Book Cover and Synopsis:
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
From the very first page, my attention was hooked! Seriously, when a book starts out with a preacher being kidnapped as a birthday present for a young lady, you just know there's lots of fun in store! :)
I found the characters to be very likeable, so much so that I wish they could have another book. Crockett is quite charming and often seems close to the perfect man, yet his character also feels very "real" and human. He's probably my favorite portrayal of a preacher that I've come across. Joanna is also likeable, her strong faith is an inspiration and something we should all strive to match. I enjoyed watching her struggle to come to terms with her feelings for Crockett, especially considering that her father is dead set against preachers of any kind!
Something I liked was the pacing of the relationship between Joanna and Crockett. It's slow and steady, but the story moves along in such a way that they admit to their feelings well before the last page. I love when an author breaks out of the common "last page love confession" mold and gives the reader a real look at the couple together, instead of leaving it up to the imagination.
Though I didn't care for Holly, the young lady who tries to win Crockett's attention away from Joanna, I have to applaud how well she was written. Every time Holly came around and started up with her sly games and catty remarks, I just wanted to scream at her, but at the same time I also kept marveling at how expertly she was portrayed. So while I did dislike her, it was sort of a love-to-hate kind of thing....she was just so well written that she easily evoked real emotion from me as I sympathized with Joanna and Crockett for having to put up with her! :)
Karen Witemeyer has a writing style that I just love... With plots that are completely original and slightly eccentric, her books are a breath of fresh air in the crowded historical genre. I've enjoyed all of her previous books, but I have to admit, I think Stealing the Preacher is my new favorite. If you're a fan of historical novels, this is one you simply can't miss!
My Rating: 5 stars
Thanks to the publisher (Bethany House) for providing me with an e-arc for review via NetGalley.