Saturday, August 31, 2013

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

cover of Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer shows a woman in a pink dress pulling on a man's arm; a church is in the distanceStealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer. Bethany House, 2013. 347p. (9780764209666) Series: Archer Brothers, #2

As you may remember I could hardly wait couldn’t wait to read the first book, Short Straw Bride, last summer. So much so that I sat on the floor of a freezing cold Barnes and Noble. Needless to say, I was looking forward to Stealing the Preacher as well. The Archer brothers can’t meet women under normal circumstances! Now I’m quite curious how the last brother will fare.

Goodreads Summary:
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?

My Review:
There are so many unusual things in this book! A parson is the sole target of a train robbery and is kidnapped to serve as a birthday present. That same parson almost gets strung up by an angry father. He also goes to work for a retired outlaw and starts falling in love with said outlaw’s daughter. All while trying to do his job as a preacher.

The characters have character, even the secondary ones. I especially liked Bessie, the boarding house proprietress, and her interactions with the marshal. The boy Jackson was also a real pleasure to get to know and to see how the others poured into his lonely life.

What I enjoyed the most was how the author wove scripture into the story without being “preachy” and even Crockett’s sermons fit right into the story line. Crockett isn’t perfect and certainly questions why on earth things aren’t going the way he envisioned them. “For those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28 ESV) – that could be the theme verse of the book.

A fun book set in Texas in 1885 that made me smile, laugh, shake my head in disbelief and wish the characters well. If you like quirky yet serious, clean, Christian romance then you probably will enjoy this one.   

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer gets a four star review

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via 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.

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