Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
Jolina Petersheim has written a very involved story that moves backward and forward in time, and is alternately told through the voices of Rhoda, Beth and Amelia. In some books this can be difficult to sort out--but I found that to be no problem here--it was very clear who was speaking and at which time period.
Beth (in 1996) is a graduate student, studying bioethics, who decides for personal reasons to become a surrogate mother for her professor and his wife. Early pregnancy tests suggest that the child she is carrying might have serious abnormalities. Based only on this early possibility the parents ask Beth to terminate the pregnancy as they do not want to take this risk. Beth, however, cannot imagine doing that, and so flees to Hopen Haus, a Mennonite home for unwed mothers.
The remainder of the book concerns the subsequent unfolding of events--both tragic and redeeming (through the past and present points of view). Beth finds great comfort living with the Mennonites, and decides to become one of them--as well as becoming a midwife who now works in Hopen Haus. She changes her name to Rhoda (who tells her story in present day time). Because she has a great secret to hide, this provides a good protection for her. Amelia's arrival begins to focus the story in new directions--as Rhoda and others in the community must face a crisis that will effect many. The story moves faster and faster as the climax approaches, and there are a number of twists that makes it all interesting.
The ending seemed a little too forced, but it basically was a good read (listen). The narration was effective as well. The story had some religious overtones, but that was clear going into the book and worked with the story. I liked it--but think it might appeal to kind of a narrow audience.
Andrew Greeley, one of the most prolific writers ever, has another good book in his Bishop Blackie Ryan series. Blackie is a catholic bishop who has a great love of life and amazing deductive powers. (He even likes to refer to God as "she," perhaps to show how much he refuses to be trapped by tradition?)
In this book, he must solve the mystery of what has happened to a new bishop who has made himself so unpopular with his rigid and often hurtful insistence on the letter of religious law (as opposed to the spirit of it) that several have been heard to make frustrated remarks wishing him dead. Unfortunately, many get their secret wish when the new bishop, and the train he was riding on, both disappear! He is finally located, but badly injured by a huge overdose of heroin that will likely render him unable ever to function in his old position again.
In what becomes a frantic search to find the perpetrator, Greeley explores larger questions about guilt, and leaves the reader pondering a few other ethical issues as well. In this book, the stories of two people who have uttered these desperate wishes that Bishop Quill were dead, form part of the back story, explaining what it was about the man that was so odious. Unfortunately, it also makes them obvious suspects, so their stories are interesting, even endearing in a way, on their own.
If you have never read a Blackie Ryan novel you are in for a treat. And for the best part of all, this book is narrated by the incomparable George Guidall. I did not give either story or narrator 5 stars because I am aware of better books/narrations by Greeley and Guidall, but even so, this was a really good book, and I greatly recommend it.
Shante, Deandrea, and Misha live very different lifestyles, but they have one thing in common: they are married to successful pastors. Shante; is a successful Minister and bestselling author who receives 2 pieces of information that will change hers and Max’ life. Deandrea once a psychologist with her own practice, gives it up to support her husband’s work in the church. Finds she is struggling to keep her family together and struggling with the decision she made to support him. Misha’s exterior is soft-spoken but the battle that rages inside of her speaks volumes when let loose.
All of them are facing challenges in their personal lives and ministries. But we know God will use our own stuff to bless another, and that is exactly what He tries to do in this trio while at a First Ladies' conference.
While at the conference secrets are uncovered, judgments are passed and with each invitation from God they begin to wonder WHY? I absolutely loved this story the issues were very real and several times I laughed, cried and did a Sunday morning shout, for the characters. Three women who despite their less than perfect circumstance, realize that if they rely on each other and their faith they can watch their friendship and their lives transform into what God has ordained.
Richey tells a captivating story that takes the readers on a journey into the challenges that face these First Ladies. Companion reads which are also part of this series is Lady Preacher which is Shante Dogan’ story followed by Deandrea Simmons story in The Long Ride Home and lastly in The Veil we meet Misha Holloway. But in Sunday Morning Blues they all come together for healing, advice and renewal.
An outstanding read and turning points you won’t forget.