Friday, August 15, 2014

Threads of Joy

Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Publisher: Whitaker House
August 2014
ISBN: 978-1629111681
Genre: Historical

JOY WESTFALL, a single woman who runs a tailoring business out of her little home and has a 4-year-old illegitimate daughter knows first hand the bitterness of rejection. Her talent with a needle supersedes her tainted reputation, however, and she has no trouble finding clients. What she lacks is true friendship.

Living next door to a little clapboard church on the edge of town, even the folks of the church pay her little mind when they come and go on Sunday mornings--unless she happens to be outside tending her flowerbeds in which case they quickly turn their children's heads away or shake their own at her in utter repulsion. Inside, their hymns of praise compete with the birds, but outside their hypocritical noses turn up at the sight of her.

Not until LUCAS JENNINGS, the new preacher, begins to befriend her and her innocent daughter does she grasp what pardon feels like. The trouble is his congregation begins to accuse him of having sinful thoughts, one woman in particular going so far as to campaign to have him removed from the pulpit.

When tragedy strikes, Lucas's messages of repentance resonate with his members, drawing an entire community together, changing the hardest hearts, and turning folks' minds toward what really matters in life--love, faith, and forgiveness.

THREADS OF JOY is the second book in Ms. MacLaren's Tennessee Dreams series. While it stands alone, readers will want to read Heart of Mercy first, as both main characters in the first book show up as secondary characters in this book. 

Historically, I had one issue with the book--but it is fiction, and anything goes. This book is set in 1892, a few decades after the Civil War. At that time period, no Southerner would call a Yankee pastor to serve their church.  And Lucas was from Michigan. A fact a lot of northerners don't know, the Civil War is still not over. Rebels still hate Yankees even in modern times. I know, it's silly, but it is as it is. 

Ms. MacLaren has an unique writing style that draws the readers in. A woman judged and found lacking, a preacher out to save the world, and a precocious little girl and you have the makings of a winning novel. Fans of historical fiction and of Ms. MacLaren will want to read THREADS OF JOY. A beautifully stitched together story. $14.99. 336 pages. 

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