I have loved every book Karen Witemeyer has written, so I was really looking forward to her latest release, Stealing the Preacher, which continues the story of the Archer brothers who we first meet in Short-Straw Bride.
I am thrilled to report that the book has not only lived up to my expectations, it completely surpassed them.
Back cover copy:
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.
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 preacher?
I loved the fact that Crockett Archer is a tough, gun-toting, not-afraid-to-get-his-hands-dirty preacher who knows when to let his actions speak for him and when it's time to let someone have it with both barrels. :-)
The way he lets his faith shine through his work not only made old Silas Robbins set up and take notice, it made me stop and think about how I live out my own faith.
This story really touched my heart and without giving away any spoilers, by the time a certain climaxing scene between Silas and Crockett rolled around, I had tears in my eyes.
Don't worry, the book didn't leave me crying. Within a few pages I was ready to smack a certain blond, interfering female. :-) But of course, by the last page, I was smiling and sighing in satisfaction.
If you haven't read any of Karen's books yet, you're missing out on some delightful storytelling. I wholeheartedly recommend any and all of Karen's books for your own collection. Check her out today!