Thursday, June 22, 2023

Who Brought the Dog to Church? by Tracy L Smoak Book Review

About the Book:

Betty is sure that Ida Lou does not belong in their church when the woman shows up to the Good Friday service with her small dog in tow. But before she knows what’s happening, Betty is pushed into helping the woman as she deals with the sudden hospitalization of her husband. Having lost her own husband just one year ago, Betty is chosen as the perfect person to help walk through this valley with the newcomer—along with the other women of the WUFHs (Women United For Him).

Sarah McAdams knows her husband loves her. He just loses his temper sometimes. It comes with the stress of being a highly recognized police officer. But when Sarah makes the decision that this is not the life she wants for her young son, will she be able to get out alive? Where can she go? And who will help her?

God works in mysterious ways—and through ordinary people. The town of Prosper is about to experience some drama—and it all starts with a dog who comes to church.

You can watch a promo video here.

My Review:

Smoak has given readers a delightful novel, one I thoroughly enjoyed. Her writing style is compelling and engaging. There is some humor, such as a prayer chain getting information totally wrong. There are also some serious issues addressed, such as domestic violence and the death of a spouse. Small town politics is countered with church women committed to the truth and helping one another.

The characters are well developed as we see the events through several individual's eyes. I loved how we get the thoughts of each of them and how information and nudging from the Holy Spirit changes critical complaints to compassionate concern, such as with Betty. And giving extraordinary courage, as with the wildly dressing Letitia, going nose to nose with an egotistical police chief.

The plot is well crafted to show how God works through circumstances and people to move to the reconciliation of those estranged. That one needs to submit to God for that to happen, however, is clearly shown. I really liked how various people, from a recent immigrant to the town's mayor, came together in the end to ensure protection for the vulnerable. There is a bit of suspense but no romance. (It wasn't needed.)

This is a well written debut fiction effort. I am impressed with it and hope to see more novels from Smoak.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Previously, Smoak has written devotionals and you can read my reviews of them: Living Water to Refresh Your Soul and Arranged With Love

About the Author:

Tracy L. Smoak grew up in central Florida surrounded by flowers and natural beauty. Her father raised citrus groves and her mother gardened long-stem roses. She has a master's in education and is a licensed English teacher. She belongs to Word Weavers International and the South Lake Art League. Her first devotional, Living Water to Refresh Your Soul, features tranquil water scenes. Who Brought the Dog to Church is her debut novel. You can find out more at

Ambassador International, 328 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the author. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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