories That Bind Us, and both of those are also really worth your while, and stories that I really, really loved. Susie’s storytelling voice is one that absolutely hits home with me, bringing stories to life in ways that plant them firmly in my brain, in my heart, where they’ll stay and linger for a very long time. This is the story of Mindy and her family. Susie Finkbeiner has brought to life in an amazing way the story of the Babylift episode...which I had never even heard of before reading about this book. Mindy was adopted from Vietnam as a young girl, and has never really felt like she belonged. This book goes between three time periods, and I’d like to mention just a bit about each of these. 1975 – this is told mostly from Linda (the Mom’s) perspective. I love it when Ms. Finkbeiner tells about the 70s. She does an exceptional job at bringing those tumultuous years to life. The backdrop of the Vietnam war, the many difficulties because of this. Linda is a young married woman, she has one daughter, Sonny, and longs for more children. This is the year of Minh's (also known as Mindy) adoption. Then there’s 1988, and this is told mostly from Sonny’s (the oldest sister) viewpoint. Looking through the lenses of a teen in the 80s, a young girl ready to head off for college. This is Mindy during her teen years. Finally, there is 2013, which is narrated mostly through Bruce’s (the Dad’s) viewpoint. In addition to seeing things through a male perspective, it also gives the ability to see things with hindsight, and give more clarity as to the whys and wherefores of some things that happened earlier. This is the time period when Mindy as an adult, and she decides to look for her birth family. The characters are what really makes this book outstanding. As the reader, we are treated to various viewpoints, and get to peek into the minds of each one of Mindy's family members. Dealing with adoption issues, family, belonging, and some racial discrimination, this book truly is one that will tug on your heart-strings and linger in your mind for quite awhile. Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie

    This is a truly lovely book about a young Vietnamese girl adopted by a US family during Operation Babylift in 1975. This accomplished author delicately explores the joys and terrors of adopting a child from another country, the intricacies of family differences as far as Vietnam War was concerned and the power of love. Ms. Finkbeiner knows how to pluck a reader's heartstrings and I found this to be quite an emotional read. The book is told by three separate narrators during three separate time f This is a truly lovely book about a young Vietnamese girl adopted by a US family during Operation Babylift in 1975. This accomplished author delicately explores the joys and terrors of adopting a child from another country, the intricacies of family differences as far as Vietnam War was concerned and the power of love. Ms. Finkbeiner knows how to pluck a reader's heartstrings and I found this to be quite an emotional read. The book is told by three separate narrators during three separate time frames. Recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Walker

    I saw a meme recently that said "I finished it by accident! I was tricked! The last ten pages were acknowledgements and ads." I felt this way after finishing Susie Finkbeiner's "The Nature of Small Birds". It was so good! As a 2X International Adoptive Mama, she nailed the experience from every perspective. I've gone through, or watched members of my family during something similar to almost every scene of this book. This book, at its core, brings the reader through the love of family. I felt li I saw a meme recently that said "I finished it by accident! I was tricked! The last ten pages were acknowledgements and ads." I felt this way after finishing Susie Finkbeiner's "The Nature of Small Birds". It was so good! As a 2X International Adoptive Mama, she nailed the experience from every perspective. I've gone through, or watched members of my family during something similar to almost every scene of this book. This book, at its core, brings the reader through the love of family. I felt like I knew the characters and didn't want to let them go. I can't speak highly enough of this book! Bravo, friend! Great job. And I finished it by accident! I was tricked!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    I am in awe at how this author creates heart-felt stories with believable, likeable (and not so likeable) characters. This author delicately unfolds a beautifully touching story of a time when things did not make sense as the Vietnam War was raging and many orphaned children were left behind. Bruce and Linda get a call, one they thought would tell them their little son was on his way, but this call was an unexpected one. Could they welcome an older child into their home? The answer was yes. But n I am in awe at how this author creates heart-felt stories with believable, likeable (and not so likeable) characters. This author delicately unfolds a beautifully touching story of a time when things did not make sense as the Vietnam War was raging and many orphaned children were left behind. Bruce and Linda get a call, one they thought would tell them their little son was on his way, but this call was an unexpected one. Could they welcome an older child into their home? The answer was yes. But nothing prepared them for the love they would have for this little girl. She turns their lives and hearts inside out, with unanticipated joy and strong surprising resentment from family and friends who see her as a