After twenty years of riding the rails, Alphonse has earned a reputation for being a kindhearted soul always ready to help. When he helps the Sadlers, a young couple seeking a better life in small-town 1950s Indiana, he doesn't intend to stay. But stay he does, keeping a close eye on the Sadlers and their two young sons--and an even closer eye on the town's new priest, Father Brennon.
On the surface, Brennon seems perfect for the job--but Alphonse crossed paths with him years earlier in the railyard jungle, and he knows better. Brennon doesn't recognize Alphonse, but Alphonse has never forgotten Brennon . . . or his crimes. So when Brennon assigns the Sadlers' son, Francis, who is now thirteen, the thankless task of cleaning and maintaining the church's bell tower--work that often continues into the night--Alphonse immediately grows suspicious. Soon, he discovers that his worst fears have come to pass, and he races to find a way to protect Francis and reveal the truth to the Sadler family.
This book touches on a sensitive subject matter. However, the author did a wonderful job of portraying the characters and the story in a way that will resonate with readers; especially young Francis and Alphonse. In a way, both Francis and Alphonse are kindred souls. I loved how out of a horrible situation a friendship was formed between these two. Alphonse was truly a guardian angel in disguise.
Father Brennon is an evil man. He sure abused his power. It was sad to see the progression from the beginning of summer when Francis was a carefree boy that loved fishing to one that was void of emotions. Warning as a cat is harmed in the story. I am glad that Francis's father, Edgar did not just sit back but took action. This is a great read.