Move over, Father Tim. The town of Victory, West Virginia has a new priest, “a green kid that the bishop sent because there was no one else to come.”
ordained Episcopal priest Rev. Calvin Harper has arrived in the small
community to be the pastor of their ailing parish. He has no idea how
much he has yet to learn about caring for a church and a community.
Ruby Redding, one of the elderly Morning Prayer regulars, takes him
under her wing.
an enjoyable book. Unlike Jan Karon's Father Tim, Calvin is a novice.
Victory is his first parish and the learning curve is steep. He
starts out on the wrong foot when he is arrested for breaking into
his own church – all because he couldn't find an unlocked door.
God's mentoring grace comes in the form of an elderly woman, Ruby.
She has all the wisdom of a long devoted life and shares it with
Calvin as he needs it. And need it he does – especially when Esther
Rose, another of the Morning Prayer regulars, gives him a list of
what he did wrong after every meeting.
story is revealed to us in parallel tracks. We follow Calvin as
learns all the lessons he was never taught in seminary, and we also
read letters Ruby has written to Calvin after he has moved on to
another parish. As the novel progresses, we learn more about Ruby,
her youth, and her marriage to Whit. We are treated to two stories –
one about a novice priest learning about life, love, and grief, and
another about a woman full of wisdom from her eighty years of living.
is a tender coming of age story as Calvin lives into his calling to
the priesthood. I really like him. He has a sense of humor, is humble
enough to learn from others yet firm enough to take control at a
funeral squabble. He's the kind of priest you'd like to have at your
delightful novel that will have you wanting a sequel.
is one of the youngest men to be ordained to the Episcopal
priesthood. He writes a blog at wherethewind.com. This is his first
novel. He lives in Weymouth, Massachusetts.
Press, 320 pages.
received a complimentary galley of this book from the publisher for
the purpose of this review.