threat, not a precious gift. The author did an incredible job of showing the difficulties this family faced in caring for this little one. For example, there was the language barrier, how to connect with a 4-year-old who found herself in a foreign land and did not speak the language. As they learned to relate to Mindy and her to them, love grew in their hearts and Mindy became part of their family. The author takes her time in having the reader experience Mindy’s home life from three people’s points of view and through different timelines. One is how Bruce, the father felt about things, Linda his wife felt about nurturing their children Sonny and Mindy. Then the other POV is through 6-year-old Sonny when she gets older and talks about her relationship with Mindy and how they become true sisters and friends. Writing about the Vietnam era is overwhelming, but this author does it well through her characters as she reveals deep wounds, fears, and troubles during that era. I wondered about the cover of this book, but after reading the story I realize all the bird references made in this novel and how the girls and their family really are fascinated by birds. Don’t judge a book by its cover. This is a thought-provoking book that tackles tough issues with love and respect. I like how this author helps readers understand Operation Babylift through one family's journey of love, forgiveness and hope as they do their best to love the precious gift they had been given along with the daughter they gave birth to. This makes for a memorable read and one that would work for your next book club pick. If you have not read a book by this author, treat yourself to this one. Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! The Book Club Network blog www.bookfun.org

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eva Marie Everson

    I feel as if I have lived a lifetime with the Matthews family. I felt as I read within the pages of the multiple timelines that I understood the family dynamics as they slowly unfolded. Slowly but not boring at all! I would think that younger readers would have some difficulty understanding a few of the plot points: 1. The Vietnam War was difficult for all involved. Some men and women fought. Some avoided the fight. Some protested. Some died. Some returned broken. A few returned stronger than bef I feel as if I have lived a lifetime with the Matthews family. I felt as I read within the pages of the multiple timelines that I understood the family dynamics as they slowly unfolded. Slowly but not boring at all! I would think that younger readers would have some difficulty understanding a few of the plot points: 1. The Vietnam War was difficult for all involved. Some men and women fought. Some avoided the fight. Some protested. Some died. Some returned broken. A few returned stronger than before. But only a few. And some, young and innocent and without blame, came to America terrified. Not all of them were safe. Not all of them were saved. 2. Families are broken with members are killed. Dying is one thing. But being killed is another. 3. The Vietnam War divided families, much like what we are seeing today. Sometimes, all it takes is a small child to help heal the wounds . . . but not all the wounds heal. 4. Our preconceived notions as young adults often change as we mature. See life from other points of view. Understand that our hurts do not negate another's hurts. 5. Baby birds leave the nest. They fly and they soar. Training them to do so is Mama Bird and Papa Bird's responsibility. But that doesn't mean they like it when their babies leave the nest. 6. Loving a child you didn't carry in your womb or that doesn't carry your DNA can be the scariest thing of all. 7. There is a sacrificial love--to hand your child over to a stranger because that is better for the child than to stay where he or she is--that I wish I could say I could give. But I seriously don't know how it is done. My only "complaint," and that's not much of one because honestly I wanted this story to NEVER end, is that 1) we don't know the dynamics of what happened between Mindy and Eric. Only that he wasn't good for her, and 2) I felt like something was "up" with the man who came to took Mindy's fingerprints but never returned. I wanted a bit more in those two areas. But otherwise, I praise this book and Susie Finkbeiner's ability to tell a story to the moon and back!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    3.5 stars "Turns out that small birds are going to fly whether we like it or not. It's no different for our kids." It's all about letting go, whether through life or death, we all experience the challenge of loving and letting go. It was no different for Bruce and Linda, whose decision to bring a small young "bird" into their home changed their life forever. Mindy had been transported to the United States as part of an historic "baby-lift" out of war torn Saigon. Her fragile psyche was evident, to 3.5 stars "Turns out that small birds are going to fly whether we like it or not. It's no different for our kids." It's all about letting go, whether through life or death, we all experience the challenge of loving and letting go. It was no different for Bruce and Linda, whose decision to bring a small young "bird" into their home changed their life forever. Mindy had been transported to the United States as part of an historic "baby-lift" out of war torn Saigon. Her fragile psyche was evident, totally opposite from her outgoing older sister Sonny, prompting her new family to rally around her as a protective shield. But sadly, not everyone was a fan. At least not at first, maybe never. Through-out the pages of this inspiring story, the roles of mother, father, sisters, are beautifully inspected under the microscope of good intentions, and yet there's always the notion that at some point, the little bird will have to fly on her own. . . . . . "We won't be afraid. We will trust in you" . . . the prayer every parent has reason to pray. "It's the nature of small birds to sing their hearts out. And it's the nature of God to hear them." In spite of the varying voices and timelines, this was quite a pleasant book to read. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Smucker

