It's summer in Harmony, but not everything is as sunny as the weather. The good citizens of Harmony are back and stirring up trouble as usual, sometimes with disastrous results.
Pastor Sam Gardner must take a leave of absence from his post at Harmony Friends Meeting to take care of his ailing father.
But when spunky pastor Krista Riley comes to fill his position, the quirky Quakers seem to fall in love with her, and it begins to look like Sam's sabbatical may be permanent. Krista's resilience is put to the test when Dale Hinshaw and Fern Hampton begin to question whether a woman can faithfully lead their flock, and it looks like the resulting tiff might just be the undoing of Harmony Friends Meeting. Will Sam come to the rescue? Finding the answer to this question makes the trip back to Harmony worth turning every page.
Perhaps no author can spin a good smalltown church tale as humorously as Gulley, who has been justly compared to Garrison Keillor for his dry wit. This latest installment in the Harmony, Ind., series is no exception, and it's populated with the characters that series aficionados have come to appreciate. A storm is brewing in Harmony, and pastor Sam Gardner, although on sabbatical, is right in the center of it. Caught in the controversy is seminary student Krista Riley, who is filling in for Sam and rumored to be gay. Leading the charge against her is Dale Hinshaw and spinster Fern Hampton, two members of Harmony Friends whose controlling ways will be recognizable to anyone who ever attended a small church. As the conflict heats up, Sam, battling jealousy over Krista's popularity with some church members (and in fear of losing his job) initially fails to stand up for his interim minister. Gulley's strong message about gay acceptance in the church may feel didactic to more conservative Christians looking for a good story, but is in keeping with the message of tolerance found in his previous books. Occasionally, a character is overdrawn, but this is nonetheless a delightful return to Harmony. (July)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 27, 2006
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