Dear Ms Pattillo,
I am delighted to meet up again with Betsy, David and the good people at the Church of the Shepherd. You’ve managed the neat trick of making a series about a the personal and professional tribulations of a female senior pastor not only interesting but also funny, warm and at times deeply emotional.
In “Heaven’s to Betsy” we were introduced to the Reverend Betsy Blessing, interim Senior Pastor at the old downtown Church of the Shepherd in Nashville, TN. That book ended with Betsy starting a romantic relationship with her long time friend and fellow minister, David Swenson, or The Lutheran, as some of Betsy’s congregation call him. Now, a few weeks later, what Betsy thinks is going to be a real first date with David turns into a proposal. Which is quickly followed by David’s mother, who works for Budget Bride Magazine, taking over the wedding planning and turning it into a Skinflint Wedding from Hell.
Add to that, Betsy and her congregation are faced with an offer from a real estate agent which might give them a chance to move their dying downtown church out to the Nashville suburbs. Just the thought of all those young families/potential new congregates makes Betsy’s mouth water. But the administrative staff is divided over the offer and Betsy’s famous conflict avoidance guarantees a few rough rows to hoe in the name of the Lord.
According to the Author Q&A, you’ve been an associate minister and your knowledge of Church workings, Church buildings and Church politics shows. But all that is worked so seamlessly into the story that I never felt I was getting a lecture. I just hope your knowledge of how to plan a wedding on a shoestring wasn’t also gained by first hand experience!
Once again, I’d say this book is Inspiration Chick Lit as it’s told in first person, the romance really does take a back seat to Betsy’s trials in her professional life and it’s told in first person. Also once again, I’d say Betsy’s propensity to cave into pressure from all sides is the most annoying thing about it. However, you do give a good reason for why Betsy is as she is due to her parent’s acrimonious marriage. She does straighten her spine by the end of the book and I can’t help but hope that if there is a book three (and I hope there is) that Betsy will have learned something by then and not be such a pushover. Oh, and I want more of her best friend, LaRhonda in it too! B for this one.