The Back of the Book:
He seemed like the perfect pastor to lead Centerville Christian Church. She was the perfect pastor’s wife.
When Paul Hudson accepted the call to pastor the struggling church, he had no idea what to expect. But it didn’t take long for Paul to turn Centerville Christian Church around. Attendance was up – way up. Everything was going so well. If only his wife could see it that way. Still, he tried not to let her quiet presence disturb him.
She knew something wasn’t right, and it hadn’t been for a long time …
Eunice closed the bedroom door quietly and knelt beside her bed.
I’m drowning, God. I’ve never felt so alone. Who can I turn to but you, Lord? Where else does a pastor’s wife go for help when her marriage is failing and her life is out of control? Who can I trust with my anguish, Lord? Who but you?
Grasping her pillow, she pressed it tightly to her mouth so that her sobs could not be heard.
NotJustLaura’s Review: I didn’t realise this book was Contemporary Christian Fiction rather than Historical until I began reading. I’ve been avoiding the Contemporary genre for a while – it’s hard to say why beyond stating that what I’ve read didn’t really sit well with me. However, I’m very pleased to say that Ms Rivers’ book has won a convert.
Eunice and Paul Hudson are a young, married couple with a son (Timothy) when they move to Centerville to pastor a small, ailing Church. They are deeply committed to following Christ and Ms Rivers takes care to signpost that for the reader. All seems to be well until the Church begins to grow and then grows some more. Eunice finds that Paul is not the man she thought she’d married. Fortunately, she also has good friends in the Church community and is supported by her mother-in-law. But is one of Eunice’s friends too good? And what has become of Paul’s relationship with God?
This book is richly populated by Ms Rivers’, well developed, characters. The story is told from several points-of-view but does not jump from one to another in such a way that the reader is befuddled. There are time-jumps, however, and some of these made me blink a little. There are lots of little details added which, while not essential to the plot, make the world inhabited by Eunice and Paul seem tangible without bogging Ms Rivers’ masterful writing in pages of description.
Although this book is ‘about’ building a Church, the theme is really prayer and, as I read, I found myself re-evaluating my prayer-life. I’d love to have the faith and relationship with God some of the characters display but I’m realising that this is something which develops over time rather than suddenly appearing in my life. I thank Ms Rivers for reminding me how important this aspect of Christian life really is – it’s not about how many people go to Church on Sunday, important though that may be.