    Susie's characters come alive yet again in this beautiful exploration of family. Highly recommend. Susie's characters come alive yet again in this beautiful exploration of family. Highly recommend.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    First off, I'm going to be honest. When I first saw the cover, I thought, why is Ms. Finkbeiner writing about birds? How odd. That's why I passed over the book the first two times. Then I read someone's review, and I decided to try it because I love anything she writes. The way she tells it makes you feel like you are there and can make friends with most of the characters. I'm glad I opened the book. I found that I passed a whole evening! Finkbeiner is a master storyteller for sure, and she has d First off, I'm going to be honest. When I first saw the cover, I thought, why is Ms. Finkbeiner writing about birds? How odd. That's why I passed over the book the first two times. Then I read someone's review, and I decided to try it because I love anything she writes. The way she tells it makes you feel like you are there and can make friends with most of the characters. I'm glad I opened the book. I found that I passed a whole evening! Finkbeiner is a master storyteller for sure, and she has done her research well for this particular story. I simply just couldn't put it down! There were so many wonderful scenes, and it's told by the various characters. I like it this way because we get to know them so much better, yet in others, I do not. Simply put, because they get confusing at times. This book was provided by Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    When I saw the author of this book I knew I was in for a treat, and I was not disappointed! This is a families story, from the beginning, and hanging. We flash from one decade to another and back again, but you won't be lost, and extended family is included. Bruce and Linda are the Dad and Mom, we learn how they met, a few times! We are along as their first daughter is born, Sondra aka Sonny, and then Mindy or Minh, and your going to love the heart warming response this family has to this little g When I saw the author of this book I knew I was in for a treat, and I was not disappointed! This is a families story, from the beginning, and hanging. We flash from one decade to another and back again, but you won't be lost, and extended family is included. Bruce and Linda are the Dad and Mom, we learn how they met, a few times! We are along as their first daughter is born, Sondra aka Sonny, and then Mindy or Minh, and your going to love the heart warming response this family has to this little girl. Mindy came on the baby airlift from Vietnam, a hard time in this country, and some people are not very kind to anyone associated with that War. This is a story that will linger with you long after the last page is turned, and in the end I wanted a longer journey! I received this book through LibraryThing and the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    There's nothing earth shattering about this novel. No unexpected twists, no secrets revealed, no villains. But it's a beautifully written novel about a family, and I found myself completely swept into the story. The novel is told from the perspectives of three family members in three time periods: Linda in 1975, her daughter Sonny in 1988, and her husband Bruce in 2013. All time periods center, at least partially, around their daughter/sister Mindy, who was adopted from Vietnam in 1975. Linda's p There's nothing earth shattering about this novel. No unexpected twists, no secrets revealed, no villains. But it's a beautifully written novel about a family, and I found myself completely swept into the story. The novel is told from the perspectives of three family members in three time periods: Linda in 1975, her daughter Sonny in 1988, and her husband Bruce in 2013. All time periods center, at least partially, around their daughter/sister Mindy, who was adopted from Vietnam in 1975. Linda's portion is the time leading up to and directly after Mindy's placement with the family. Sonny's focuses on her senior year of high school and the summer after graduation - especially her relationships with both Mindy and Linda through that time. And Bruce's portion deals with his parents' declining health, his youngest daughter's wedding, and Mindy's search for information about her past. It's really just a snapshot of a few months during three different periods in the life of a family, and it's so beautifully satisfying. This type of setup means that I closed the last page with a few unanswered questions about each time period, but as I thought about it, I realized that those questions didn't really matter -- what mattered was the sense of calm and satisfaction I felt the entire time I was reading. This is definitely a book worth reading. 