Barbara J. Shelton’s Review of “The Button Legacy” by Ginger Marcinkowski

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The Button Legacy

“My Dearest Emily… When you were a little girl, a change occurred in you. You lost a piece of yourself somewhere….But when you were here in Plaster Rock, you bloomed……..

The stories we told with these buttons made you smile. With your smile came hope…………..

Repeat the stories you’ve been told to your own children, never forgetting that God was there in every situation, in every story held inside this box…”

Growing up, Emily Evans of Run, River Currents had always shared a special understanding with her grandfather, John Polk, even when she couldn’t fully see beyond the darkness of her father’s abuse. Yet John looked to the future in faith to what his God could do.

Years after her grandfather’s death, the unexpected delivery of the decorated tin, still brimming with odd-colored buttons, unlocks the joyous memories and lets Emily realize she has finally discovered the secret her grandfather promised lay within the stories of the worn button box.

Told through the eyes of a godly grandfather, The Button Legacy laces together a godly heritage and the power of one man’s prayers, offering a lesson of how God’s grace can be seen even in the simplest thing–a button.


Ginger Marcinkowski’s stories about buttons that reveal family memories is my first read from this fine author.  I was immediately drawn into the Polk family saga and recalled the “buttons” in my own life.  Both of my grandmothers saved buttons in lovely old tins, as well as an elderly next door neighbor lady that I visited often.  How I loved going through those buttons and admiring the sparkly ones mostly, but bright colors and odd shapes piqued my imagination over and over.  I wonder if all my questions about these peculiar items were a nuisance to their collectors.

Back to the story at hand, John Polk’s family was ordinary, in that their ups and downs, dreams, tragedies, and faith in God were much like other families.  The subtle difference was the loving Christian characterization of John Polk.  I felt like part of the family around the blazing fire listening to John reveal memories through a button picked from an old tin box by one of his two daughters, grandchildren or himself.

John’s daughters were different from each other in their reactions to John’s revelations.  Maureen, the oldest, displayed boredom with indifference.  Carol, the youngest, more like her gentle mother Ellen, was always caught up in the story and grasped the value of God’s ultimate message.  Maureen was becoming rebellious in her identity and a worry to her parents.

In fact, John had displayed rebellion in his youth that led to a drunken experience ending in tragedy; ultimately realizing the need for God’s love and forgiveness in his life.  This story began in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, Canada 1956 – nostalgic to my own years of being a teen and related easily to the years that followed to 1997 when this story concluded in a poignant intention of carrying on this family tradition.

When I began reading this sweet novella, I was unaware that it is a sequel to Ms Marcinkowski’s Run, River Currents.  Wishing I had read it before The Button Legacy, I intend to read Ginger Marcinkowski’s Run, River Currents soon.  The character of John’s granddaughter, Emily, was bittersweet and the favorite of her “Grampy” John.  Emily Evans, being the daughter of Maureen, might have followed in her mother’s footsteps; however Grampy John was wise in the Lord, and effective in teaching a lesson of trust.

Rich and deep in meaning of God’s love are Ginger Marcinkowski’s words – so compelling in faith and knowledge of God’s Word.  The humor is addictive, causing giggles so hard my bed shook.  The button stories gather personal emotions of happiness and tears.  How our lives parallel our neighbors as well as in the generations before us are awesome and amazing to witness God’s touch throughout.  Well done, Ms Marcinkowski.  Thank you for writing loud words of joyful noise.

I received a free kindle copy of this story from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review.


Instructors of Creative Writing repeated the words, “The first book any new writer pens is the book that had to be written.” I now fully understand those words. For three gut-wrenching years, my debut book, Run, River Currents, begged to be put to paper. My intent was to write a humorous biography about my mother, a woman who raised a boat-load of children on her own. But for some reason, I could not make the stories resonate, so the humor turned to heartbreak as the story was released from me…coaxed by a writer whose own heart somehow understood the story that was within.
The Button Legacy tells the much happier “rest of the story,” as well as the background of my godly grandfather, whom God used in Emily’s life to ultimately lead her to Himself. Lacing together a godly heritage and the power of one man’s prayers, The Button Legacy offers a lesson of how God’s grace can be seen even in the simplest thing–a button.


Ginger Marcinkowski

Ginger Marcinkowski was born in northern Maine along the Canadian border, a setting that plays a prominent role in Run, River Currents. She is a daughter of divorced parents and is one of eight siblings.

Her debut novel, Run, River Currents, was published in August 2012 and was a 2012 semi-finalist in the ACFW Genesis Awards, also winning honorable mentions in national awards and festivals. The Button Legacy, published in June 2013, was written as a prequel / sequel to Run, River Currents.

Ginger has been a public speaker and visiting lecturer for many years. She has been a professional reader for the James Jones First Novel Award ($10,000 prize), and is currently a judge for the East-West Writer’s Contest and a reader for the ACFW First Impressions award.

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