Wednesday, May 11, 2016
A Lesson in Hope
I love small towns. Perhaps it is because you truly get to know everyone in them and there are no strangers. Harmony is one of those places, in the fictional world of Philip Gulley anyway and A Lesson of Hope is the second novel for fans of the Harmony series, that takes us back once again to the people who live there. From Sam Gardener, the pastor of Hope Friends Meeting, one of several churches in town, who is trying to hang onto his job in light of those who saw him filling this position as a temporary sort. You have your long time residents who sit on the board whenever there is an issue and I would have to say that these folks are a bit vocal in how they deal with anything concerning the church. They are not your nice small town church folks, you would think of.
When one of their own passes away Olive Charles, she leaves the church in a dither about leaving them a million dollars to be used as they see fit. Well of course, each of the board members sees fit to use the money in the manner they most want, from Wayne Newby who believes the church needs a new roof. But since they have insurance on the church he feels they should simply punch holes in the existing roof and call it hail damage and submit a claim. When Sam tries to argue that this would be lying, Wayne does it anyway and falls off the roof in the process.
Meanwhile, Olive's niece, Regina who hasn't seen her Aunt in more than 20 years shows up at the funeral service to pay her last respects in a drunken stupor hoping that there might just be an inheritance in the making and wonders if any other family members have come forward. When she learns Olive left all her withholdings to the church, she immediately gains a lawyer to sue the church board for what she believes she is entitled to. When that doesn't seem to be working, she hires a slick lawyer on TV to sue the church for one million dollars for the uneven payment she claims she slipped on and now can no longer work. Seems like small town life for the residents of Harmony just got more interesting.
I received A Lesson in Hope by Philip Gulley compliments of Center Street Publishing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation, aside from a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest and personal opinion. Having read A Place Called Hope, I was looking for a repeat of the same, but found it extremely difficult to get interested in the lives of those in the church who seemed more motivated by selfish gains than being what I would call true believers. Perhaps that is what internally what most folks might think, but these people make it their livelihood to voice their discontent even at the expense of others. That was my biggest disappointment of all. For that reason I could only give this one a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Others might have a different viewpoint, but I found it truly hard to care about any of the characters in this novel.
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