4-1/2 stars. Disclosure of material connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Family is a beautiful and wonderful thing. Full of people you love and sometimes don't always like along with plenty of ups and downs. This is a story of a family who adopts a young Vietnamese girl, Mindy. We are carried through three timelines and we get to hear three voices of the family. The father (Bruce), mother (Linda), and older sister (Sonny). We watch as this family grows and changes, because what family stays the same? Going through the different time lines had me reminiscing about my Family is a beautiful and wonderful thing. Full of people you love and sometimes don't always like along with plenty of ups and downs. This is a story of a family who adopts a young Vietnamese girl, Mindy. We are carried through three timelines and we get to hear three voices of the family. The father (Bruce), mother (Linda), and older sister (Sonny). We watch as this family grows and changes, because what family stays the same? Going through the different time lines had me reminiscing about my own life. Always with an author Finkbeiner story, I feel like I have been invited to the inner sanctum of the family. The characters become almost real and I become invested in their story, as they tell me of their hurts and heartbreaks and the prejudices of other family members. And the love. Especially the love for one another and the balance of letting a child go, even if an adult. I was born in 1975, the earliest timeline, so I found it especially captivating to read about this family as they struggle with the loss of an older brother/uncle and then the adoption of a little girl from the country where his life was lost. There was a lot of feeling these characters showed, especially from Grandma. I think this story beautifully captures what a family truly is. I also really enjoyed the different viewpoints of their life and times. They made the story fuller. I was provided a copy of this novel from Revell through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own. https://pausefortales.blogspot.com/20...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This author is another must read for me when she has a book coming out. In fact, I didn't even request it on netgalley because I wanted to buy it and have a copy for myself. After my grandma read it, I finally got a chance to read it. This story is told from the perspective of the three of the characters from three different time periods. It is not all about birds but definitely talks about them at times and the beauty of nature. The main story revolves around little Minh who was part of the Baby This author is another must read for me when she has a book coming out. In fact, I didn't even request it on netgalley because I wanted to buy it and have a copy for myself. After my grandma read it, I finally got a chance to read it. This story is told from the perspective of the three of the characters from three different time periods. It is not all about birds but definitely talks about them at times and the beauty of nature. The main story revolves around little Minh who was part of the Baby Lift program from Viet Nam. I had never heard of this before so this was fascinating for me. International adoption has meant so much to me since I was able to go with my aunt to China when they adopted my cousin. The book left me thinking about the emotions and the stories of each of the characters. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to the author releases her next one!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    It's the nature of small birds to sing their little hearts out. And it's the nature of God to hear them.~from The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner The Nature of Small Birds is a quiet, gentle book, the kind of read that is a comfort and a respite. Susie Finbeiner has created a family that is not always perfect, but is able to love perfectly. It is the story of 'hippie' couple Bruce and Linda and their three daughters Sonny, Mindy, and Holly. Readers meet the couple in 2013, in Bruce's vo It's the nature of small birds to sing their little hearts out. And it's the nature of God to hear them.~from The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner The Nature of Small Birds is a quiet, gentle book, the kind of read that is a comfort and a respite. Susie Finbeiner has created a family that is not always perfect, but is able to love perfectly. It is the story of 'hippie' couple Bruce and Linda and their three daughters Sonny, Mindy, and Holly. Readers meet the couple in 2013, in Bruce's voice, and in 1975 narrated by Linda, and in 1988 through Sonny's eyes. Each narrative voice is distinct. Central to their story is Mindy, who Bruce and Linda adopted through Operation Baby Lift at the end of the Vietnam War. We know what she experienced by her early fearfulness, and we understand the love that surrounded her by her growth and happiness. Over 3,000 Vietnamese babies and children were brought to America. Some were left at orphanages because their family was unable to care for them; the parents never approved their removal. Adopting a Vietnamese child in 1975 created strong reactions in friends and family and even strangers. The pain of losing sons in the war was still raw and visceral. Bruce had lost a brother in the war, and his mother had a difficult time accepting Mindy. Now grown, Mindy is exploring how to find her birth mother in Vietnam, supported by her family. If all I've done with this one life is to be a son, husband, brother, dad, grandpa to these remarkable people, that's good enough for me.~from The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner My favorite voice was Bruce, whose reflections on life, family, and aging are beautiful. I also loved Linda's recollection of early motherhood, so like my own. Sonny's life in 1988, filled with malls and Cyndi Lauper and movies like 'Big', made me recall the world I knew when our son was born. The story is set in a Michigan 'Up North' setting, on the "pinkie knuckle" of Michigan. I received an ARC from the publisher through LibraryThing. My review is fair and unbiased

