Colman Harpe longs to be a pastor of the people, but when he gets caught inextricably in the middle of an ongoing local family feud, he begins to walk a line finer than a piece of thread. On the one hand, his unusual circumstances land him in what many consider to be enemy territory, but on the other hand he might be exactly where God intends for him to be; weak, confused, and at the mercy of those who would love to hate him. Except for Ivy.
What a beautifully written story, with its deep, impressionable characters and rich, convicting spiritual truths. Just how far does the Lord want us to go in order to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us? The author has not only delivered a clever twist on the biblical story of Jonah, but has managed to leave us all wanting to hear the voice of God. 4.5 stars.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Colman Harpe works for the C&O in the Appalachian rail town of Thurmond, West Virginia, but he'd rather be a preacher and lead his own congregation. When a member of the rival McLean clan guns down his cousin and the clan matriarch, Serepta McLean, taunts the Harpes by coming to a tent revival in their territory, Colman chooses peace over seeking revenge with the rest of his family.
Colman, known for an unnaturally keen sense of hearing, is shocked when he hears God tell him to preach to the McLeans. A failed attempt to run away leaves Colman sick and suffering in the last place he wanted to be--McLean territory. Nursed by herbalist Ivy Gordon--a woman whose birthmark has made her an outcast--he's hindered in his calling by Serepta's iron grip on the region and his uncle's desire to break that grip. But appearances can be deceiving, and he soon learns that the face of evil doesn't look like he expected.
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