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 person 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?
This novel's plot and characters are terrific. From the beginning when Crockett Archer has a big grin on his face because he feels that he's heading toward the work of his life...I liked him - his sense of purpose, his sense of humor, and more. I felt like laughing out loud when Witemeyer describes the little boy as the "poor lad" who "probably battled for his mother's millinery honor constantly".
Secondary characters always make the story so much better for me, and there are many of them here in the Piney Woods of Texas, I was surprised by so many of the situations in the book – I couldn’t easily predict what would come next. I loved Joanna's curmudgeonly, cantankerous father whose heart is in the right place - if you can find it. "Dratted sermonizer!” “Botheration!" I laughed a lot...cried too, later in the story. I don't think I've read Witemeyer's books before, but I will have to go back and see what I've missed.
Four and a Half Stars
*Reviewed by Colleen*
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