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Alfveby Crea

    I have been a Susie Finkbeiner fan since I met her! I have several of her books on my to-be-read pile, but The Nature of Small Birds is the first book I've read. I absolutely loved it! What a beautiful, gently-flowing, yet compelling story about family and the adoption of Minh (from Operation Babylift during the Vietnam War), told by three family members in three time periods; 1975, 1988, and 2013. I was drawn into the story and could not put it down. Told with humor, honesty, and heartfelt fami I have been a Susie Finkbeiner fan since I met her! I have several of her books on my to-be-read pile, but The Nature of Small Birds is the first book I've read. I absolutely loved it! What a beautiful, gently-flowing, yet compelling story about family and the adoption of Minh (from Operation Babylift during the Vietnam War), told by three family members in three time periods; 1975, 1988, and 2013. I was drawn into the story and could not put it down. Told with humor, honesty, and heartfelt family dynamics, I came to love this cast of characters. Some of my favorite quotes: "Turns out that small birds are going to fly whether we like it or not. It's no different for our kids." "My mother had the interrogation skills of a hardened FBI agent. Even at 60 something years old, I still got intimidated when she started on a line of questioning." "I'm the first to admit that I've reacted badly more than a couple of times when change came along that I didn't want. But I'm a fortunate man who has witnessed God's new mercies coming every morning whether I deserve them or not. "Rain or sun, storm or calm; nature is good, full of glimmers of God's glory." "That was the time when my faith was shaky at best and I couldn't even pray when I tried. Just hearing the prayers of my father, as simple as they were, studied me. We won't be afraid, "We will trust in you" he'd say every single time, even as his voice shook." I loved reading the different perspectives on this journey of discovery and life from Minh's (Mindy) father Bruce, mother Linda, and sister Sonny. I highly recommend The Nature of Birds!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cafelilybookreviews

    The story in this book is as beautiful as the cover. I love birds so this cover immediately caught my eye. While the author tells this story through different voices and time periods, it flows effortlessly and was easy to follow. I connected deeply with the characters and found myself sad to leave them when I turned the last page. I became completely engrossed with this family, and there were some surprising twist and turns. Prior to reading this, I did not know anything about Operation Babylift The story in this book is as beautiful as the cover. I love birds so this cover immediately caught my eye. While the author tells this story through different voices and time periods, it flows effortlessly and was easy to follow. I connected deeply with the characters and found myself sad to leave them when I turned the last page. I became completely engrossed with this family, and there were some surprising twist and turns. Prior to reading this, I did not know anything about Operation Babylift after the Vietnam war. Over 3300 children were brought over from Vietnam to the United States which had many Americans wondering if this action was justified or simply a political move. The Nature of Small Birds gives readers an inside look at what this period of history might have looked and felt like for those who were involved. This story addresses the birth mothers forced to give up their children and those here welcoming them with open arms. This is one of the best book I've read so far in 2021. I highly recommend it!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    The nature of small birds by Susie Finkbeiner is a well-written and thoughtful time slip story. Mindy, who joined her family through adoption during Operation Baby airlift at the end of the Vietnam war, decides to go back and find her birth family. This beautiful story weaves together three distinct timelines from Mindy's Mom, Dad, and her sister as they reflect on their life with Mindy as a part of their family. The three perspectives give the story richness and depth and flow together seamless The nature of small birds by Susie Finkbeiner is a well-written and thoughtful time slip story. Mindy, who joined her family through adoption during Operation Baby airlift at the end of the Vietnam war, decides to go back and find her birth family. This beautiful story weaves together three distinct timelines from Mindy's Mom, Dad, and her sister as they reflect on their life with Mindy as a part of their family. The three perspectives give the story richness and depth and flow together seamlessly. The descriptive settings for each era are so well written I felt like I was actually in that time period. The story took me on a journey through the themes of the challenges of growing up, the after effects of grief, parenting, building a family through adoption, and loving your extended family through hard places. Highly recommend The Nature of Small Birds. It is exquisitely written! I was given a copy by the publisher and not required to write a review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Rosenblum

