A couple months ago, I was excited to hear that I had won a copy of “Stealing the Preacher” by Karen Witemeyer over on Linette’s blog. It finally made its way through my To-Be-Read stack and onto my nightstand. (First I had to finish the “Winds of Change” series and “Into the Whirlwind”.)
Two words to describe this novel: exciting and yee-haw! (or is that three words?…never mind).
Here’s the synopsis:
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?
Karen Witemeyer did a fantastic job with this one. This is my first time reading one of her books, but it won’t be the last. In addition to being delightfully entertaining, the story of Joanna, her father Silas, and Crockett is a beautiful story of redemption and second chances. I really appreciated how the characters “lived out” their salvation as a witness to others. Crockett, when questioned as to why he works hard and goes beyond what is asked of him, responded that the Bible instructs people to conduct themselves “as if we work for the Lord himself, not for man” (pg. 145).
“Stealing the Preacher” really is a western at its core, sprinkled with romance, serious and lighthearted moments, and humor. Just when I thought the story was starting to slow down a little bit, something completely unexpected happened. I admit, I stayed up wayyy too late to get to a point where I was comfortable taking a break. (Was I supposed to stop and get a good night’s sleep when the fate of a beloved character was hanging in the balance? No way.) Trust me, this is an exciting page-turner that will keep you entertained!
I just had to show off my autographed copy!