    While the summary leads you to believe that this is a story of the Operation Baby Lift out of Vietnam – it is so much more. Told mainly in three different years and narrated by three voices in the same family, it compounded the story to a level where you as a reader obtained a 360 view. The voices are of the mother, father, and oldest sister in a family of three girls. The middle daughter was adopted tangentially from Vietnam. The considerable impact and ripple effect the Vietnam War had on not o While the summary leads you to believe that this is a story of the Operation Baby Lift out of Vietnam – it is so much more. Told mainly in three different years and narrated by three voices in the same family, it compounded the story to a level where you as a reader obtained a 360 view. The voices are of the mother, father, and oldest sister in a family of three girls. The middle daughter was adopted tangentially from Vietnam. The considerable impact and ripple effect the Vietnam War had on not only the people of the country and the US soldiers but extended families is presented with heart. I loved the tie into birds, their nests and families as either mentions in poetry or as comparisons with to the three daughters. It helped make what could have been a very difficult subject a lot easier to comprehend. A minor yet impactful character Mrs. Olds says, “Life requires so much courage out of us, doesn’t it?” All the characters in this book were facing so many things that took a lot of courage just to put one foot in front of the other and go about their normal lives. The Grandmother who lost a son, the Uncle who lost a part of himself, a mother who chose a different path and a daughter who had a path chosen for her. This book is calmly paced and left me with a feeling of contentment not only for the characters lives portrayed inside the book but also for what they could become.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

    This was a wonderful story of former hippies (Linda and Bruce) who adopt a baby from Vietnam as part of Operation Baby Lift. After protesting the war itself and then reading about the children fleeing Saigon on American planes, Linda and Bruce choose to adopt little Minh (Mindy), in spite of the narrow-minded discrimination of Bruce’s mother. Told in three time frames, beginning in 1975, moving to 1988 and then finally to 2013, the story also has multiple narrators. 1975 is the year Bruce and Li This was a wonderful story of former hippies (Linda and Bruce) who adopt a baby from Vietnam as part of Operation Baby Lift. After protesting the war itself and then reading about the children fleeing Saigon on American planes, Linda and Bruce choose to adopt little Minh (Mindy), in spite of the narrow-minded discrimination of Bruce’s mother. Told in three time frames, beginning in 1975, moving to 1988 and then finally to 2013, the story also has multiple narrators. 1975 is the year Bruce and Linda decide to adopt Mindy and change their lives to raise a fearful little girl. 1988 presents more information about Sonny, their biological daughter preparing to leave for college, and her little sister Mindy, a teen at the time. Finally, in 2013, we hear a lot from Bruce and his perspective on what being a successful family looks like. Honestly, I could not choose my favorite POV or time period because all were done so well with such elaborate descriptions of the family and their reactions to events and choices. Mindy grew up without feeling as if she really belonged, so she decided to find her birth mother. Supported by her adoptive family, Mindy faces the past with boldness and grace, ready to embrace and forgive. The tale is one that is timeless in its approach to such themes as adoption, parenting, family relationships and acceptance. The research into the Vietnam era shone through in every page, especially the feelings of many American citizens who had suffered through the atrocities of the war. My emotions ran the whole gamut, from total despair at Mindy’s lack of confidence and fear when she arrived to her new home, to hope for a better future as she learned to “fly alone” and leave the nest, which is the nature of small birds. The characters were so realistic that they stepped out of the pages of the book into my heart, where I am still embracing them today as if they are my own family members. I have loved all of Susie Finkbeiner’s books since the first one, and this one was, in my opinion, the best yet in its portrayal of emotions and its depth of characters, with a multi-layered plot. The vulnerability of the characters and their willingness to press on was what made the book memorable and an excellent choice for an uplifting book to read. Not all parts of the book were uplifting, but the tone definitely was one of positive outcomes, so I applaud the author for her talent in being able to relate to so many different people with so many different feelings about the war in Vietnam. Not everyone lived during the war as I did (I was in college in the 70’s and saw all of the protests although I did not participate), but I can assure others that anyone who reads this book will have an experience of war and its effects on innocence that you will not soon forget. This book is remarkable for its entertainment and educational values. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kimmie

    I first discovered author Susie Finkbeiner when I read "Stories That Bind Us". I loved it so much that I snatched up a copy of "The Nature of Small Birds" as soon as it became available without even reading the blurb, and I'm SO glad I did. This book is every bit as amazing, detailed, and moving as the first one I read. I plan to do the same when her next book comes out. This particular book tells the story of the Matthews family during three time periods, which come together to provide the reade I first discovered author Susie Finkbeiner when I read "Stories That Bind Us". I loved it so much that I snatched up a copy of "The Nature of Small Birds" as soon as it became available without even reading the blurb, and I'm SO glad I did. This book is every bit as amazing, detailed, and moving as the first one I read. I plan to do the same when her next book comes out. This particular book tells the story of the Matthews family during three time periods, which come together to provide the reader with a complete portrait of the lives of the family members. The tale is unique in that it is told during three distinct years: 2013 (present day) from the perspective of patriarch Bruce, 1988 from the perspective of 18-year old daughter Sonny, and 1975 from the perspective of matriarch Linda. I found it easy to keep the time periods straight, and enjoyed this interesting method of storytelling. As each character's POV chapter ended, I was sad that it was over, but also eager to pick up missing threads of the narrative from the next character's chapter. This made the book virtually impossible to put down! The story itself revolves around the family's adoption of a Vietnamese child named Minh/Mindy in the 1970s, and how that event affected the family and their relationships going forward. I appreciated learning more about the Vietnam Babylift, a topic about which I knew nothing before reading this novel. It was interesting to learn about this historical event, while also seeing how one particular family reacted to being part of it. All of the characters were incredibly well-written. Of course, we learn the most about the three major POV characters, but other family members were portrayed with a great deal of detail as well. I found plenty of moments I could relate to personally, as well as others that I could only sympathize with. I loved the way the family's entire history felt complete by the end of the book. There were some laughs along the way, as well as some tears (both happy and sad). I'm so glad to have had the chance to read "The Nature of Small Birds"....it is a story that will stay with me for a long time. One final note: I enjoyed the author's blurb at the end in which she explained how she got the idea for the story. She had been researching an earlier book, and came across information about the Babylift. It didn't fit for that book, but she made a note and came back to it when she was looking for a new idea. I appreciated that little glimpse into her writing process, and am SO glad she made and found that note! Five out of five chunks of the most perfect Provolone!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I have been a fan of Susie Finkbeiner since I read her first book and have read everything that she's written since. She has a beautiful way of telling stories about families and writes characters that you feel like you know. Her new book is a quiet book about a family that faces their problems over the years and continues to love each other no matter what happens. This novel is told in three time lines by three main characters and it was very easy to handle the jumps in the timelines and in the I have been a fan of Susie Finkbeiner since I read her first book and have read everything that she's written since. She has a beautiful way of telling stories about families and writes characters that you feel like you know. Her new book is a quiet book about a family that faces their problems over the years and continues to love each other no matter what happens. This novel is told in three time lines by three main characters and it was very easy to handle the jumps in the timelines and in the POV. 1975 - This timeline is told mainly by Linda, the mother of the family. She and Bruce have one daughter, Sonny, but want more children. With the background of the Vietnam war ending and the goal to get as many children out of the country as possible (called Operation Babylift), Linda and Bruce decide to adopt a little girl from Vietnam. Bruce's mother is livid because her oldest son had died fighting in the war. When Minh/Mindy comes into their lives she is a frightened little 4 year old who doesn't know English. I thought it was beautiful the way that Linda and Bruce made her feel accepted and part of the family. 1988 - This timeline is told mainly by Sonny who is getting ready to leave for college. Even though she is a typical teenager and everything is a major event, she knows that she'll miss her parents and her two sisters when she leaves. 2013 - This timeline is told mainly by Bruce and gives us his perspective of his grown up daughters plus gives his memories of the girls when they were younger. Sonny is married and has a daughter, Mindy has just divorced and moved back home and Holly, their surprise baby, was still in school. With Mindy's life in a mess because of her divorce, she decides to try to find her birth mother in Vietnam and to find out if she has any extended family there. Linda and Bruce are both very supportive of her quest and help when they can. This beautiful novel is a look at a family in transition for over forty years. There isn't a lot of action in it but it really packs a punch that makes it a book that is so special that i know I'll remember it for a long time. The characters are written so well that you feel like they are your good friends. It's a book about love and family and facing life changes by depending on God and your family. I already know that this novel will end up on my top ten list for 2021.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    The Nature Of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner is an absolutely beautiful Christian novel that is written around the true event of Operation Babylift – giving children from Vietnam a new life in America after the war. The action is set in 1975, 1988 and 2013. The novel focuses on a family. This microcosm would be repeated in homes all over America. The reader sees life through various eyes in one family. It is all very beautifully written. Your heart will break for the orphans and children of war. The Nature Of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner is an absolutely beautiful Christian novel that is written around the true event of Operation Babylift – giving children from Vietnam a new life in America after the war. The action is set in 1975, 1988 and 2013. The novel focuses on a family. This microcosm would be repeated in homes all over America. The reader sees life through various eyes in one family. It is all very beautifully written. Your heart will break for the orphans and children of war. The war in Vietnam took many American lives. Those who did return were scarred physically or mentally. The Vietnamese children were scarred too. They saw terrible things no child should ever see and were very traumatized. The novel is a book of love. We see a family with a huge capacity to love – from four year old Sonny up through the generations. There was one exception – a grandmother who lost her son in the Vietnam war. She laid the sins of the soldiers on the shoulders of a young child and needed time to adapt her views. God is a God of love. He cares for each and every one of His children. “God is so kind… and He’s always up to something.” Sometimes we cannot see Him working, life seems bleak but God never leaves us. His eye is on the sparrow and His eye is on us. There are those who equate riches with wealth and social standing. And there are those who know that love is the standard. “Even in the dark, love is always there.” Whatever we go through, we need to know there are those who love us. “God’s new mercies coming every morning whether I deserve it or not.” I loved this idea. God loves us and blesses us because of the gift of grace. With three distinct time periods – dropping in on a family with young children in 1975, teens in 1988 and all grown up in 2013 – we witness how love has to adapt and change with the seasons. As our children grow, we must give them wings to fly. “It’s time to loosen my grip. I’ve held her tight for so long, it hurts to let her go.” One of the hardest things we do as parents, is to let our children go and be free to fly. The Nature Of Small Birds is such a beautiful novel. It will warm your heart. It will break your heart. And it will swell your heart with love. It is a work of great love and of great beauty. I received a free copy via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Connie Saunders

    I've read many books this year, and this is certainly one of my favorites. The Nature of Small Birds captivated me from the very beginning! It is the story of a family that adopts a little girl from Vietnam during the Operation Babylift campaign of 1975, and I feel like I am a family friend who witnessed it all. Author Susie Finkbeiner tells this adoption story through the thoughts of Bruce, Linda, and Sonny Matthews, and each perspective is told during a different time period. Minh is the littl I've read many books this year, and this is certainly one of my favorites. The Nature of Small Birds captivated me from the very beginning! It is the story of a family that adopts a little girl from Vietnam during the Operation Babylift campaign of 1975, and I feel like I am a family friend who witnessed it all. Author Susie Finkbeiner tells this adoption story through the thoughts of Bruce, Linda, and Sonny Matthews, and each perspective is told during a different time period. Minh is the little four-year-old who joins the family in 1975, and Linda's perspective relates the tremendous adjustment that awaits all of them. I loved seeing Minh (Mindy) blossom from the love and attention given to her by her parents and her sister Sonny, and then watching how that sister bond deepens in the 1988 storyline. Bruce's voice is told during the 2013-14 time frame, and he has to be one of the best fictional fathers ever! Bruce is a decent, loyal man of deep faith, but he still grieves for a brother who died while serving in Vietnam, and he is deeply hurt by his mother's initial reluctance to accept Mindy into the family. Bruce is the one who compares children to small birds, and points out that parents must allow their children to fly. He also strongly supports Mindy when she decides that she wants to try to find her birth family. I absolutely loved Bruce Matthews! The Nature of Small Birds reminds us of the hurts and losses caused by the Vietnam War, but it also affirms the blessings that came out of it. It is a story of love, family, learning to accept, and being willing to let go. I absolutely loved this book and I applaud Susie Finkbeiner's unique writing talent! I recommend The Nature of Small Birds to all who enjoy contemporary Christian fiction. I received a copy of this book from Revell but there was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

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